IMPORTANCE OF COUNTRY ATTRIBUTION
6.23 The recording of imports by country of origin shows the direct relationship between the producing country (the country in which the goods originate) and the importing country. This information is regarded as essential for matters of trade policy and negotiations, administering import quotas or tariffs and other related economic analysis.
6.24 There are, however, limitations to the use of data compiled on a country of origin basis. In principle, export and import statistics will only match between two countries when exports are shipped directly from the country of origin to the country of final destination. Discrepancies occur when third countries are involved, that is, re-exports of merchandise traded through intermediate countries.
6.25 As an example, goods produced in China, sold and shipped to Australia, are later resold and dispatched to New Zealand. China's statistics should show these as exports to Australia, if at the time of export the goods are expected to remain in Australia. After a period of time has elapsed, Australia may then export the goods and record them as a direct transaction between Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand statistics would most likely not attribute the imports from Australia, but indicate that goods were imported from China (the country of origin). These trade movements complicate data comparability between partner countries.
6.26 Where countries also compile data by country of consignment this information can be used to explain differences in partner country statistics since it promotes the recording of the same transactions by exporting and importing countries. This offers the possibility of obtaining reasonably comparable statistics since goods recorded as exports by one country are to be recorded as imports by another.