WTO Statistical data sets - Metadata
Data set availability
II. General information on data
(i) Minor discrepancies between
constituent figures and totals are due to rounding;
(ii) All value figures are expressed in United States dollars;
figures include the intra-trade of free trade areas, customs unions, regional
and other country groupings;
(iv) Data for the latest year are provisional.
Time series notes
- Category description
Information on geographical coverage, on commodity
coverage and on the inclusion of special trade zones (e.g. processing zones).
Specifies any deviation from the default "General
Method of valuation
Identifies import values reported on a free on board
Extracting intra-trade or extra-trade time series
- To get extra-trade values for a selected regional integration agreement, select the
partner "Extra-trade". For example, when NAFTA is
selected within the "Selected regional integration agreement" data
set, choose the partner "Extra-trade" to get NAFTA extra-trade.
- To get intra-trade values for a selected regional integration agreement, choose as
partner the same group as for the reporter. For example, choose NAFTA as
reporter and as partner to get its intra-trade values.
Value flag codes
Break in data continuity. Data beginning with the
highlighted year do not form a consistent series with those from earlier
Coverage difference. Data may cover transactions
belonging to other services items.
Back to top
III. Composition of reporter and partner groups
III. 1 Regions
North America: Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, United States of America and other territories in the region not elsewhere specified.
South and Central America (including the
Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia Plurinational State of, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El
Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Netherlands
Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint
Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten,
Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), and
other territories in the region not
Europe: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia,
Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia,
Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom
and other territories in the region not elsewhere specified.
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and other territories in the region not elsewhere specified.
Africa, of which North Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Libyan Arab
Jamahiriya, Morocco and Tunisia; and Sub-Saharan Africa comprising:
Western Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire,
Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger,
Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo; Central Africa: Burundi,
Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, and Sao Tome and Principe; Eastern
Africa: Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar,
Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda; and Southern
Africa: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South
Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe ; and other territories in the region
not elsewhere specified.
The Middle East: Bahrain, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia Kingdom of, Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and other territories in the region not elsewhere specified.
which West Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives,
Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka; and East Asia (including Oceania):
Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region of China (Hong Kong, China), Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati,
Lao People's Democratic Republic, Macau China, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New
Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Separate
Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (Taipei, Chinese),
Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Viet Nam and
other territories in the region not
III. 2 Regional integration agreements
ANDEAN (Andean Community): Bolivia,
Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
ASEAN (Association of South-East Asia
Nations): Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.
CACM (Central American Common Market): Costa
Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common
and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti,
Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the
Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
CEMAC (Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa): Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and
Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea,
Ethiopia, Kenya, Libyan
Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles,
Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
ECCAS (Economic Community of Central African
Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic
Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe.
ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African
Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea,
Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
(European Free Trade Association): Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
EU15 (European Union 15): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and
the United Kingdom.
EU25 (European Union 25): Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic,
Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy,
Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia,
Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden and
the United Kingdom.
EU27 (European Union 27): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech
Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland,
Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal,
Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council): Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market): Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement): Canada, Mexico and the United States of America.
SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional
Cooperation)/SAPTA (South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement): Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
SADC (Southern African Development Community): Angola, Botswana, Democratic
Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique,
Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
WAEMU (West African Economic and Monetary Union): Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
III. 3 Other reporter and partner groups
ACP (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Countries): Angola, Antigua and Barbuda,
Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon,
Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Cook Islands, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican
Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana,
Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati,
Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania,
Mauritius, Micronesia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Palau,
Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and
the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra
Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland,
Tanzania, Timor Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda,
Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation): Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada,
Chile, China, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia,
Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation,
Singapore, Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu
(Taipei, Chinese), Thailand, United States of America and Viet Nam.
Least-developed countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina
Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic
Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia,
Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic Republic,
Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique,
Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra
Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zambia.
Four East Asian traders: Hong Kong, China, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Separate Customs Territory of
Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (Taipei, Chinese).
Six East Asian traders: Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Separate
Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (Taipei, Chinese), and Thailand.
III. 4 Disclaimer
The word "reporter" refers to a
"country" or "customs territory" that reports trade flows
with its partners by origin and destination.
are frequently referred to as "country", although
some members are not countries in the usual sense of the word but are
officially "customs territories". The definition of geographical and
other groupings in this report does not imply an expression of opinion by the
Secretariat concerning the status of any country or territory, the delimitation
of its frontiers, nor on the rights and obligations of any WTO Member in
respect of WTO Agreements.
South and Central America and the Caribbean is referred
to South and Central America, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the
Republic of Korea and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen
and Matsu are referenced as Bolivarian Rep. of Venezuela, Korea, Republic of
and Taipei, Chinese respectively.
Back to top
All product groups are defined according to
Revision 3 of the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC).
IV.1 Primary products
(i) Agricultural products (SITC sections 0, 1, 2, 4 minus 27 and 28)
- Food: food and live animals,
beverages and tobacco, animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes, oilseeds and
oleaginous fruit (SITC sections 0, 1, 4 and division 22), of which:
-- Fish (SITC division 03), and
-- Other food products and live animals,
beverages and tobacco, animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes, oilseeds and
oleaginous fruit (SITC sections 0, 1, 4 and division 22 less division 03).
- Raw materials: hides, skins and
furskins, raw, crude rubber (including synthetic and reclaimed), cork and wood,
pulp and waste paper, textile fibres and their wastes, crude animal and
vegetable materials, n.e.s. (SITC divisions 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29).
and mining products
- Ores and other minerals: crude
fertilizers (other than those classified in chemicals) and crude minerals,
metalliferous ores and metal scrap (SITC divisions 27, 28).
- Fuels: (SITC section 3).
- Non-ferrous metals: (SITC division
IV.2 Manufactures: (SITC sections 5, 6, 7, 8 minus division 68
and group 891)
(i) Iron and steel: (SITC division 67).
(ii) Chemicals: (SITC section 5), of which:
- Pharmaceuticals (SITC division 54),
- Other chemicals: organic chemicals
(SITC division 51), plastics (SITC divisions 57, 58), inorganic chemicals (SITC
division 52), other chemicals n.e.s. (SITC divisions 53, 55, 56, 59).
(iii) Other semi-manufactures: leather, leather manufactures, n.e.s., and
dressed furskins, rubber manufactures, n.e.s., cork and wood manufactures
(excluding furniture), paper, paperboard and articles of paper pulp, of paper
or of paperboard, non-metallic mineral manufactures, n.e.s., manufactures of
metals, n.e.s. (SITC divisions 61, 62, 63, 64, 66, 69).
(iv) Machinery and transport equipment: (SITC section 7), of which:
- Office and telecommunications equipment:
office machines and automatic data processing machines, telecommunications and
sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment, thermionic, cold
cathode or photo-cathode valves and tubes (SITC divisions 75, 76 and group
776), of which:
-- Electronic data processing and office
equipment (SITC division 75),
-- Telecommunications equipment (SITC
division 76), and
-- Integrated circuits, and electronic
components (SITC group 776).
- Transport equipment (SITC group 713,
sub-group 7783, groups 78 and 79), of which:
-- Automotive products: motor cars and
other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons (other
than public transport type vehicles) including station wagons and racing cars,
motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles,
road motor vehicles, n.e.s., parts and accessories of motor vehicles and
tractors, internal combustion piston engines for vehicles listed above,
electrical equipment, n.e.s., for internal combustion engines and vehicles, and
parts thereof (SITC groups 781, 782, 783, 784, and subgroups 7132, 7783), and
-- Other transport equipment: railway
vehicles, aircraft, spacecraft, ships and boats, and associated parts and
equipment, motorcycles and cycles, motorized and non-motorized, trailers and
semi-trailers, other vehicles (not mechanically propelled), and specially
designed and equipped transport containers, internal combustion piston engines
for aircraft, and parts thereof, n.e.s., internal combustion piston engines,
marine propulsion, internal combustion piston engines, n.e.s., parts, n.e.s.,
for internal combustion piston engines listed above (SITC division 79, groups
713, 785, 786 minus sub-group 7132).
- Other machinery (SITC divisions 71,
72, 73, 74, 77 minus groups 713, 776 and minus sub-group 7783), of which:
-- Power generating machinery: power
generating machinery and equipment minus internal combustion piston engines and
parts thereof, n.e.s. (SITC division 71 minus group 713),
-- Non-electrical machinery: machinery
specialized for particular industries, metalworking machinery, general
industrial machinery and equipment, n.e.s., and machine parts, n.e.s. (SITC
divisions 72, 73, 74), and
-- Electrical machinery: electrical
machinery, apparatus and appliances, n.e.s., and electrical parts thereof,
minus thermionic, cold cathode or photo-cathode valves and tubes, minus
electrical equipment, n.e.s., for internal combustion piston engines and parts
thereof, n.e.s. (SITC division 77 minus group 776 and subgroup 7783).
(v) Textiles: (SITC division 65).
(vi) Clothing: (SITC division 84).
(vii) Other manufactures: (SITC divisions 81, 82, 83, 85, 87, 88, 89 excluding
group 891), of which:
- Personal and household goods:
furniture (SITC division 82), travel goods (SITC division 83) and footwear
(SITC division 85),
- Scientific and controlling instruments
(SITC division 87), and
- Miscellaneous manufactures: instruments
and apparatus, photography, optical goods, watches and clocks, toys and games,
and other manufactured articles, n.e.s. (SITC divisions 81, 88, 89 minus group
IV. 3 Other products: commodities and transactions not classified
elsewhere (including gold), arms and ammunition (SITC section 9 and group
It should be noted that other food products
and live animals, beverages and tobacco, animal and vegetable oils, fats and
waxes, oilseeds and oleaginous fruit are referred to as other food products,
electronic data processing and office equipment is referred to as EDP and office equipment, and integrated circuits and electronic components is referred to as
Back to top
and methods by data
V. 1 Merchandise
exports and imports
Two systems of recording merchandise exports
and imports are in common use. They are referred to as general trade and
special trade and differ mainly in the way warehoused and re-exported
goods are treated. General trade figures are larger than the corresponding
special trade figures because the latter exclude certain trade flows, such as
goods shipped through bonded warehouses.
To the extent possible, total merchandise
trade is defined according to the general trade definition. It covers all types
of inward and outward movement of goods through a country or territory
including movements through customs warehouses and free zones. Goods include
all merchandise that either add to or reduce the stock of material resources of
a country by entering (imports) or leaving (exports) the country's economic
territory. For further explanations, see United Nations International Trade
Statistics, Concepts and Definitions, Series M, No 52, Revision 2.
Unless otherwise indicated, exports are
valued at transaction value, including the cost of transportation and insurance
to bring the merchandise to the frontier of the exporting country or territory
("free on board" valuation). Unless otherwise indicated, imports are
valued at transaction value plus the cost of transportation and insurance to
the frontier of the importing country or territory ("Cost insurance and
It should be noted that due to the use of the
general system for recording merchandise trade statistics, re-exports are
included in total merchandise trade. However, in the case of Hong-Kong, China the magnitude of its re-exports (amounting in 2011 to $439 billion), if included in regional
or world aggregates, would introduce a significant element of double counting.
Therefore, Hong-Kong, China's re-exports are excluded from the World and Asia aggregates.
imports from China (re-imports), a trade flow which accounted for 7.0 per cent
($122.6 billion) of its total merchandise imports in 2011. These imports
consist of products which have been produced in China and thereafter
temporarily exported. The product structure of China's imports from China indicates that in absolute terms office and telecom equipment is the largest category
($68.3 billion) in this particular trade flow. The share of returned goods is
particularly large in the imports of telecommunications equipment (45.8 per
cent), EDP and office equipment (36.5 per cent), electrical machinery (28.0
per cent) and in textiles (15.8 per cent). Further information on these imports
is provided in Box 2 of the International Trade Statistics 2005.
notes for selected economies
Merchandise trade statistics of the European Union
Beginning with the 2002 report, EU data
compiled according to national statistical practices have been replaced,
starting 1993, with data compiled by Eurostat in accordance with EU
legislation. The concepts and definitions adopted by the EU are in line with
the United Nations’ International Trade Statistics, Concepts and Definitions,
Series M, N° 52, Revision 2. As a result, the conceptual differences between EU
member states’ data have been substantially reduced. Moreover, for the EU as a
whole, Eurostat data are more timely than the previous source, thus reducing
substantially the amount of estimation included in the EU aggregate. Since
January 1993, statistics on the trade between the member states of the EU have
been collected through the “Intrastat” system (see GATT 1994, International
Trade Trends and Statistics). The coverage of this system, which relies on
reports submitted by firms for transactions above a minimum value, is not as
wide as the previous one, which was based on customs declarations. This is
particularly noticeable on the import side. For example, prior to the adoption
of the Intrastat system, reported intra-EU imports (c.i.f.) closely matched
reported intra-EU exports (f.o.b.). However, from 1993 onwards, the reported
value of intra-EU imports has been on average around 3 per cent lower than the
value of intra-EU exports, indicating a substantial under-reporting of intra-EU
imports. As a result of this inconsistency, the Secretariat has substituted
intra-EU exports data for intra-EU imports at the aggregate EU level when
estimating regional and world totals. However, this adjustment is not allocated
between EU member countries. Hence, the sum of reported imports of individual
EU members does not add to the figure for EU imports as a whole. This
adjustment is also reflected in the volume estimates for the EU as a whole.
Merchandise trade of South Africa with SACU (South
African Customs Union)
South Africa’s merchandise exports (and imports) exclude shipments to
(from) other SACU members (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland). Partner statistics indicate that South African shipments amount to 85 percent
of these countries’ total merchandise imports in 2004. This share – most likely
– increased thereafter and represents an important trade flow for the African
region. If South Africa’s exports would be adjusted for these shipments to SACU
members, its total exports would be about $6 billion higher in 2012 and
intra-African trade would be substantially higher, with intra-SACU trade being
the largest intra trade flow for regional trade agreements in Africa.
breaks in data continuity
Beginning 2003, Singapore includes
merchandise trade with Indonesia.
Beginning 2008, Indonesia’s imports are
reported according to the general trade system.
With respect to the Russian Federation, considerable uncertainty remains about
the accuracy of foreign trade statistics, especially as regards imports. A
large proportion of the reported data on imports consists of official estimates
of inflows of goods which enter the economy without being registered by the
customs authorities. Such adjustments to import data accounted for 6 per cent
of the officially reported totals in 2012; and, on the export side, for about 1
per cent of total reported exports.
Merchandise trade flows between the European
Union member States include trade associated with fraudulent VAT declaration,
which concerns mainly office and telecommunications equipment. Between 2006 and
2007, intra-EU merchandise trade statistics have been particularly affected by
a considerable reduction in this fraudulent trade in the United Kingdom.
Back to top
V. 2 Merchandise trade by commodity
Product data are generally sourced from UNSD Comtrade
and Eurostat. Only selected products specified in Section IV are available.
The sum of agricultural products, mining
products and manufactures does not add up to total merchandise due to
Back to top
V. 3 Network of world merchandise trade
The world merchandise trade network by
product and region is based on export data. It is constructed in the following
First, total merchandise exports from each of
the seven regions are aggregated from individual country figures.
Next, the total merchandise exports of each region
are distributed by destination and then by product. The regional and commodity
breakdown is based on UNSD Comtrade database, EUROSTAT, national
statistics and Secretariat estimates.
It should be noted that World, Asia and four East Asian
traders totals do not include Hong-Kong,China's
re-exports as in the "Total merchandise trade" data set. (see Section
The network is only available for selected product
aggregates and regional groupings (see below).
The principal adjustments to the figures are as follows:
(i) Exports of ships to the open registry countries
Panama and Liberia are reallocated from each region's exports to Latin America
and Africa to "unspecified destinations" (a category not shown
(ii) China's exports are adjusted to approximate their
(iii) Exports of non-monetary gold, where known, are
included. When they cannot be broken down by destination, they are allocated to
(iv) South Africa's trade does not include trade with the former Southern
African Customs Union members.
(v) Estimates for the Middle East include unrecorded
re-exports of the United Arab Emirates which accounted for 4 per cent of the
region's total exports in 2010.
Back to top
V. 4 Trade in commercial services
Depending on the location of the supplier and the
consumer, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) defines four modes
of supply. In addition to the cross-border supply (mode 1), where both the
supplier and the consumer remain in their respective home territories, GATS
also covers cases where consumers are outside their home territory to consume
services (mode 2 – consumption abroad), or cases where service suppliers are in
the territory of the consumers to provide their services, whether by
establishing affiliates through direct investment abroad (mode 3 – commercial
presence), or through the presence of natural persons (mode 4).
A country’s balance of payments, that is the services
account, can be used to derive estimates covering trade in commercial services
for modes 1,2 and 4. The Balance of Payments does however not include most of
the information on the local deliveries of services through foreign affiliates
that is required to estimate the size of mode 3. A framework for collecting
these data, the “Foreign Affiliates Trade in Services (FATS) statistics”, has
been developed and adopted by the international statistical community in 2002.
Further information on these “new” statistics is available in the International
Trade Statistics publication.
Exports and imports
Exports (credits or receipts) and imports
(debits or payments) of commercial services derived from statistics on
international service transactions are included in the balance of payments
statistics, in conformity with the concepts, definitions and classification of
the fifth (1993) edition of the IMF Balance of Payments Manual.
Definition of commercial services in the balance of
In the fifth edition of the Balance of
Payments Manual, the current account is subdivided into goods, services
(including government services, n.i.e.), income (investment income and
compensation of employees), and current transfers. The commercial services
category is defined as being equal to services minus government services,
n.i.e. Commercial services is further sub-divided into transportation services,
travel, and other commercial services.
Transportation Services covers sea, air and other including land, internal
waterway, space and pipeline transport services that are performed by residents
of one economy for those of another, and that involve the carriage of
passengers, the movement of goods (freight), rentals (charters) of carriers
with crew, and related supporting and auxiliary services.
includes goods and services acquired by personal travellers, for health,
education or other purposes, and by business travellers. Unlike other services,
travel is not a specific type of service, but an assortment of goods and
services consumed by travellers. The most common goods and services covered are
lodging, food and beverages, entertainment and transportation (within the
economy visited), gifts and souvenirs.
Other commercial services corresponds to the following components
defined in BPM5:
(i) communications services includes
telecommunication, postal and courier services. Telecommunication services
encompasses the transmission of sound, images or other information by
telephone, telex, telegram, radio and television cable and broadcasting,
satellite, electronic mail, facsimile services etc., including business network
services, teleconferencing and support services. It does not include the value
of the information transported. Also included are cellular telephone services,
Internet backbone services and on-line access services, including provision of
access to the Internet,
(ii) construction covers work performed on
construction projects and installation by employees of an enterprise in
locations outside the territory of the enterprise (the one-year rule to
determine residency is to be applied flexibly). In addition goods used by
construction companies for their projects are included which implies that the
"true" services component tends to be overestimated,
(iii) insurance services covers the provision
of various types of insurance to non residents by resident insurance
enterprises, and vice versa, for example, freight insurance, direct insurance
(e.g. life) and reinsurance,
(iv) financial services covers financial
intermediation and auxiliary services provided by banks, stock exchanges,
factoring enterprises, credit card enterprises, and other enterprises,
(v) computer and information services is
subdivided into computer services (hardware and software related services and
data processing services), news agency services (provision of news,
photographs, and feature articles to the media), and other information
provision services (database services and web search portals),
(vi) royalties and licence fees, covering
payments and receipts for the use of intangible non-financial assets and
proprietary rights, such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial
processes, and franchises,
(vii) other business services, comprising
trade-related services, operational leasing (rentals), and miscellaneous
business, professional and technical services such as legal, accounting,
management consulting, public relations services, advertising, market research
and public opinion polling, research and development services, architectural,
engineering, and other technical services, agricultural, mining and on-site
(viii) personal, cultural, and recreational
services is subdivided into two categories, (i) audiovisual services and
(ii) other cultural and recreational services. The first component includes
services and fees related to the production of motion pictures, radio and
television programmes, and musical recordings. Other personal, cultural, and
recreational services includes services such as those associated with museums,
libraries, archives, and other cultural, sporting, and recreational activities.
Data on exports and imports of services (including
government services n.i.e), other services, as well as government services
n.i.e. are available as memorandum items in the WTO online Statistics Database.
Government services n.i.e. is a residual category
covering government transactions (including those of international
organizations) not contained in other components of the BPM5 . Included are all
transactions (in both goods and services) by embassies, consulates, military
units, with residents of economies in which they are located and all
transactions with other economies. The dataset on international trade in
services is produced jointly and published simultaneously with UNCTAD.
Coverage and comparability
With the implementation of BPM5, the coverage and
comparability of services trade data have improved over time, however, given
that these improvements have been made gradually, they also resulted in a
number of breaks in series and are subject to significant distortions.
First, some countries do not collect statistics for
certain service categories. Second, some service transactions are simply not
registered. If central bank records are used, situations where no financial
intermediaries are employed are not counted. In the case of surveys, the
coverage of trading establishments is often incomplete. A particularly serious
problem is that services transmitted electronically are frequently unregistered
as well as when the transactions take place within multinational corporations.
Third, statistics may be reported on a net rather than on a gross basis, often
as a result of compensation arrangements such as in rail transport or in
communication services. Fourth some services transactions may be difficult to
capture. It is often easier for compilers to collect more complete and reliable
information on trade in services exports rather than on imports given the large
number and diversity of importers compared to that of exporters, e.g. financial
services, computer services. Fifth, some particular service transactions may
not be classified to the appropriate BPM5 services classification. Methodologies
to build estimates for certain service categories may also differ between
economies, notably due to the continuing efforts to improve these statistics.
Some economies have made progress in the estimation of insurance services to
take into account premium supplements and claim volatility (i.e. in the case of
catastrophic events). Sixth, the alternate sources used for countries which are
not members of the IMF do not necessarily comply with the IMF concepts and
definitions. Seventh, misclassification of transactions may lead to an
underestimation of commercial services when service transactions are registered
as income, transfers or trade in merchandise rather than trade in services or,
conversely, to an overestimation of commercial services when transactions
pertaining to income, transfers or official transactions are registered in the
private service categories.
notes for selected economies
Statistics are sourced from the Eurostat database.
Trade in services of the United States
Over recent years the United States Bureau of Economic
Analysis has continuously improved its trade in commercial services estimates.
In 2011, the United States implemented a number of
changes in the classification of certain services transactions beginning with
statistics for the year 1999. Apart from regular updates in source data, these
improvements were part of a broader effort to align with the recommendations of
the new IMF Balance of Payments Manual (BPM6).
In particular, revisions incorporated the results of
BEA’s 2009 financial services benchmark survey (which did not contain a
reporting threshold) as well as the reclassification of postal services from U.S. government miscellaneous services to other transportation. U.S. expenditures by
foreign nationals working at international organizations were removed from
other services. Revised methodologies were used for estimating the U.S. expenditures of foreign residents who work in the United States for less than 1 year
and for estimating U.S. air carriers’ expenditures in foreign ports. Finally,
cruises fares were reclassified from passenger fares to travel. As a result of
these changes, United States' exports and imports of services were revised
Also in line with this gradual movement towards the BPM6
recommendations, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis moved film and television
tape distribution services from audiovisual and related services (part of
personal, cultural and recreational services) to royalties and licence fees
starting with 1999.
In 2010, the United States revised its goods and services
accounts to reflect the reclassification of certain transactions from services
to goods. In particular, in previously published statistics, certain exports
and imports of military-related goods were recorded on a transactor basis and
were combined with other services transactions in the services account. In
addition, expenditures on goods and services by foreign air and ocean carriers
in U.S. ports (exports) and by U.S. air and ocean carriers in foreign ports
(imports) were included in “other” transportation services. Beginning with
statistics for 1999, fuel expenditures by foreign and U.S. air and ocean carriers were reclassified from “other” transportation services to
In 2008, the United States started to compile trade in
commercial services covering affiliated as well as unaffiliated trade for
individual services items (previously affiliated trade data for a number of
other commercial services items were grouped under a single heading in US
statistics). A number of changes in terms of content were also introduced.
Beginning with 2006 and continuing with 2007 surveys of transactions in
selected services and transactions in financial services, transactions with
affiliated and unaffiliated persons are collected on the same form and in the
same detail. This in particular reduces the potential for duplicate reporting
or omissions. It is important to note that given this major revision, some time
series were significantly revised and for some other detailed services items,
including both affiliated and non affiliated trade, data are not available
prior to 2006.Another major revision was introduced in 2003, when the United States revised its methodology for estimating trade in insurance services. The new
methodology measures insurance services as premiums less normal claims. Normal
claims comprise two components: “regularly occurring claims” that are
calculated as an average of all claims paid during the previous six years, and
a share of “catastrophic claims” that is added-on to “regularly occurring
claims” in equal increments over the two decades following their event. As
comprehensive data collection on insurance services started in 1986, the first
six-year average of “regularly occurring claims” could only be calculated for
1992. As a result, time series on trade in insurance services, and consequently
on other commercial services, have been revised back to 1992. To complete the
2003 revision, in 2004 the United States added to insurance services an
estimate of premium supplements (or income earned on technical reserves of
insurance companies). Insurance companies provide financial protection to
policy holders through the pooling of risk and provide financial intermediation
services through the investment of reserves. The income is treated as accruing
to the policy holders who pay it back to the insurers as supplements to
premiums to cover the full cost of insurance. The investment income of
insurance companies is not output in and of itself, it is used to impute the
value of the implicit component of insurance services attributable to financial
Travel exports and transportation services exports and
imports of Japan
In order to enhance the coverage of estimates of travel
exports and imports, the Bank of Japan and the Japanese Ministry of Finance
reviewed their compilation methodology, notably by including results from a new
expenditure survey of foreign travellers as of 2003. This revision had a major
impact on the estimates for travel exports. This methodology was reviewed in
2007 based on the results of a new survey (International Travellers’ Survey on
Expenditures) which are used in the new compilation method to directly estimate
the amounts spent by travellers to pay for goods and services. This applies to
exports and imports data as from 2006.
Trade in other commercial services of India
In the course of 2004, the Reserve Bank of India released new data following the introduction of a new reporting system to improve the
coverage of Indian trade in services statistics (mainly affecting the item
other business services).
The data for India for "computer services"
refer to WTO Secretariat estimates. The Indian figures reported by the Reserve
Bank of India and international agencies refer to "software services"
(covering Information Technology (IT) and IT enabled services). The coverage of
"software services" does not correspond to the definition of computer
services in international guidelines. WTO secretariat estimates are drawn from
the software figure which is broken down into a computer/IT component included
in the item "computer services", and an IT enabled services component
included under the item "miscellaneous business, professional and
technical services" (under "other business services"). This
breakdown is done on the basis of the information published in the annual RBI
report "Survey on Computer Software & Information Technology Services
Trade in commercial services of United Arab Emirates
Commercial services trade statistics of United Arab Emirates only cover transportation and travel.
Trade in commercial services of Nigeria
New data from 2005 compiled on the basis of BPM5
recommendations were released by the Bank of Nigeria in 2007. This results in a
break in series for Nigerian data in 2005.
Trade in commercial services of South Africa
In 2006 the Reserve Bank of South Africa improved its
commercial services estimates, and revised its data back to 2001 (resulting in
a break in series for that year).
Trade in other commercial services of Bahrain
New data compiled from 2004 for other commercial services
items, resulting in a break in series for that year.
Trade in other commercial services of Lebanon
New data compiled from 2010 resulted in a
break in series for that year for other business services, insurance services,
financial services, computer and information services, as well as personal,
cultural and recreational services.
Trade in other commercial services of Oman
In 2008 new data compiled (new national data from new
survey of corporate firms in 2007) for other commercial services items,
resulting in a break in series for 2005 for exports and 2003 for imports.
Trade in commercial services of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Starting with 2004, Iran compiles data according to the
recommendations of the BPM5.
Trade in commercial services of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
New data are compiled from 2005 according to BPM5
principles. Prior to 2008 a number of items (e.g. financial services, other
business services) were still not all classified according to the BPM5
definitions and some items were received net.
Trade in commercial services of Singapore
Starting with 2009, trade in commercial services figures
of Singapore are converted from the BPM6 to the BPM5 presentation. As figures
for net exports under merchanting are not separately reported, exports of total
commercial services and of other commercial services respectively are about 20%
and 35% lower than previously reported. The break in series of 2009 results
from this difference in coverage.
Trade in commercial services of France
Figures released in 2012 reflect a new supplementary
survey on international trade in services (ECEIS), which is submitted by
resident non-financial corporations exporting or importing services that are
not subject to the general direct reporting requirement. The expansion of the
sample of surveyed firms led to a break in series and to a substantial upward
revision of service receipts and payments, excluding travel, in 2009. Starting
with 2011, a new reporting system has been implemented for financial
intermediaries, also resulting in a break in series for financial services,
both credits and debits.
Trade in other commercial services of Trinidad and Tobago
Improved data collection resulted in a break in series in
2011 for other commercial services items for both exports and imports.
Trade in financial services
For Singapore (from 1995), and Switzerland, (from 1999)
data on trade in financial services include Financial Intermediation Services
Indirectly Measured (FISIM). This is not in accordance with BPM5
For Australia and Hong Kong (China), data include FISIM
starting from 2009, due to the countries' transition to BPM6. In the case of Hong Kong, China FISIM have no geographical breakdown.
Back to top
V. 5 Merchandise
The volume indices and the deflators (i.e. price indices
or unit values) are taken from a range of different international and national
sources. The reported deflators and volume indices may not always be available
for the most recent years or may differ in product coverage from the
corresponding value indices.
Aggregation of the indices to obtain a world
total is a two-tier process. First, export and import deflators from
national and international sources are complemented with Secretariat estimates
for missing data. They are then aggregated to obtain regional totals. The
volume index for each region is obtained by dividing the respective trade value
index for each region by the corresponding regional deflator. Second, the total world merchandise volume index is obtained by
deflating the world trade value with the aggregate of regional deflators.
Throughout the aggregation process trade values of the previous year are used
Back to top
V. 6 Selected
regional integration agreements
to the composition in the regional integration agreements.
are only available for selected product aggregates.
Back to top
VI. Statistical sources
Most frequently used sources are:
EUROSTAT, Comext and on-line databases
FAO, Production Yearbook
FAO, FAOSTAT Agriculture database
GTIS, Global Trade Atlas database
IMF, Balance of Payments Statistics
IMF, International Financial Statistics
IMF, World Economic Outlook database
OECD, Main Economic Indicators
OECD, Measuring Globalisation: The Role of
Multinationals in OECD Economies
OECD, Monthly Statistics of International
OECD, National Accounts
OECD, Statistics on International Trade in
OECD/IEA, Energy Prices & Taxes
UNECE, Economic Survey of Europe
UNECLAC, Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean
UNIDO, National Accounts Statistics
UNSD, Comtrade database (for OECD
members the UNSD-OECD Joint Trade Data Collection and Processing system)
UNSD, International Trade Statistics
UNSD, Monthly Bulletin of Statistics
UNSD, Servicetrade database
World Bank, World Development Indicators
These sources are supplemented by national
publications, other international databases and Secretariat estimates.
Figures for total merchandise trade are
largely derived from IMF, International Financial Statistics. Data on
merchandise trade by origin, destination and product are mainly obtained from
Eurostat's Comext database, GTIS' Global Trade Atlas database and UNSD's
Comtrade database. Some inconsistencies in the aggregate export and import data
for the same country or territory between the two sources are inevitable. These
can be attributed to the use of different systems of recording trade, to the
way in which IMF and UNSD have converted data expressed in national currencies
into dollars, and revisions which can be more readily incorporated in the IMF
Statistics on trade in commercial services
are mainly drawn from the IMF, Balance of Payments Statistics. Data for
European Union members, EU candidate and EU observer countries as well as the
EU(27) aggregate are drawn from Eurostat on-line database from 2004. For other
economies that do not report to the IMF (e.g. Chinese Taipei) data are drawn
from national sources. Estimations for missing data are mainly based on
national statistics. Statistics on trade in commercial services by origin and
destination are also derived from national statistics.
A matrix summarizing the status of the trade in services
data publication by International organizations is available at http://unstats.un.org/unsd/tradeserv/TFSITS/matrix.htm. The table provides links to the databases as well as
information on when the information is updated, availability of details,
partner data, etc. This table is maintained by the Task Force on Statistics of
International Trade in Services.
Back to top
Acknowledgements are due to the Food and
Agriculture Organization, the Global Trade Information Services, Inc. (GTIS),
the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, the United
Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the United Nations Economic Commission
for Latin America and the Caribbean, the United Nations Statistics Division,
the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the World Intellectual
Property Organization and the World Bank whose assistance in supplying advance
information has greatly facilitated the work of the Secretariat.
Acknowledgements are also due to national institutions for providing advance
Back to top