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5368.0.55.020 - Information Paper: Proposed Implementation of the New International Standard for International Merchandise Trade Statistics, 2013  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/08/2013   
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CHAPTER 4 IMTS 2010 RECOMMENDATIONS THAT ALREADY APPLY IN AUSTRALIA


INTRODUCTION

4.1 The key conceptual changes recommended by IMTS 2010 are explained in Chapter 3 (Key conceptual changes which have statistical implications for Australia). This chapter describes the other new recommendations and important clarifications which:
  • promote consistency with the related statistical standards of BPM6 and 2008 SNA
  • reflect the current patterns of international trade; and
  • enhance the use and understanding of international merchandise trade statistics.

4.2 As these recommendations already apply to Australia's international merchandise trade statistics no changes are necessary.


SCOPE RECOMMENDATIONS

GOODS FOR PROCESSING WITH OR WITHOUT A CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP

4.3 IMTS 2010 provides clarity on the definition and treatment of goods for processing. It describes a range of circumstances where goods for processing occurs and specifically distinguishes these from goods for repair and maintenance, or temporary admission, which are excluded from international merchandise trade. The recommendation says that all goods for processing and goods resulting from processing are included in international merchandise trade at their full transaction value. IMTS 2010 also encourages compilers to identify goods for processing and goods resulting from processing which do not involve a change of ownership and to provide details of these transactions to balance of payments compilers. Australia's treatment of goods for processing is in line with these recommendations.


SATELLITES AND THEIR LAUNCHERS WITHOUT A CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP

4.4 The treatment of satellites and their launchers was not mentioned in IMTS Rev.2. The treatment of satellites which involve a change of ownership is described in Chapter 3 (Key conceptual changes which have statistical implications for Australia). IMTS 2010 also specifically excludes these goods when there is no change of ownership. Satellites which do not cross the customs frontier are not included in the customs information passed to the ABS and are not included in Australia's international merchandise trade statistics.


GOODS TREATED AS PART OF TRADE IN SERVICES

4.5 The treatment of media that is used to carry customised software, software written for a specific client or originals is updated to say that the exclusion of these goods should be based on the definitions in BPM6 and determined in cooperation with balance of payments compilers. These recommendations are applied to Australia's international merchandise trade statistics.


GOODS IN ELECTRONIC COMMERCE

4.6 These are goods which physically cross customs borders but are purchased electronically e.g. over the internet. These goods are included in Australia's international merchandise trade statistics when the value of the transaction exceeds the customs declaration threshold.


CONTENT DELIVERED ELECTRONICALLY

4.7 This category refers to material which is downloaded, emailed or streamed from one country to another e.g. music, books, films, games etc. These goods are excluded from Australia's international merchandise trade as recommended by IMTS 2010 but included in trade in services in Australia's balance of payments.
TRADE SYSTEMS

ELEMENTS OF THE STATISTICAL TERRITORY

IMTS 2010 recommendation

4.8 That countries make clear the elements of their statistical territory (IMTS 2010, paragraph 2.3). The territorial elements include: islands, territorial waters; continental shelf; offshore installations and territorial enclaves.

Australia's treatment

4.9 Australia, like many countries uses customs data as the main data source for compiling international merchandise trade statistics, so this currently defines Australia's statistical territory. The elements of Australia's statistical territory are clearly described in documentation including International Merchandise Trade Australia, Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5489.0).

4.10 The jurisdiction of Australia's Customs and Border Protection does not extend to goods exported and imported by Norfolk Island, Heard Island, McDonald Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, the Australian Antarctic Territory, the JPDA or Australia's territorial enclaves abroad. As a result these areas are excluded from the statistical territory covered by Australia's international merchandise trade statistics. For full details of the elements of Australia's statistical territory, see Box 3.1 in Chapter 3 (Key conceptual changes which have statistical implications for Australia).


RE–IMPORTS AND RE–EXPORTS

IMTS 2010 recommendation

4.11 Include and separately identify re–imports and re–exports (IMTS 2010, paragraphs 2.16 and 2.18).

Australia's treatment

4.12 Re–imports are included in international merchandise import statistics. Re–imports are goods originally exported which are imported in either the same condition in which they were exported or after undergoing minor operations (e.g. blending, packaging, bottling, cleaning and sorting) which leave them essentially unchanged.

4.13 Re–exports are included in international merchandise export statistics. Re–exports are goods originally imported into Australia which are exported in either the same condition in which they were imported, or after undergoing some minor operations (e.g. blending, packaging, bottling, cleaning and sorting) which leave them essentially unchanged.

4.14 Re–imports and re–exports are separately identified. In Australia's international merchandise trade statistics, re–imports are published in a separate category in the country of origin classification. Re–imports are identified in ABS statistics as country of origin Australia, for example, see Table 2 of International Merchandise Imports, Australia (cat. no. 5439.0). Because re–exports refer to goods produced or manufactured in a foreign country they are identified as state of origin = Foreign in international merchandise trade statistics, including in Table 15a of International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (cat. no. 5368.0).


CUSTOMS PROCEDURE CODES

IMTS 2010 recommendations

4.15 IMTS 2010 recommends close cooperation between customs and statistical agencies to ensure that transactions are correctly included in, or excluded from, international merchandise trade (IMTS 2010, paragraph 8.4). The standards further recommend that information about the customs procedures applied to the transactions be included in the dataset provided by customs to the statistical agency (IMTS 2010, paragraph 2.19). Customs procedures may include information which aids in the identification of re–imports, re–exports, goods for processing, goods on consignment etc.

Australia's treatment

4.16 The relationship between the ABS and Customs and Border Protection is defined in a signed agreement between the two agencies. Meetings between the deputies of both agencies are held annually and regular discussions occur at the operational level. Together these arrangements ensure that both agencies understand the requirements of the other agency and ensure that the relationship remains strong.

4.17 The ABS receives a range of information about the customs procedures applied to transactions. This includes fields which identify re–imports and re–exports, the line nature type, duty fields and GST fields. The information supplied by Customs and Border Protection can be used to ensure the correct treatment of transactions in international merchandise trade statistics.
COMMODITY CLASSIFICATIONS

STANDARD INTERNATIONAL TRADE CLASSIFICATION (SITC)

IMTS 2010 recommendation

4.18 Use SITC for the dissemination and analysis of trade statistics (IMTS 2010, paragraph 3.19).

Australia's treatment

4.19 SITC is the primary classification used for the publication and dissemination of broad level commodity information in Australia's international merchandise trade statistics, The latest version of SITC (SITC revision 4) is used.

4.20 An example of the hierarchical structure of the SITC (Rev. 4) is included below:


LevelCodeDescription

Section:0Food and Live Animals
Division:05Vegetables and Fruit
Group:057Fruit and nuts (not including oil nuts), fresh or dried
Basic Heading:057.40Apples, fresh



PARTNER COUNTRY

CALCULATION OF TRADE BALANCES

IMTS 2010 recommendation

4.21 When calculating trade balances IMTS 2010 recommends that countries use imports by country of origin and exports by country of last known destination (IMTS 2010, paragraph 6.27).

Australia's treatment

4.22 Australia's international merchandise trade statistics are classified by country of origin for imports and country of final destination (this is the same concept as country of last known destination) for exports. Some country trade balances, which are consistent with the IMTS 2010 recommendation are published in the PDF version of Table 14 in International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia (cat. no. 5368.0). The Table 14 time series spreadsheets do not include country trade balances but these can be easily calculated by subtracting Australia's imports from a country (using Table 14b) from Australia's exports to that country (using Table 14a).


MODE OF TRANSPORT

IMTS 2010 RECOMMENDATIONS

4.23 That countries compile and disseminate international merchandise trade statistics by mode of transport at the most detailed commodity level. The mode of transport that should be recorded is the means of transport used when goods enter or leave the economic territory of a country (IMTS 2010, paragraph 7.1). The mode of transport categories and contents should be clearly defined (IMTS 2010, paragraph 7.3).


AUSTRALIA'S TREATMENT

4.24 Mode of transport is included on exports and imports declarations. Customs and Border Protection accept air, sea, post and other as valid forms of mode of transport. When mode of transport air or sea is specified, an airline code or a vessel name and vessel id must also be provided. Mode of transport post is only valid for imports; exports by post are identified through the goods type field. Mode of transport other applies to imports which are hand carried by a passenger but the ABS re–classifies these to air or sea as shown below. The mode of transport is also used by the ABS to verify other information about the transaction e.g. the overseas port information. Mode of transport is aggregated and available for release at the most detailed (ten–digit imports and eight–digit exports) commodity level.

4.25 The mode of transport categories and their contents are clearly defined. See Table 4.1 below.


TABLE 4.1 AUSTRALIA'S INTERNATIONAL MERCHANDISE TRADE STATISTICS MODE OF TRANSPORT CLASSIFICATION


ClassificationDescription of what is included
A – AirMode of transport A is used for goods entering or leaving Australia on an aircraft. It is also used for the import and export of aircraft which enter or leave Australia under their own power and imported goods which are hand carried on aircraft by passengers. Goods which use a postal service are excluded.
S – SeaMode of transport S is used for goods entering or leaving Australia on a ship or vessel. It is also used for the import and export of ships and vessels that enter or leave Australia under their own power and for imported goods which are hand carried on ships by passengers. It also includes goods moved through pipelines. Goods which use a postal service are excluded.
P – PostMode of transport P refers to goods that enter or leave Australia, either by sea or air, using a postal service.
U – UnknownMode of transport U is used for imports when the data is not available for publication.

DATA COMPILATION STRATEGIES

IMTS 2010 RECOMMENDATIONS

4.26 IMTS 2010 recommends:
  • that countries use customs records as the main data source (IMTS 2010, paragraph 8.2)
  • if other sources are used that they are integrated to minimise reporting burden (IMTS 2010, paragraph 8.11); and
  • establishing formal institutional arrangements which define the roles and responsibilities of agencies (IMTS 2010, paragraph 8.17).


AUSTRALIA'S TREATMENT

4.27 Customs and Border Protection records are the main source used to compile Australia's international merchandise trade statistics. For exports, the ABS receives declarations lodged by exporters (or their agents) and cargo manifests supplied by shipping and airline businesses. For imports, the ABS receives declarations which includes information about the goods as well as their transport details.

4.28 In only a small number of instances are non–customs sources used in the compilation of international merchandise trade statistics. For example, exchange rates supplied by the Reserve Bank are used to compile exports on a departure date basis and occasionally information may be verified using data from other ABS surveys. These data are integrated to minimise reporting burden and ensure the quality of the data.

4.29 The ABS is the national agency responsible for the compilation and dissemination of international merchandise trade statistics. The ABS and Customs and Border Protection have a well established relationship that provides a solid foundation for high quality and timely trade statistics. While the relationship has existed for over 100 years it was formalised in 2008 by the signing of an agreement between the agency heads.


DATA QUALITY AND METADATA

IMTS 2010 RECOMMENDATIONS

4.30 Data on international merchandise trade statistics are the end product of a complex process comprising many stages, from the collection and processing of basic records to the compilation and dissemination of official statistics. IMTS 2010 includes a number of new recommendations on how to approach the issue of data quality in a systematic and comprehensive way. These recommendations are summarised in the following points:
  • follow a systematic approach to data quality and develop standards and related good practices (IMTS 2010, paragraph 9.4)
  • develop a standard for quality reports (IMTS 2010, paragraph 9.5)
  • complete and update quality reports every five years (IMTS 2010, paragraph 9.6).
  • base quality reports on a set of quantitative and qualitative indicators (IMTS 2010, paragraph 9.7)
  • take the following dimensions into account when developing a quality assessment framework: prerequisites of quality (institutional arrangements), relevance, credibility, accuracy, timeliness, methodological soundness, coherence and accessibility (IMTS 2010, paragraph 9.10)
  • ensure that quality indicators cover all dimensions of quality; are based on the consistent application of a sound methodology and the indicators are easy to interpret by users (IMTS 2010, paragraph 9.15); and
  • include metadata as an integral part of the dissemination of statistics (IMTS 2010, paragraphs 9.23 and 9.25).

4.31 Although IMTS 2010 includes these as new recommendations, they are not new practices in Australia. The ABS has well developed standards and good practices covering data processing and quality assurance. The ABS Data Quality Framework (ABS DQF) provides the standards for assessing and reporting on the quality of statistical information. The ABS DQF comprises seven quality dimensions, reflecting a broad and inclusive approach to quality definition and assessment. The seven dimensions align with the IMTS 2010 recommendations for quality measurement and reporting. The ABS DQF is explained in the ABS Data Quality Framework, May 2009 (cat. no. 1520.0).

4.32 At the collection level, quality declarations are supplied with each publication. A quality declaration is a statement about the quality of statistical products using the seven dimensions of the ABS DQF.

4.33 The ABS also publishes a range of material that provide users with sufficient information to judge whether the data are adequate for their intended use. These include:
4.34 The ABS has implemented best practice input and output processing systems, processes and procedures to ensure the quality of international merchandise trade statistics. These include:
  • quality strategies to ensure the data is fit for purpose e.g. edit checks, significance editing, data confrontation with other sources
  • testing and evaluation plans prior to the introduction of any new or updated processes/and or systems to ensure errors and potential quality issues are identified and resolved
  • training and development of staff to ensure they have the skills and abilities to identify key statistical issues and potential quality impacts; and
  • risk mitigation and assessment processes e.g. quality gates and data management information to ensure all data are received, loaded, processed and accounted for at each processing stage.
DISSEMINATION

CONFIDENTIALITY RULES

IMTS 2010 recommendation

4.35 Use passive confidentiality in the compilation of international merchandise trade statistics (IMTS 2010, paragraph 10.3).

Australia's treatment

4.36 Australia's international merchandise trade statistics are subject to passive confidentiality i.e. statistics are able to be released without explicit regard to confidentiality, unless and until an individual or organisation demonstrates that such disclosure would be likely to enable the identification of that person or organisation, (see Information Paper: Request to Confidentialise International Trade Data, 2001 (cat. no. 5497.0.55.001).


DATA DISSEMINATION

IMTS 2010 recommendation

4.37 Treat all statistical users equally and disseminate data without preference (IMTS 2010, paragraph 10.13).

Australia's treatment

4.38 The ABS adheres to this recommendation by ensuring that equal opportunity of access to statistics is enjoyed by all users. The ABS achieves this by making all publications and standard products available free from the ABS website. The release dates and times are also announced in advance and products are released to all users at the same time.

4.39 This policy applies to all ABS data including international merchandise trade statistics.


USER COMMENTS

4.40 Users are invited to comment:
  • on the IMTS 2010 recommendations described in this paper in terms of the purpose and use of Australia's international merchandise trade statistics.

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