5331.0 - Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/03/2011   
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The Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual Sixth edition (BPM6) states that:

    10.22 Because there is no change of ownership of goods between a resident and a nonresident, or because the goods have no value, the following cases are excluded from general merchandise:
      (a) Transit trade. These goods are admitted under special customs procedures that allow the goods to pass through the territory. They are excluded from the general merchandise of the territory of transit;
      (b) Migrants’ personal effects. The personal property that accompanies people changing residence is not classified as a transaction because there is no change in ownership;
      (c) Goods consigned to embassies, military bases, and so forth from their home authorities and vice versa;
      (d) Goods sent to an enterprise’s external operations where those operations are not sufficiently substantial to constitute a branch. A common example is goods sent abroad from the home base for use in a construction project not undertaken by a separate entity; these goods are not included in exports of general merchandise of the territory of the home base;
      (e) Goods temporarily exported or imported without a change of ownership. Examples include goods for repair, as part of an operating lease, and for storage, and animals or artifacts for participation in exhibitions or competitions. (Such movements of goods should be tracked, so as to identify cases where the goods are subsequently sold, rather than returned; see paragraph 10.17(g). Identification of these movements may help identify associated items, such as repair, operating leases, storage services, exhibition charges, and competition winnings.);
      (f) Goods for assembly, packing, labeling, or processing by an entity that does not own the goods concerned. (Both inward and outward movements of such goods should be tracked, to assist in identifying associated charges for assembly, etc., to be recorded in manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others, as discussed in paragraphs 10.62–10.71. These values also help identify cases where the goods are subsequently sold, rather than returned, in which case they are identified as an export from the owner’s economy at the time of sale.);
      (g) Goods acquired by a lessor under a financial lease. Financial leases are defined in paragraph 5.56. Although the lessor has legal title, it does not have economic ownership. (The goods are shown as being acquired by the lessee; see paragraph 10.17(f).);
      (h) Goods with no positive value (e.g., dangerous goods exported for disposal or storage). These goods are not general merchandise, but could give rise to associated disposal or storage services; see paragraph 10.152. However, waste and scrap with positive values are included in general merchandise;
      (i) Returned goods. In these cases, the goods were not accepted, or a change of ownership occurred but the parties later agreed to annul the change of ownership. It is recommended that revised entries should be made to exports and imports for the period when the goods were initially recorded, so as to remove the voided transaction especially for returns of occasional, high-value goods. However, for statistical convenience, deductions from exports and imports may be made in the periods when the goods are returned for minor cases;
      (j) Samples of no commercial value;
      (k) Trade in goods between free trade zones and residents of the same economy; and
      (l) Any other goods that have been included in the data source although there was no change of ownership.
    10.23 The following items are excluded from general merchandise because they are included in other components of goods and services:
      (a) Goods acquired or sold by residents but that do not enter the economic territory are shown separately as goods under merchanting, as discussed in paragraphs 10.41–10.49;
      (b) Nonmonetary gold, as bullion and other forms, is shown as a separate item within goods, as discussed in paragraphs 10.50–10.54;
      (c) Goods that are included in travel, as discussed in paragraphs 10.89–10.91;
      (d) Goods locally acquired for construction undertaken by enterprises that are nonresident in the territory of the location of the work. These goods are included under construction, as discussed in paragraph 10.104;
      (e) Devices, such as disks, with stored computer software or data, that have been customized to order are included under computer services, as discussed in paragraph 10.143;
      (f) Products such as packaged software (systems and applications), video and audio recordings, and so forth that are delivered on disks, magnetic media, or storage devices, but are obtained with a fixed-period license to use (so that they require ongoing periodic payments) rather than with change of economic ownership. (These products are included in computer or audiovisual and related services; see paragraphs 10.143 and 10.163, respectively. For related products included in goods, see paragraph 10.17(c).);
      (g) Licenses to reproduce or distribute (or both) audio and video that are conveyed by supply of the original recording are included under charges for the use of intellectual property n.i.e., as discussed in paragraph 10.137; and
      (h) Customized blueprints and nonbulk newspapers and periodicals sent on the basis of direct subscription are included in information services. (However, the bulk provision of newspapers and periodicals is included in general merchandise.)

Australia's Balance of Payments aligns with the above BPM6 definition. The source data excludes a number of these items and specific adjustments are made to exclude a number of other items. Adjustments are made when the valuation involved is significant and a reliable data source exists.


    General merchandise

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