Regional Workshop on International Merchandise Trade Statistics

Implementing IMTS 2010 Concepts and Definitions
Jointly organized by AUC and UNSD; Hosted by SARS

  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 24-28 June 2019

Economic globalization, advancement in technology and the emergence of Big Data present many new challenges and opportunities for International Trade statistics. In order to meet these challenges and measure Trade more accurately, new recommendations for International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) were adopted by all UN member states through the UN Statistical Commission in 2010 (called IMTS 2010). Countries have been implementing the elements of these new recommendations, notably trade by mode of transport, trade by country of consignment, trade by inward and outward processing, reporting of customs procedure codes, and imports valuation on a Free On Board (FOB) basis.

In addition to these methodological challenges, the expectation and demand of Trade statistics users have increased. Data producers are now expected to offer modern dissemination platforms, relevant analyses and informative visualizations. Trade data producers are also encouraged to implement international standards for Data Exchange (SDMX) and share their data to be published in the global repository of official international trade statistics, the UN Comtrade database maintained by UN Statistics Division.

Finally, in order to support the sustainable development agenda, Trade statistics need to be properly understood in conjunction with other Economic statistics and macro-economic frameworks, such as National Accounts statistics (see the System of National Accounts 2008), Balance of Payments statistics (see BPM6), and statistics of the International Trade in Services (see MSITS 2010). Linking Trade statistics with Business statistics, and alignment across all Economic statistics are essential for measuring the Global Value Chain and for informing policy. The 2012 Guidelines on Integrated Economic Statistics are useful in this regard.

The workshop is a continuation of IMTS e-learning course organised by UNSD and UNCTAD in cooperation with WTO which was held from 25 March to 3 May 2019. The core concepts and definitions have already been covered in the e-learning course. The face-to-face workshop would focus on implementation challenges in countries. The main objectives of the workshop are:

  • to improve knowledge of latest methodology of Trade statistics;
  • to discuss and address challenges in data compilation, and to exchange country experiences in dealing with practical issues such as data acquisition, data processing, data dissemination, data exchanges, etc.;
  • to discuss emerging challenges in Trade statistics such as measuring digital trade, use of Big data; and how to address them;
  • to establish close cooperation among institutions providing, compiling and using Trade statistics; and
  • to understand linkages between Trade statistics and other related domains of Economic Statistics.
  • Monday, 24 June

    08:00 - 09:00
    Registration for participants
    09:00 - 10:30
    Opening and overview
    • Opening remarks
    • Adoption of provisional agenda and administrative matters
    • Purpose and context of the workshop
    • Overview on activities of International/Regional Organizations in the area of IMTS
    • IMTS within a context of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
    11:00 - 12:00
    Core IMTS 2010 Concepts and Definitions
    • Overview of IMTS scope, coverage, time of recording, trade system, classification, valuation, quantity measurement, partner country
    12:00 - 12:45
    Defining and Measuring Digital Trade
    • Proposed conceptual framework and definition of Digital Trade
    14:15 - 15:30
    Compilation challenges in implementation of IMTS 2010
    • Overview of compliance with IMTS 2010 data items
    • Country presentations on specific challenges
    16:00 - 17:30
    Group Discussion: Can your country implement IMTS 2010?

    Tuesday, 25 June

    09:00 - 10:30
    Ensuring data quality
    • UN quality framework: NQAF 2019
    • Template on IMTS indicators of quality
    Presentation and Group Discussion: Indicators of quality
    11:00 - 12:45
    Data reconciliation and bilateral trade asymmetries
    • Guideline on identifying and reducing asymmetries
    • Overview on UN Task Force on Illicit Financial Flows
    • Country presentations on reconciliation study
    Presentation and Group Exercise: Identifying and reducing bilateral asymmetries
    14:15 - 15:30
    Bridging IMTS 2010 and BPM6
    • Conceptual differences between IMTS 2010 and BOP Trade in Goods
    • Trade in services related to Goods
    Presentation and Group Exercise: Deriving BOP Trade in Goods using IMTS data
    16:00 - 17:30
    Trade SDMX
    • Introduction to SDMX-IMTS
    • SDMX capacity building for countries
    Presentation and Group Exercise: Mapping country data to SDMX

    Wednesday, 26 June

    09:00 - 10:30
    Data visualization and communication
    • Communicating trade data to users within a context of SDG monitoring
    • The use of data in trade negotiations
    • Visualizing data – examples from UN Comtrade Labs
    • Country presentations on data dissemination
    Demo and Presentation
    11:00 - 12:45
    Export/import price indices compilation method
    • PRASC project (STATCAN and CARICOM - TBD) on XMPI
    • Country presentations on XMPI
    Presentation and Group Discussion: Challenges in compiling XMPI
    14:15 - 15:30
    Emerging policy and measurement issues
    • Linking trade and business statistics
    • Accounting for Global Value Chains
    16:00 - 17:30
    Big Data for IMTS
    • AIS dataset for trade indicators
    • ADB-B dataset for cargo connectivity
    Presentation and Group Discussion: Big data source and IMTS

    Thursday, 27 June

    09:00 - 09:30
    Commodity Classification
    • Forthcoming HS 2022 and SITC 5
    • Overview of BEC 5
    09:30 - 10:30
    • Recommendations on valuation
    Presentation and Group Exercise: Deriving imports FOB or CIF
    11:00 - 12:45
    Quantity information
    • Introduction to quantity information
    • County presentations on compiling quantity
    Presentation and Group Exercise: Estimating quantity information
    14:15 - 15:30
    Trade data processing systems
    • Data processing system in International Organizations
    • Country presentations on processing procedures
    16:00 - 17:30
    Group Discussion: Need for data processing software

    Friday, 28 June

    09:00 - 10:30
    Institutional Arrangements
    • The legal framework and institutional coordination as pillars of efficient national statistical systems
    • Country presentations on institutional arrangements
    11:00 - 12:00
    Group Discussion: Establishing effective institutional arrangement between Customs and the National Statistical Office/Central Bank
    12:00 - 13:00
    Conclusion of the workshop
    Evaluation of the workshop and other business
    14:30 - 15:45
    Closing ceremony