2.1 Australia's international merchandise trade statistics record goods which add to, or subtract from, the stock of material resources of Australia by entering (imports) or leaving (exports) its territory. Goods are 'physical, produced objects for which a demand exists, over which ownership rights can be established and whose ownership can be transferred from one institutional unit to another by engaging in transactions on markets' (2008 SNA, paragraph 6.15).
2.2 Goods simply transported through Australia (goods in transit) and goods entering or leaving Australia on a temporary basis, e.g. for repair or for exhibition, do not add to or subtract from Australia's stock of material resources and are not included in Australia's international merchandise trade. Where such goods are entered on an import or export declaration they are included in Australia's international non-merchandise trade.
2.3 This section explains the categories of goods included in, or excluded from, Australia's international merchandise trade statistics. A detailed explanation of Australia's treatment of unusual or complex transactions and other situations where the practical treatment is based upon available information is included at the end of this section.
2.4 In international merchandise trade statistics, the objective is to record goods which add to or subtract from a country's stock of material resources by entering or leaving its economic territory. Australia's economic territory is the geographic area under the effective economic control of the government. This includes:
- land area, airspace, territorial waters and continental shelf lying in international waters over which Australia enjoys exclusive rights or over which it has, or claims to have jurisdiction over fishing rights and rights to fuels or minerals
- any islands belonging to Australia which are subject to the same fiscal and monetary authorities as the mainland, including Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Island, Heard Island, McDonald Islands, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Coral Sea Islands and the Australian Antarctic Territory
- Australia's territorial enclaves in the rest of the world including embassies or consulates, military bases, scientific stations etc., but not the territorial enclaves used by foreign governments which are physically located within Australia.