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Workshop on International Merchandise Trade Statistics

UN Photo/Jerry Frank

Economic globalization, advancement in technology and the emergence of Big Data present many new challenges and opportunities for International Trade statistics. In order to meet these challenges and measure Trade more accurately, new recommendations for International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) were adopted by all United Nations Member States through the UN Statistical Commission in 2010 (called IMTS 2010). Countries have been implementing the elements of these new recommendations, notably trade by mode of transport, trade by country of consignment, trade by inward and outward processing, reporting of customs procedure codes, and imports valuation on a Free On Board (FOB) basis.

In addition to these methodological challenges, the expectation and demand of Trade statistics users have increased. Data producers are now expected to offer modern dissemination platforms, relevant analyses and informative visualizations. Trade data producers are also encouraged to implement international standards for Data Exchange (SDMX) and share their data to be published in the global repository of official international trade statistics, the UN Comtrade database maintained by the UN Statistics Division.

Finally, in order to support the sustainable development agenda, Trade statistics need to be properly understood in conjunction with other Economic statistics and macro-economic frameworks, such as National Accounts statistics (see the System of National Accounts 2008), Balance of Payments statistics (see BPM6), and statistics of the International Trade in Services (see MSITS 2010). Linking Trade statistics with Business statistics, and alignment across all Economic statistics are essential for measuring the Global Value Chain and for informing policy. The 2012 Guidelines on Integrated Economic Statistics are useful in this regard.

The workshop is organized jointly by African Union Commission (AUC) and UN DESA and will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 24 to 28 June 2019.

Find out more here.