Statistical data sets - Metadata
I. Data set availability
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information on data
discrepancies between constituent figures and totals are due to rounding;
(ii) All value figures are expressed in United States
(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.
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 trade" system.
Method of valuation
Identifies import values
reported on a free on board (f.o.b.) basis.
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
Break in data
continuity. Data beginning with the
highlighted year do not form a consistent series with those from earlier
Coverage difference. May
cover transactions belonging to other services items.
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III. Composition of reporter and partner groups
III. 1 Regions
North America: Bermuda, Canada,
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
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.
of Independent States
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,
Saudi Arabia Kingdom of, Syrian Arab
Republic, United Arab Emirates,
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
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,
and Viet Nam.
CACM (Central American Common
Market): Costa Rica, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
(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
(Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa): Cameroon, Central
African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
(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.
(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
(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.
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
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.
(Gulf Cooperation Council): Bahrain, Kuwait,
and United Arab Emirates.
MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market): Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay
NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement): Canada, Mexico and the United States of America.
(South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation)/SAPTA (South Asian
Preferential Trade Agreement): Bangladesh, Bhutan,
and Sri Lanka.
(Southern African Development Community): Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo,
Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South
Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and
(West African Economic and Monetary Union): Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
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.
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.
Asian traders: Hong Kong, China, Republic
of Korea, Singapore
and Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu,
Kinmen and Matsu
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
groups are defined according to Revision 3 of the Standard International Trade
(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).
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).
sections 5, 6, 7, 8 minus division 68 and group 891)
(i) Iron and steel: (SITC division
(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
-- 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),
-- 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
(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
- 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).
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
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and methods by data set
V. 1 Merchandise
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.
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
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
Specific notes for selected economies
Merchandise trade statistics of the European Union
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.
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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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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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 V. I.).
network is only available for selected product
aggregates and regional groupings (see below).
The principal adjustments to the figures are
(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
(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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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.
(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
of commercial services in the balance of payments
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.
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.
corresponds to the following components defined in BPM5:
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,
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.
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
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
Specific notes for selected economies
Statistics are sourced from the Eurostat
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
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
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
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
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
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
Trade in commercial services of United Arab
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
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
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
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.
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
to the composition in the regional integration agreements.
are only available for selected product aggregates.
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Most frequently used sources are:
EUROSTAT, Comext and on-line databases
Trade Atlas database
of Payments Statistics
Economic Outlook database
Globalisation: The Role of Multinationals in OECD Economies
Monthly Statistics of International Trade
Statistics on International Trade in Services
Prices & Taxes
Survey of Europe
Overview of the Economies of Latin America and
Accounts Statistics Database
UNSD, Comtrade database (for OECD members the UNSD-OECD Joint Trade Data Collection
and Processing system)
Trade Statistics Yearbook
Bulletin of Statistics
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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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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