4.1 ABS international merchandise trade statistics are compiled and disseminated according to several different, but linked, commodity classifications. These classifications are those used to describe internationally traded goods for customs administration purposes, the level of manufacturing or processing, or the main end-use of the goods.
4.2 The statistics can also be presented according to the industry most likely to have produced the goods. They can also be classified by country or country groups, mode of transportation and state of origin or destination, to enable detailed analyses of Australia's international trade. The purpose of this chapter is to briefly describe the main classifications used for these purposes.
4.3 Each of the commodity and industry classifications used can be concorded or 'linked' to other commodity or industry classifications, at varying levels of detail. The ABS maintains a series of concordances that facilitate the analysis of Australia's international merchandise trade statistics from different viewpoints.
4.4 Depending on which classifications are involved, and how specific the area of interest is, the nature of the links between classifications can vary substantially. The relationships between items in the classifications may be 'one to one', 'one to many', 'many to one' or 'many to many'. The example of 'fresh apples' has been used throughout this chapter to illustrate how international merchandise trade data may be classified and presented in a number of ways, to suit the preferences of the user.
4.5 ABS concordances are regularly reviewed and updated to permit comparison of data over classification changes and between different classifications. They are available for purchase or subscription from ABS Information Consultancy.