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WTO Statistical data sets - Metadata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I. Data set availability

 

WTO statistical data sets

Period availability

Release date

Next update

Total merchandise trade

1948-2013

April 2014

July 2014

Merchandise trade by commodity

1980-2012

August 2013

August 2014

Network of world merchandise trade

2000-2012

August 2013

August 2014

Selected regional integration agreements

2000-2012

August 2013

August 2014

Trade in commercial services

Breakdown of "Other commercial services"

1980-2013

2000-2013

April 2014

July 2014

Merchandise trade indices

1981-2013

April 2014

July 2014

 

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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;

(iii)     Trade 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

Name

Description

Coverage

Information on geographical coverage, on commodity coverage and on the inclusion of special trade zones (e.g. processing zones).

Trade system

Specifies any deviation from the default "General trade" system.

Method of valuation

Identifies import values reported on a free on board (f.o.b.) basis.

 

 

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

Code

Name

B

Break in data continuity.  Data beginning with the highlighted year do not form a consistent series with those from earlier years.

C

Coverage difference. May cover transactions belonging to other services items.

E

WTO estimate.

 

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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 Caribbean): 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 elsewhere specified.

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.

Asia, of 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 elsewhere specified.

 

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 Market): Antigua 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 Southern Africa): 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 States): 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 States): Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

EFTA (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.

 

WTO members 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.

 

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IV. Product definitions

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).

(ii) Fuels 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 68).

 

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), and

- 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 891).

 

IV. 3 Other products: commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere (including gold), arms and ammunition (SITC section 9 and group 891). 

 

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 integrated circuits.

 

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V.    Definitions and methods by data set

 

V. 1  Merchandise trade

 

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 freight" valuation).

 

Re-exports and re-imports

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.

China reports 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.

 

Specific 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 2011 and intra-African trade would be substantially higher, with intra-SACU trade being the largest intra trade flow for regional trade agreements in Africa.

 

Major 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 2011; 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.

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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 unspecified products.

 

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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 way:

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 V. I.).

The network is only available for selected product aggregates and regional groupings (see below).

 

Principal adjustments

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 separately),

(ii) China's exports are adjusted to approximate their final destination,

(iii) Exports of non-monetary gold, where known, are included. When they cannot be broken down by destination, they are allocated to "unspecified destinations",
(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. 

 

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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 payments
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.

Travel 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 processing,

 

(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.

 

Specific notes for selected economies

European Union

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 upwards.

 

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 goods.

 

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 intermediation.

 

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. As from 2009, Japan’s travel exports and imports data reflect the results of new surveys. Data on  transportation services are consistent with revised 1996-2004 data published in 2006 by the Bank of Japan (based on a new methodology for measuring sea freight fares).

 

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 Exports".

 

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 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 recommendations. 

For Australia, data as from 2009 include FISIM due to the country's transition to BPM6.

 

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V. 5  Merchandise trade indices

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 as weights.

 

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V. 6  Selected regional integration agreements

Refer to the composition in the regional integration agreements.

Data are only available for selected product aggregates.

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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 Trade

OECD, National Accounts

OECD, Statistics on International Trade in Services

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 Database

UNSD, Comtrade database (for OECD members the UNSD-OECD Joint Trade Data Collection and Processing system)

UNSD, International Trade Statistics Yearbook

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 data.

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.

 

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VII.  Acknowledgements

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 statistics.

 

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