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24.2.        Goods and services. The identification and compilation of trade in certain categories of goods pose similar or related challenges for compilers of merchandise trade and balance-of-payments/national accounts statistics. The present section lists categories of goods that are to be recorded in IMTS and BPM6 identically. Compilers of IMTS and BPM6 can benefit from each other’s experiences and practices in the identification of these goods (e.g., in the distinction between financial and operating leasing) and the use of additional data sources. As, often, transactions not included under goods trade need to be included under services trade, BPM6 compilers would be interested in knowing how the goods transactions are differentiated from the related services transactions in IMTS in order to avoid double-counting or under-coverage (e.g., in the case of media, whether or not recorded). Hence, it is a good practice if both work closely together.

Box XXIV.1

Definition of goods for the purpose of IMTS 2010

For the purpose of IMTS 2010, and in reference to the 2008 SNA, goods are defined as physical, produced objects for which a demand exists, over which ownership rights can be established and whose ownership can be transferred from one institutional unit to another by engaging in transactions on markets, plus certain types of so-called knowledge-capturing products stored on physical media that can cross borders physically.a

a See IMTS 2010, para. 1.5. See also IMTS 2010, annex A, paras. A.2-A4, and 2008 SNA, paras. 6.15 and 6.22.

24.3.        Goods acquired by all categories of travellers, including non-resident workers, to a significant scale as defined by national law, are to be included in IMTS (see IMTS 2010, paras. 1.16 and 1.49 (a)) and in BPM6 under goods (see BPM6, paras 10.19-10.20), while goods below the threshold have to be recorded as part of travel services (BPM6, paras. 10.86-10.90) .

24.4.        Media, whether or not recorded (see IMTS 2010, paras. 1.18, and annex F, para. F.5). It is recommended that media whether or not recorded be included in IMTS, except for media used for carrying customized software or software written for a specific client or originals of any nature, although exclusion of such media may not be possible in practice. Such exclusions should be based on the definitions recommended in BPM6 and should be established in close cooperation with the compilers of balance-of-payments and international trade in services statistics (see BPM6, table 10.4; and MSITS 2010, table III.1). It is recognized, however, that the exclusion of such media may not be possible in view of (a) the prevailing customs practice of classifying both non-recorded and recorded media in one classification heading without any further differentiation and (b) the absence of other reliable and cost-effective data sources for systematic identification. BPM6 includes in general merchandise only non-customized packaged software and video and audio recordings on physical media, such as disks and other devices, with a licence for perpetual use (see BPM6, paras. 10.17 (c) and 10.143-10.144). 

24.5.        Goods under financial and operating leasing (see IMTS 2010, paras. 1.28 and 1.51). There are two kinds of leases in common usage: financial leases and operating leases. Goods are considered to be under financial lease if the lessee assumes the rights, risks, rewards and responsibilities in relation to the goods and can, from an economic point of view, be considered the de facto owner.[2] Goods under financial leases should be included in international merchandise trade statistics. An operating lease is any lease that does not have the above characteristics. Goods under operating leases should be excluded from international merchandise trade statistics. In practice, it may be difficult to differentiate between these two types of leases.[3] Therefore, in some cases, the duration of the lease can be used as an indication of whether the lease is financial (of one year or more) or operating (of less than one year). The issue of differentiating goods under financial leases and operating leases is described in chapter XXIII for ships and aircraft, as leasing transactions for these categories of goods, in particular aircraft, are very common. 

24.6.        Fish catch, minerals from the seabed and salvage (see IMTS 2010, paras.1.31, and annex F, para. F.19). These goods landed from vessels of one country in national ports of another country or acquired by vessels of one country on the high seas from vessels of another country are in the scope of IMTS 2010 for both exports and imports and should be recorded where economically or environmentally significant. It is recognized that data collection in respect of this category of goods may be challenging, in particular for transaction taking place outside own economic territory. However, countries are encouraged to develop over time the necessary data-collection and/or estimation procedures in view of the important policy needs; the balance of payments has always included these goods and BOP compilers might have appropriate compilation and estimation methods in place.

Box XXIV.2

Example: compilation of data on fish caught by Norwegian vessels outside the custom territory of Norway and landed in national ports of other countries

Fish caught by Norwegian vessels outsideNorway’s custom territory and landed in ports of other countries is not declared at theNorway’s customs. However, the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs administers a system of fish export taxes which requires registration of all catches, even those caught outsideNorway’s custom territory.

The Directorate of Fisheries is responsible for controlling the fish exports and ensuring that the fishing vessels comply with the rules. Fishing vessels have to report to the Fishermen's Sales Organization Council, which reports in turn to the Directorate of Fisheries.

Customs is responsible for collecting the tax but does not have all information needed to produce trade statistics. Thus, Statistics Norway has established an agreement with the Directorate of Fisheries by which Statistics Norway receives a monthly report covering all export of fish caught outside theterritoryofNorwayand landed abroad. The data include information on the date of landing, landing port and country, and the type of fish, weight and value. The data are received two months after the month of landing. Minor control over data quality is exercised by Statistics Norway.

24.7.        Waste and scrap (see IMTS 2010, paras. 1.38 and 1.58). Waste and scrap, including products that are dangerous to the environment, should be recorded and classified under the appropriate commodity heading if their commercial value is positive. Waste and scrap having no commercial value are to be excluded but should be separately recorded using appropriate quantity units. It is recognized that data collection under this item may be challenging, since, for example, the value may not be easily available when entering or leaving the country; however, countries are encouraged to develop over time the necessary data-collection and/or estimation procedures. Waste and scrap having no commercial value need to be recorded in the balance of payments under services as a waste treatment and de-pollution service and under environmental transactions (MSITS 2010, paras. 3.245 and 3.298). 

24.8.        Goods for repair or maintenance (see IMTS 2010, para. 1.57) are excluded from trade in goods and to be recorded separately, as these transactions have to be included as repair and maintenance services in the balance of payments. Compilers of both IMTS and BPM6 face the challenge of differentiating these goods from goods for processing (see chaps. XIX and XX and para. 23.3 for details). 

24.9.        Additional categories of particular relevance to merchandise trade and balance-of-payments/national accounts compilers. Balance-of-payments compilers have a strong interest in ensuring that all relevant merchandise trade transactions are included in their statistics. Therefore, when important trade transactions, such as for electricity, gas or oil, ships and aircraft or military goods, are not included in the information obtained from customs and trade statistics, the balance-of-payment compilers use additional sources to obtain this information. It is a good practice for international merchandise trade statistics and balance-of-payments compilers to work closely together in the compilation of this information from additional sources, and to ensure that relevant trade transactions are included in both merchandise and balance-of-payment statistics.

24.10.    Goods bundled with services (see IMTS 2010, para. 4.15 (g)). Often, the sale of goods is bundled with the provision of certain services, such as for maintenance or installation. The appropriate recording of these transactions is not a question of scope (i.e., whether or not to include the transaction), but rather of valuation. Goods bundled with services should be valued as follows: the statistical value applies only to the goods, and the value of any services associated with them should be excluded from IMTS, except for the services that are included according to the FOB- and CIF-type valuation of goods. However, in practice this might prove difficult for certain goods such as media (see IMTS 2010, para. 1.18). Goods bundled with services might be identified by their increased unit value.


[2] See IMTS 2010, annex A, para. A.11.

[3] See also BPM6, para, 5.57.