5331.0 - Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia, Concepts, Sources and Methods, 1998  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/09/1998   
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Contents >> Chapter 6. Current account - goods >> Coverage of international trade statistics


6.17. International trade statistics exclude certain categories of goods which cross the customs frontier, as well as goods changing ownership between residents and non-residents which do not cross the customs frontier. These goods and their balance of payments treatment are recorded in box 6.5. In addition, certain goods which cross the customs frontier, but which do not change ownership, are included in international trade statistics and need to be excluded from the balance of payments measure of goods trade. These include undersea cables from Australia to the rest of the world which remain in Australian ownership; imports of cinema and television film originals for distribution, which are valued in international trade statistics at the value of the medium on which they are carried; and personal effects of Australian travellers returning from abroad for which import entries are required (such as cameras, alcohol etc). The undersea cables do not involve change of ownership and should not be included in the balance of payments. The value of the service associated film distribution is captured in either royalties and copyrights or audio-visual and related services, as appropriate. In circumstances where passengers’ personal effects require customs entries, the value of such goods is captured in travel services debits.

6.5 GOODS EXCLUDED FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADE STATISTICS
Goods which cross the customs frontier but are not included in international merchandise trade statistics (unless otherwise stated, no balance of payments adjustment is made):
      • Direct transit trade, i.e. goods being transshipped or moved through Australia for purposes of transport only;
      • Migrants’ and other passengers’ personal effects.
        (In theory, migrants’ effects should be included, with offsets in migrants’ transfers. However, insufficient data are available to record these entries. Passengers’ effects are included in the travel item.);
      • Imported goods entered through customs on informal clearance documents (ICDs) where the value does not exceed $250;
      • Parcel post items of small value (for exports the value is less than $2,000 and for imports, less than $1,000) for which customs entries are not required;
      • Single export consignments where the value of goods is less than $500 ($250 until 30 June 1986);
      • The movements of ships and aircraft engaged in transporting goods or passengers between Australia and other countries;
      • Purchases and sales of aircraft (and spare parts) originally imported on or before 1 July 1987. These items were excluded from international trade statistics before that date, and adjustments were made to include them in balance of payments statistics. From 1 July 1987, these goods are included in international trade statistics;
      • Bunkers and stores supplied to Australian operated ships and aircraft prior to arrival in Australia - data are collected in the Survey of International Trade in Services and included in goods procured in ports debits; and
      • Goods classified as non-merchandise trade, consisting primarily of goods imported or exported on a temporary basis and intended to be re-exported or re-imported respectively, such as goods shipped for repair, alteration or renovation and subsequent return, the value of those repairs, and goods shipped for public exhibition. While goods for processing and return are excluded from merchandise trade statistics, data relating to them are used to estimate the value of goods imported and exported for processing and return, and the value of repairs, for balance of payments purposes.
Goods which do not cross the frontier and therefore are not covered in international merchandise trade statistics:
      • Offshore installations (including oil drilling rigs and platforms), ships, aircraft and satellites which operate in international waters or airspace and are purchased from or sold to non-residents - the Survey of Principal Transport Enterprises and ad hoc data are used to identify these goods and to include them in the balance of payments;
      • Goods purchased in a foreign country by the Australian government and consumed in that country (e.g. by diplomatic or defence personnel) - included in government services n.i.e.;
      • Fish and other sea products caught by Australian vessels in Australia or abroad directly from the high seas and sold abroad - not currently included in the balance of payments;
      • Gold sold to or by non-residents, but stored in Australia on their behalf - included in the balance of payments when identified, but these transactions are not often readily identified; and
      • Transactions involving an Australian resident buying and selling goods abroad, and transactions involving non-residents buying and selling goods in Australia. When goods are purchased from one non-resident, sold again to another non-resident, and the goods do not enter Australia, the activity is considered a merchanting transaction. (However, if the commodities are not resold by the merchant in the same accounting period, an import of goods is recorded by the compiling economy in the period of purchase, and a negative import entry is recorded in the period of sale.) For merchanting transactions involving an Australian resident buying and selling goods abroad, the merchanting service rendered (the margin) is recorded as a service transaction in the balance of payments. (See box 7.7 for more details on the treatment of merchanting services in the balance of payments.) For transactions involving non-residents buying and selling goods in Australia, merchanting is not applicable and gross goods flows should be recorded. However, with the exception of some gold transactions, and for a few other specific and significant transactions that are identified from time to time, no data are available on non-resident goods transactions within Australia.





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