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1233.0 - Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC), Jan 2006  
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Contents >> Introduction and explanatory notes >> 1.7 Confidentiality of trade statistics

Export and import statistics are compiled using information provided by exporters, importers and their agents to Customs. Potentially, aggregate export and import statistics are available in a great deal of detail but not all possible cross-classifications are released. Restrictions are placed on the release of statistics where the data for an individual or an organisation are identifiable and that entity has requested that the data be suppressed. In practice, the way that a restriction is achieved is to conceal the sensitive data by combining it with other data.

There are many reasons why an individual or an organisation may request suppression of data, for example:

    • the individual/organisation may not want the total value and/or unit value of its imports or exports to be known, as such knowledge may be damaging to its business activities;
    • the individual/organisation may want to protect details of the quantity of certain goods it trades, or the countries from which it imports or to which it exports;
    • an imported commodity may be the subject of an anti-dumping inquiry; or
    • exports to or imports from certain countries may be politically sensitive and the individual/organisation may be concerned that disclosure of the country of origin/destination may provoke protests or boycotting from other countries or some sections of the local community.

However, regardless of the reason for requesting confidentiality, if an individual or organisation has shown that release of certain statistics would be likely to enable the identification of the trade by that individual or organisation, then the ABS is legally required not to disclose the information.


If you are concerned about the possible disclosure of your trade data, please contact the ABS and your concerns will be investigated. If appropriate, restrictions will be placed upon the release of these statistics. See Section 1.10 for address details.

For further information regarding confidentiality refer to Information Paper: International Merchandise Trade Statistics, Australia, Data Confidentiality (Cat. no. 5487.0), contact the Confidentiality Manager on (02) 6252 5409 or visit the International Trade Theme page, which provides links to all information about international merchandise trade statistics on the ABS web site.


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