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17.      The main purpose of the Guide is to assist countries in the production of high-quality official statistics on international trade in services, in compliance with MSITS 2010. The Guide strives to achieve that aim by (a) the clarification and elaboration of a number of more difficult conceptual issues and (b) the identification of good practices in the implementation of MSITS 2010.[1] Furthermore, the Guide is intended to better integrate the compilation of statistics of international trade in services in the context of global statistical work and, therefore, recognizes the importance not only of such pillars as BPM6 and the 2008 SNA, but also of the Statistical Commission recommendations for other related statistical domains and its guidance contained in Guidelines on Integrated Economic Statistics[2] and the national quality assurance framework (NQAF).[3]

18.      In particular, the Guide aims to complement the BPM6 compilation guidance on balance of payments (BOP) statistics, focusing on the compilation of data by EBOPS 2010 category, trading partner and mode of supply. It also includes more detailed compilation guidelines for FATS as far as it relates to the international supply of services, and provides guidance on how to compile statistics on the modes of supply on the basis of the framework laid down in chapter V of MSITS 2010. It is expected that an increasing number of countries will begin to compile services data by mode of supply, following the good practices provided in the Guide. Furthermore, the Guide recognizes the importance of data quality, metadata and the use of information technology tools in the statistical production process and contains guidance and advice relevant to those areas of statistical work. In addition, the Guide is intended to promote trade in services statistics by making available to users a comprehensive source of information on its methodological foundations and data compilation practices. This will enable users to understand better the nature of those statistics and, consequently, to interpret and use them correctly and more effectively.

19.      As it is not possible to present a single best practice applicable in all cases, the Guide outlines various options that may be suitable, depending on a country circumstances and resources. For countries with well-developed compilation systems, the Guide contains criteria against which those compilation systems can be compared and evaluated. For countries that may need to improve aspects of their compilation systems, the Guide presents examples of good practices and related country experiences. For countries without well-developed systems, the Guide contains advice on good practices and other guidance that can be used as a starting point to develop appropriate data collection and data compilation procedures. It should be noted that national compilers who have gone through the process of implementing the recommendations contained in MSITS 2010 helped to identify the good practices described in the Guide. The Guide focuses on the main features of the relevant international recommendations and good practices, while more technical and country-specific details are available on the dedicated Statistics Division website.

20.      The scope of the Guide was determined by the tasks that the trade in services compiler typically has to deal with. The tasks range from operationalizing the conceptual framework and defining the set of variables to be compiled, to putting in place effective institutional arrangements, identifying appropriate data sources and data collection and data compilation procedures and organizing efficient quality assurance and data dissemination programmes. The Guide elaborates challenges and good practices in the above-mentioned areas of work, and provides numerous country experiences and guidance on how those practices can be applied under different country circumstances.

[1] It should be noted that clarification of the conceptual issues implies (a) an explanation of the terms used in the definitions of particular concepts and (b) operationalization of the definitions by relating them to the statistical procedures that might be used to obtain anticipated data. The term "good practice" is to be understood as a set of activities contributing to the implementation of recommendations contained in MSITS 2010 and resulting in the production and dissemination of high quality statistics of international trade in services.

[2] See Guidelines on Integrated Economic Statistics, Studies in Methods, Series F, No. 108 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.12.XVII.7).

[3] See