3.2 There are two internationally recognised systems for compiling international merchandise trade statistics: the general trade system and the special trade system. The difference between them lies mainly in the way goods passing through the DIBP warehouses (or 'customs free zones') are treated. The alternative systems give rise to differences in the timing of recording trade flows.
THE GENERAL TRADE SYSTEM
3.3 The general trade system used by the ABS records the movement of goods as they enter or leave the country. Under this system, imports comprise goods entered directly for home consumption, including re-imports, together with goods imported into DIBP warehouses. Exports include all goods moving out of the country and comprise both domestic goods and re-exports of foreign goods.
3.4 Re-imports are goods originally exported, which are subsequently imported in either the same condition in which they were exported, or after undergoing repair or minor operation which leaves them essentially unchanged. Minor operations include blending, packaging, bottling, cleaning and sorting.
3.5 Re-exports are goods originally imported, which are exported in either the same condition in which they were imported, or after undergoing repair or minor alterations which leave them essentially unchanged. Re-exports are not considered the production or manufacture of the country which originally imported the goods. Minor operations include blending, packaging, bottling, cleaning and sorting.
3.6 In Australia's international merchandise trade statistics, re-imports are identified as the data item where country of origin is recorded as Australia and re-exports are identified with a state of origin of re-exports.
THE SPECIAL TRADE SYSTEM
3.7 The special trade system records the clearance of goods by the DIBP authorities. Imports are recorded at the point when the goods are cleared for home consumption. Under this system, imports comprise goods entered directly for home consumption, together with goods cleared from the DIBP warehouses. Exports include all goods exported and comprise both domestic goods and re-exports of foreign goods.
3.8 The special trade system is used by the European Union and Indonesia. An Australian export to a warehouse in the European Union is not declared as an import until the imported goods are released for free circulation or consumption. Goods exported to Indonesia's Batam Island bonded processing zone are not recorded as Indonesian imports unless the goods are released for use in the rest of Indonesia. A number of other countries have established similar processing zones.
3.9 Australia's international merchandise import statistics are available on the special trade basis if statistics are required on imports entering the statistical territory for home consumption. These are called import clearances (see paragraph 10.22 in Data Dimensions). While there are some instances where a valid export declaration is required to be submitted before goods for export can be released from a DIBP warehouse, Australia does not separately compile or publish statistics about these movements.