8.87 The quality of Australia's international merchandise trade statistics is considered to be very high due to:
- the statistical framework underpinning ABS concepts and procedures aligns with recognised international standards;
- all items required for balance of payments purposes, and most items of interest to other users, are collected by Customs and provided to ABS as an administrative by-product, at little if any additional cost to traders;
- Customs and ABS work together to improve the accuracy and reliability of the data. Most significant errors are discovered and corrected before initial aggregates are released. Revisions are generally small, occurring in the month following the initial release. Broad level results compare reasonably well with statistics from partner countries. Results at the most detailed levels may be less accurate;
- extensive data sets are released in a very timely fashion. More records are processed each year, yet timeliness has been maintained and costs significantly reduced over time; and
- electronic access to publications, and the provision of tailored datasets electronically, has increased the accessibility and usability of trade statistics.