14. The United Nations and other international organisations, in association with the customs and statistical agencies of major trading nations, have developed an interrelated set of classifications of economic activities and commodities. These comprise the International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities (ISIC) Revision 3 (United Nations, Statistical Papers, Series M, No. 4, Rev.3) the HS, the SITC Revision 3 and the CPC. As part of the world programme of harmonisation the ABS, SNZ and other major national statistical agencies are progressively rebasing their classification systems to align with these international standards as closely as possible, thereby facilitating international data comparisons.
15. For goods typically subject to international trade, and consequently to customs administration, the HS is now, under international convention, the standard which describes and defines them.
16. As signatory countries to the HS Convention, Australia and New Zealand, and hence the ABS and SNZ, have a mandatory responsibility to collect and publish import and export commodity statistics according to the most detailed (six-digit) level of the HS without deviation. The consistency introduced to international trade statistics is reflected in the 5019 HS 6-digit commodity codes and descriptors which are identical for both import and export statistics and are stable over time(the first revisions to the HS are to be implemented as of 1 July 1996). These are a minimum list of items. Australian trade statistics are available at finer levels of detail presented in the Combined Australian Customs Tariff and Statistical Nomenclature (Customs Tariff) (Australian Customs Service, 1 January 1988) and The Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC)(ABS Catalogue No. 1233.0). Trade data in New Zealand are classified by the New Zealand Harmonised System (NZHS) (SNZ Catalogue No. 19.014, December 1987) which applies to both imports and exports as a single 10 digit classification.
17. The Standard International Trade Classification Revision 3 (SITC) (United Nations, Statistical Papers, Series M, No. 34, Rev.3) regroups HS categories into 3118 headings. It is designed to aid statistical analysis of trade data and to assist in the compilation comparable trade data.
18. The CPC has been developed as a multipurpose classification covering all goods and services (the HS and SITC classify goods only). It has been designed to bring together, into a single framework, products (commodities) that can be the object of domestic or international transactions, or that can be entered into stocks. Also included are non-produced assets such as land, and assets arising from legal contracts (e.g. patents, trademarks and copyrights). At its broadest level it can be viewed as being in two major parts - 'Transportable goods' and 'Non-transportable goods and services'.
19. The transportable goods categories of the CPC can be directly linked to the HS and the SITC Revision 3. Consequently, comparison between the data compiled using any of these classifications is possible. As all the SITC and the CPC transportable goods categories are composed of one or more HS categories, the Explanatory Notes to the HS also provide the documentation for the definition of the scope of individual SITC and CPC categories.
20. The non-transportable goods and services component of the CPC is the focus of current international work concerning standard non-transportable goods and services categories. The CPC includes explanatory notes which define the scope of these categories.