International merchandise trade is classified by commodity, by country of origin/destination, by Australian state of production/destination, and by industry of origin.
The international standard for export and import classification is the Harmonized System, a World Customs Organization (WCO) classification which groups goods according to their component materials, from raw materials through to processed and manufactured products.
The ABS adopts this as the basis for exports classification using the Australian Harmonised Export Commodity Classification (AHECC) and for imports classification using the Combined Australian Customs Tariff Nomenclature and Statistical Classification (Customs Tariff). The WCO introduced a revised version of the Harmonized System on 1 January 2002. This version was incorporated into the AHECC and the Customs Tariff.
The ABS also classifies export and import statistics according to:
- the UN Standard International Trade Classification (SITC Rev. 3) which groups goods according to the degree of processing they have undergone, from food and crude raw materials through to highly transformed manufactures
Commodity export and import statistics in this section are presented according to SITC Rev. 3.
- the UN Classification by Broad Economic Categories (BEC) which classifies international trade for the purposes of general economic analysis according to the main end use of the commodities traded.