Australian Bureau of Statistics

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5489.0 - International Merchandise Trade, Australia, Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2001  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/05/2001   
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3.15 Gross weight refers to the shipping weight of goods (measured in kilograms) in the packaged state, excluding the weight of containers. For exports, details of gross weight are available for each commodity. For imports, details of gross weight are not available for individual commodities because only the total gross weight is reported for each Customs entry, regardless of how many separate lines / commodities that entry may contain. Gross weight is assigned to the first line / commodity in the entry to enable commodity estimates to be produced. Gross weight data for imports, therefore, should only be disseminated on a regional (i.e. port, state, country) or type of transport (i.e. sea, air, parcel post) basis.

3.16 A quantity measurement is available for most commodities. Generally it is the normal unit of quantity used for that commodity by the associated industry. The unit of quantity applies at the most detailed level of the commodity code (eight-digit AHECC for exports, ten-digit HTISC for imports).

3.17 Where the unit of quantity is a weight measurement, net weight is recorded (in grams, kilograms or tonnes). Any outside packaging, inner containers or wrappings, or any carrying medium (e.g. liquid) surrounding the goods should be excluded. However, for goods in solution or emulsion, or similar forms, the quantity should be the total weight of the contents, including the liquid.

3.18 Liquids (such as petroleum and wine) are quantified in litres, while carpets and fabrics are normally quantified in square metres. Some commodity codes do not have a unit of quantity, due to the diversity, or variation in size, of items covered by the commodity code e.g. 'parts'. No quantity details are reported for these items. Units of quantity used in Australia's statistics are shown in Appendix 1.

3.19 Other fields are available which provide extra detail relating to the payment of import duties. These fields are only relevant to import clearances statistics.

  • nature of tariff code is used to indicate whether reductions in the amount of duty payable have been applied because of special circumstances surrounding their importation, e.g. by-law clearances;
  • treatment code is used to indicate special treatment of the transaction by Customs (usually involving a concessional rate of duty), generally in accordance with Schedule 4 of the Australian Customs Tariff and Nominal Reference Numbers;
  • preference code is used to indicate whether a preferential rate of duty applies to the import of certain goods from a particular country;
  • statistical rate code is derived by the ABS from a number of fields provided by Customs. This code is a four character field that indicates the type and rate of duty applied to the goods imported; and
  • duty is the total amount of duty paid (in Australian dollars) in respect of imported goods. It reflects the rate of duty appropriate to those goods (as outlined in the Australian Customs Tariff), plus any dumping duty applicable. Duty may be calculated at an ad valorem or fixed rate, or a combination of both. It excludes payment of any GST or excise applicable.

3.20 Overseas country is defined as a geographical entity which trades, or has the potential to trade, with Australia in accordance with Customs provisions. Australian territories such as Cocos (Keeling) and Christmas Islands are treated as separate geographical entities for the purposes of Australia's international merchandise trade statistics, due to the Customs provisions that apply to them. Self-governing territories and dependant territories under the administration of countries other than Australia may be treated as individual countries in Australian trade statistics.

3.21 For exports, overseas country refers to the country of final destination of the goods at the time of export. In those cases where it is found to be impossible to determine the final destination, the country of final destination is recorded as 'destination unknown'.

3.22 For imports and import clearances, overseas country refers to the country of origin of the goods. Where it is found to be impossible to determine the country of origin, goods are recorded as 'origin unknown'.

3.23 All land masses are divided into geographic territories which trade, or have the potential to trade, with Australia. These territories are shown in Appendix 2. For completeness, the category 'International Waters' has been added to represent areas of the seas and oceans which have no recognised ownership.

3.24 Overseas port is the foreign sea or air port where the goods are loaded onto the international carrier (port of loading), prior to its uninterrupted voyage to Australia for imports and imports clearances, or the final foreign sea or air port at which the goods are unloaded from the international carrier (port of discharge), after it has left Australia, for exports. However, the port from where the goods are discharged may not necessarily be the ultimate destination of the goods.

3.25 The following data items are provided in respect of State:

For exports:
  • State of loading is the Australian State in which the goods are loaded onto an international carrier for export. Subject to any confidentiality restrictions, this can be further disaggregated to provide information about particular air or sea ports in the relevant State (i.e. Port of loading).
  • State of origin is analogous to country of origin i.e. the Australian State in which the final stage of production or manufacture occurs.

For imports:
  • State of discharge is the Australian State in which imported goods are unloaded from the international carrier. Subject to any confidentiality restrictions, this can also be further disaggregated to provide information about particular air or sea ports in the relevant State (i.e. Port of discharge).
  • State of final destination is the Australian State in which goods are released from Customs' control.

3.26 The State of loading and State of origin may be different, e.g. goods produced or manufactured in Tasmania are loaded onto an international carrier for export in Victoria. There are also situations where the State of discharge and State of final destination are not the same. However, an ABS investigation in respect of imports for 1996-97 indicated that the State of discharge and State of final destination were identical for the majority of imports.

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