I. Composition of country groups
North America: Canada, United States of
America, and territories in North America n.e.s.
Latin America: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina,
Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa
Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador,
Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico,
Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts
and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname,
Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela and other countries and
territories in Latin America n.e.s.
Western Europe: Austria, Belgium, Denmark,
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy,
Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal,
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Croatia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia,
Yugoslavia (the last five countries mentioned comprise the former
Yugoslavia), and territories in Western Europe n.e.s.
Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltic States and
the Commonwealth of Independent States (transition economies), of
which Central and Eastern Europe: Albania, Bulgaria, Czech
Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic; the
Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; and the
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Repubic, Republic of Moldova,
Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
The grouping former USSR refers to the Baltic States and the
Africa, of which North Africa: Algeria,
Egypt, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco and Tunisia; and Sub-Saharan
Africa comprising: Western Africa: Benin, Burkina
Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea,
Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal,
Sierra Leone and Togo; Central Africa: Burundi,
Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, and Sao Tome and
Principe; Eastern Africa: Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea,
Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan,
United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda; and Southern Africa: Angola,
Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa,
Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and territories in Africa n.e.s.
The Middle East: Bahrain, Cyprus, Iraq, Islamic
Republic of Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi
Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and other
countries and territories in the Middle East n.e.s.
Asia, of which West Asia: Afghanistan,
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka;
and East Asia (including Oceania): Australia; Brunei
Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Fiji; Hong Kong Special Administrative
Region of China (Hong Kong, China); Indonesia; Japan; Kiribati; Lao
People's Democratic Republic; Macau, China; Malaysia; Mongolia;
Myanmar; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Republic of
Korea; Samoa; Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and
Matsu (Taipei, Chinese); Singapore; Solomon Islands; Thailand; Tonga;
Tuvalu; Vanuatu; Viet Nam and other countries and territories in Asia
and the Pacific n.e.s.
2. Regional integration agreements
ANDEAN: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and
APEC: Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada;
Chile; China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea;
Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Philippines;
Russian Federation; Singapore; Taipei, Chinese; Thailand; United
States of America and Viet Nam.
ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia,
Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.
CEFTA: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland,
Romania, Slovenia and the Slovak Republic.
EUROPEAN UNION: Austria, Belgium, Denmark,
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,
Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
MERCOSUR: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and
NAFTA: Canada, Mexico and the United States of
SAPTA: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives,
Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
3. Other country groups
Least-developed countries: Afghanistan, Angola,
Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape
Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of
the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia,
Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic
Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali,
Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome
and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan,
Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen and
Six East Asian traders: Hong Kong, China;
Malaysia; Republic of Korea; Singapore; Taipei, Chinese and Thailand.
The designations used in this report do not imply
an expression of opinion by the Secretariat concerning either the
status of any country, territory or area, or the delimitation of its
4. Political boundaries
Changes in political boundaries since 1991
involving the former Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, the former
Yugoslavia and the former USSR are reflected in this report, as far as
available statistics permit. This means that, beginning with 1992,
data for these former entities are no longer given. This information
is replaced with data for their successor states. In the case of the
successor states to the former Czech and Slovak Federal Republic and
the former Yugoslavia, the statistics include their mutual trade. In
the case of the successor states of the former USSR, the absence of
detailed merchandise trade statistics for most of them has ruled out
the inclusion of their mutual trade at the disaggregated product
level, as well as, for comparability reason, at the aggregate level.
However, recent improvements in data collection have meant that mutual
trade between the successor states of the former USSR has been
included systematically in the tables, starting with data for 1996.
The effects on the continuity of the data series are explained in
Section III.2 below.
Definitions and methods
II.1 Merchandise trade
1. Exports and imports
Two systems of recording merchandise exports and
imports are in common use. They are referred to as general trade
and special trade and differ mainly in the way warehoused and
re-exported goods are treated. General trade figures are larger than
the corresponding special trade figures because the latter exclude
certain trade flows, such as goods shipped through bonded warehouses.
Unless otherwise noted, total merchandise trade is
defined in this report according to the general trade definition. It
covers all types of inward and outward movement of goods through a
country or territory including movements through customs warehouses
and free zones. For further explanations, see United Nations International
Trade Statistics, Concepts and Definitions, Series M, N°
52, Revision 2.
Unless otherwise indicated, exports are valued at
transaction value, including the cost of transportation and insurance
to bring the merchandise to the frontier of the exporting country or
territory (f.o.b. valuation). Imports are valued at transaction value
plus the cost of transportation and insurance to the frontier of the
importing country or territory (c.i.f. valuation).
All product groups are defined according to
Revision 3 of the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC).
The following groupings are used in this report:
A. Primary products
(i) Agricultural products
- Food: food and live animals; beverages and
tobacco; animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes; oilseeds and
oleaginous fruit (SITC sections 0, 1, 4 and division 22).
- Raw materials: hides, skins and furskins,
raw; crude rubber (including synthetic and reclaimed); cork and wood;
pulp and waste paper; textile fibres and their wastes; crude animal
and vegetable materials, n.e.s. (SITC divisions 21, 23, 24, 25, 26,
(ii) Mining products
- Ores and other minerals: crude fertilizers
(other than those classified in chemicals) and crude minerals;
metalliferous ores and metal scrap (SITC divisions 27, 28).
- Fuels: (SITC section 3).
- Non-ferrous metals: (SITC division 68).
B. Manufactures: (SITC sections 5, 6, 7, 8
minus division 68 and group 891)
(i) Iron and steel: (SITC division 67).
(ii) Chemicals: organic chemicals (SITC
division 51); plastics (SITC divisions 57, 58); inorganic chemicals (SITC
division 52); pharmaceuticals (SITC division 54); other chemicals (SITC
divisions 53, 55, 56, 59).
(iii) Other semi-manufactures: leather, leather
manufactures, n.e.s., and dressed furskins; rubber manufactures, n.e.s.;
cork and wood manufactures (excluding furniture); paper, paperboard
and articles of paper pulp, of paper or of paperboard; non-metallic
mineral manufactures, n.e.s.; manufactures of metals, n.e.s. (SITC
divisions 61, 62, 63, 64, 66, 69).
(iv) Machinery and transport equipment: power
generating machinery; other non-electrical machinery; office machines
and telecommunications equipment; electrical machinery and apparatus;
automotive products; other transport equipment (SITC section 7).
- Power generating machinery: power
generating machinery and equipment minus internal combustion piston
engines, and parts thereof, n.e.s. (SITC division 71 minus group 713).
- Other non-electrical machinery: machinery
specialized for particular industries; metalworking machinery; general
industrial machinery and equipment, n.e.s., and machine parts, n.e.s.
(SITC divisions 72, 73, 74).
- Office machines and telecommunications
equipment: office machines and automatic data processing machines;
telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and
equipment; thermionic, cold cathode or photo-cathode valves and tubes
(SITC divisions 75, 76 and group 776).
- Electrical machinery and apparatus:
electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, n.e.s., and electrical
parts thereof; minus thermionic, cold cathode or photo-cathode valves
and tubes; minus electrical equipment, n.e.s., for internal combustion
engines and vehicles, and parts thereof (SITC division 77 minus group
776 and subgroup 7783).
- Automotive products: motor cars and other
motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons
(other than public transport type vehicles) including station wagons
and racing cars; motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special
purpose motor vehicles; road motor vehicles, n.e.s.; parts and
accessories of motor vehicles and tractors; internal combustion piston
engines for vehicles listed above; electrical equipment, n.e.s., for
internal combustion engines and vehicles, and parts thereof (SITC
groups 781, 782, 783, 784, and subgroups 7132, 7783).
- Other transport equipment: other transport
equipment (railway vehicles, aircraft, spacecraft, ships and boats,
and associated parts and equipment); motorcycles and cycles, motorized
and non-motorized; trailers and semi-trailers, other vehicles (not
mechanically propelled), and specially designed and equipped transport
containers; internal combustion piston engines for aircraft, and parts
thereof, n.e.s.; internal combustion piston engines, marine
propulsion; internal combustion piston engines, n.e.s.; parts, n.e.s.,
for internal combustion piston engines listed above (SITC division 79,
groups 785, 786, and subgroups 7131, 7133, 7138, 7139).
(v) Textiles: (SITC division 65).
(vi) Clothing: (SITC division 84).
(vii) Other consumer goods: household articles,
travel goods, footwear, instruments and apparatus, photography,
optical goods, watches and clocks, and other manufactured articles,
n.e.s. (SITC divisions 81, 82, 83, 85, 87, 88, 89 excluding group 891,
arms and ammunition). Of which furniture (SITC division 82), travel
goods (SITC division 83), footwear (SITC division 85), and toys and
games (SITC group 894).
C. Other products: commodities and
transactions not classified elsewhere (including gold); arms and
ammunition (SITC section 9 and group 891).
Trade flowing through processing zones is not
systematically recorded in national trade statistics and can result in
significant under-recording of trade in certain goods. For example,
the exclusion of these flows from the statistics for Central American
and Caribbean countries has resulted in under-recording of their trade
in clothing. When included, practices for classifying the goods
involved also differ between countries. In recent years, however,
improvements in data collection have resulted in the inclusion of
processing trade for a number of countries including Costa Rica, Czech
Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco and the Ukraine. In all
but one of these countries, this has resulted in breaks in the
continuity of the data series. In the case of Mexico, trade flows
through the special manufacturing zone known as the "maquiladoras"
were previously excluded from official trade statistics, but reported
separately by the Banco de México. The Secretariat included these
flows in Mexico's exports and imports given their magnitude (ranging
from 29 to 40 per cent of combined trade during the 1990-2000 period).
These shipments have been included in Mexico's official trade
statistics since 1992.
4. World trade network
The world merchandise trade network by region and
product from which Appendix tables A2/A3 and A9/A10 are derived is
based on export data. The network is constructed in the following way:
First, total merchandise exports from each of the
seven regions are aggregated from country figures published by the
International Monetary Fund in International Financial Statistics,
other international organizations, and national statistical
authorities. They are supplemented by Secretariat estimates (see
Appendix table A5).
Next, the total merchandise exports of each region
are distributed by destination and then by product. The regional and
commodity breakdown is based on OECD, Monthly Statistics of Foreign
Trade; UNSD, Comtrade database, International Trade
Statistics Yearbook, and Monthly Bulletin of Statistics;
national statistics and Secretariat estimates.
During this process, the principal adjustments to
the figures are as follows:
(i) Exports of ships to the open registry countries
Panama and Liberia are re-allocated from each region's exports to
Latin America and Africa to "unspecified destinations" (a
category not shown separately).
(ii) Re-exports of Hong Kong, China are excluded.
This is because the magnitude of Hong Kong, China's re-exports (9.8
per cent of Asian total merchandise exports in 2000) would introduce a
significant element of double counting into the trade of the Asian
region since a large proportion of Hong Kong, China's re-exports are
goods of Chinese origin or have China as final destination.
(iii) China's exports are adjusted to approximate
their final destination.
(iv) Exports of military goods and non-monetary
gold, where known, are included. When they cannot be broken down by
destination, they are allocated to "unspecified
5. Merchandise trade of selected major traders
by product, region and major trading partner (Appendix tables A11
These tables are derived from the UNSD Comtrade
database. The figures in the tables for total merchandise trade
are not necessarily the same as those in Appendix tables A5 and A6
(see Section III.1 below). For trade by product, world totals include
shipments which have not been distinguished by origin or destination.
For trade by region and partner, world totals include goods which have
not been specified by product. The following adjustments have been
made to the figures:
(i) Exports of ships to the open registry countries
Panama and Liberia are re-allocated from each economy's exports to
Latin America and Africa to "unspecified destinations" (a
category not shown separately).
(ii) Merchandise trade of the European Union
(Appendix tables A14 to A18)
- part of Belgian imports included in
"other products" are re-allocated to "automotive
- French trade in military goods is included.
It is allocated to "other products" and
"unspecified origins and destinations".
- official supplementary estimates of intra-EU
exports and intra-EU imports beginning with 1993 that have not
been transmitted to UNSD by the statistical authorities of EU
member countries are included. For the United Kingdom,
supplementary estimates have been distributed by product using
national statistics. For other countries, whenever relevant, the
figures have been allocated to "other products".
- for the combined trade of EU member States
(Appendix table A14), intra-imports have been replaced by
intra-exports beginning with 1993 to partly compensate for the
observed under-reporting of intra-imports resulting from INTRASTAT
procedures (see Section III below).
Selection of each reporter's major trading partners
is based on a ranking of total trade (exports plus imports) of each
reporter with their trading partners in 2000 (member States of the EU
are counted as one trading partner).
6. Merchandise trade in balance of payments
Merchandise trade statistics together with other
basic statistical systems (such as industrial and transport
statistics) provide the foundation for the system of national accounts
(SNA) and the balance of payments (BOP). Merchandise trade statistics
are basic to the compilation of the goods account in the balance of
payments as structured and defined in the fifth edition of the
International Monetary Fund's Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5).
Goods (merchandise) are defined in the SNA as
"physical 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". Thus, for the SNA and BOP statistics the recording of
transactions should be based on the change of ownership principle.
However, the compilation of international
merchandise trade statistics (ITS) is usually based on customs records
which essentially reflect the physical movement of goods across
borders, and follow international guidelines on concepts and
definitions which do not fully conform to the principles of the SNA
and the BPM5.
A number of adjustments have to be made to
international merchandise trade statistics before they match the
specific requirements of national accounts and balance of payments
statistics. For aggregate exports and imports these adjustments are
mainly related to coverage, the system of trade, and valuation.
With respect to coverage, the ITS in most instances
conforms with the BPM5. Differences remain for the following cases: (i) transactions
that represent services transactions (e.g. blueprints, videos, and
tapes) should be valued in ITS at the value of the material in which
they are incorporated, while under BPM5 these transactions should be
excluded from goods and included, at market value, in services; (ii) transactions
in which one or both national boundaries are not crossed (e.g.
trade in vessels and aircraft, exports of bunkers, etc.) are not
always included in ITS for practical reasons, whereas they are usually
included in BOP statistics; (iii) goods under the improvement and
repair trade regime should be excluded from ITS, but they are to
be included at the value of the repair under the BPM5.
Concerning the system of trade, the ITS guidelines
outline the measurement of trade flows on the basis of (1) the special
trade system and (2) the general trade system. Under the special trade
system, the customs frontier is regarded as the statistical boundary
whereas, under the general system of trade, the national frontier is
regarded as the statistical boundary. The BPM5 stresses that
measurement for BOP compilation should be based on change of ownership
rather than on the general trade system or the special trade system.
The general trade system appears to be a better proxy for measuring
change of ownership because it provides broader coverage and the date
of change of ownership may be closer to the date goods cross the
national frontier than to the date goods clear through customs.
As far as valuation is concerned, the issue that
affects most data comparability concerns the point of valuation,
namely, whether goods are valued at the importer's border - that is at
the c.i.f. value - or at the f.o.b. value at the exporter's border.
ITS guidelines recommend the adoption of the c.i.f. valuation for
imports whereas BPM5 requires the f.o.b. valuation. Additional
adjustments may be made by BOP compilers to conform to the BPM5
requirement for a market price for valuing trade, processing trade,
and with respect to currency conversion.
Once adjusted, merchandise trade is recorded in the
goods category of the current account, along with services, income,
and current transfers. Therefore, within the balance of payments
framework transactions in both goods and services are harmonized and
provide for comparable statistical series, as in Table I.8. It is not
strictly speaking correct to aggregate the figures for commercial
services and merchandise shown elsewhere in this report.
It should be noted that some countries still apply
the concepts of the fourth edition of the Balance of Payments Manual,
and thus do not include goods for processing and goods procured in
port carriers in the goods account.
II.2 Trade in commercial services
1. Exports and imports
Exports (credits) and imports (debits) of
commercial services are derived from statistics on international
service transactions included in the balance of payments statistics,
in conformity with the concepts, definitions and classification of the
fourth (1977) or fifth (1993) edition of the IMF Balance of Payments
2. Definition of commercial services
In the fifth edition of the Balance of Payments
Manual, the current account is subdivided into goods,
services (including government services, n.i.e.), income
(investment income and compensation of employees), and current
transfers. The commercial services category in this report
is defined as being equal to services minus government
services, n.i.e. Commercial services is further sub-divided
into transport, travel, and other commercial services.
Transport covers all transportation services
(sea, air and other - including land, internal waterway, space and
pipeline) that are performed by residents of one economy for those of
another, and that involve the carriage of passengers, the movement of
goods (freight), rentals (charters) of carriers with crew, and related
supporting and auxiliary services.
Travel includes goods and services acquired by
personal travellers, for health, education or other purposes, and by
business travellers. Unlike other services, travel is not a specific
type of service, but an assortment of goods and services consumed by
travellers. The most common goods and services covered are lodging,
food and beverages, entertainment and transportation (within the
economy visited), gifts and souvenirs.
Other commercial services corresponds to the
following components defined in BPM5:
(i) communication services
(telecommunications, postal and courier services);
(ii) construction services;
(iii) insurance services;
(iv) financial services;
(v) computer and information services
(including news agency services);
(vi) royalties and licence fees, covering
payments and receipts for the use of intangible non-financial assets
and proprietary rights, such as patents, copyrights, trademarks,
industrial processes, and franchises;
(vii) other business services, comprising
trade related services, operational leasing (rentals), and
miscellaneous business, professional and technical services such as
legal, accounting, management consulting, public relations services,
advertising, market research and public opinion polling, research and
development services, architectural, engineering, and other technical
services, agricultural, mining and on-site processing; and
(viii) personal, cultural, and recreational
services including audiovisual services.
3. Coverage and comparability
Although in recent years the coverage and
comparability of services trade data have improved, recorded trade
figures still lack comparability across countries and are subject to
First, some countries do not collect statistics
for certain service categories. Second, some service
transactions are simply not registered. If central bank records are
used, situations where no financial intermediaries are employed are
not counted. In the case of surveys, the coverage of trading
establishments is often incomplete. A particularly serious problem is
that services transmitted electronically are frequently unregistered,
especially when the transactions take place within multinational
corporations. Third, statistics may be reported on a net rather
than on a gross basis, often as a result of compensation arrangements
such as in rail transport or in communication services. Fourth,
the alternate sources used for countries which are not members of the
IMF do not necessarily comply with the IMF concepts and definitions. Fifth,
misclassification of transactions may lead to an underestimation of
commercial services when service transactions are registered as
income, transfers or trade in merchandise rather than trade in
services or, conversely, to an overestimation of commercial services
when transactions pertaining to income, transfers or official
transactions are registered in the private service categories.
These distortions may be particularly significant
at the detailed level, i.e., for a detailed service category, or for
trade flows by origin and destination.
The implementation of BPM5 will result in an
improvement of country comparability over time. However, given that
these improvements are being made gradually, they also result in a
number of breaks in series. The borderline between goods and services,
as well as the borderlines between the components of commercial
services differ in BPM4 and BPM5. Examples of such differences are:
(i) most processing transactions are included under
goods on a gross basis in BPM5, while in BPM4 only the value of
the fees paid for processing are included in services;
(ii) goods procured in ports, such as fuels and
provisions, are included in goods in BPM5, and in services (transport)
(iii) in BPM4, insurance services are normally
measured by the net premiums defined as premiums less claims, while in
BPM5, insurance services reflects the "normal"
service charge, i.e. administrative services and part of the earnings;
the rest of the net premiums or the actual risk premiums is recorded
under current transfers or in the financial account in case of life
insurance; in addition, freight insurance is part of transport in
BPM4, and part of insurance services in BPM5; and
(iv) the expenditure of seasonal and border workers
is included in labour income in BPM4, and in travel in BPM5.
II.3 Other definitions and methods
1. Annual changes
Throughout this report, average annual percentage
changes are analogous to compound interest rates. In calculating the
average annual rate of change between 1990 and 2000, for example, data
for calendar year 1990 were taken as the beginning point, and data for
calendar year 2000 as the end point.
2. Commodity prices
Commodity price movements are primarily described
by indices largely based on spot market prices, and therefore exclude
transactions governed by longer-term contracts. Price indices for such
commodities as food, beverages, agricultural raw materials, minerals,
non-ferrous metals, fertilizers and crude petroleum are obtained from
IMF International Financial Statistics. Aggregates for all
primary commodities and for non-fuel primary commodities are
calculated using IMF weights.
3. Merchandise trade volume and unit value indices
The volume and unit value indices are taken from a
range of different international and national sources. The reported
volume and unit value indices may not always be available for the most
recent years or may differ in product coverage from the corresponding
value indices. For example, the indices reported by France exclude
electricity, military and railway equipment, electronics, analysing
and controlling instruments, shipbuilding and aeronautics, and machine
tools. Switzerland excludes jewellery, antiques, and precious metals
from its indices.
Aggregation of the indices to obtain a world total
is a two-tier process. First, export and import unit values are
adjusted to the extent possible for differences in coverage and, in
cases of missing data, completed with Secretariat estimates. They are
then aggregated to obtain regional totals. The volume index for each
region is obtained by dividing the respective trade value index for
each region by the corresponding regional unit value index.
Second, to obtain the total world merchandise
volume index, regional unit value indices are aggregated and the world
trade value is deflated by the world unit value index. Throughout the
aggregation process trade values of the previous year are used as
4. World production
Production of agriculture, mining and manufacturing
is defined according to major Divisions 1, 2 and 3 of the
International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC). World
production in these sectors is estimated by combining production
indices published by the FAO, IMF, OECD, UNIDO and UNSD. The world
index is derived through aggregation of the three sectors by using
value added shares in 1990 as weights.
5. World gross domestic product
World GDP growth is estimated as a weighted average
of economies' real GDP growth. The weights used are shares of
economies in 1990 world nominal GDP converted to dollars at market
The use of official exchange rates which are not
market-based for some major economies, together with the fluctuations
of the United States dollar vis-à-vis major currencies can have a
significant impact on the weighting pattern. The increasing use of
weights based on purchasing power parities (PPP) by other
international organizations is meant to attenuate
"anomalies" linked to these factors. In a period of widely
diverging growth rates among countries and regions, the choice of the
weighting pattern can have a marked influence on the global growth
estimate. For the 1990-2000 period, global growth estimates based on
PPP-weights indicate a significantly faster growth than estimates
using weights based on GDP data measured at market exchange rates.
This is because of differences in the two weighting patterns. Relative
to weights based on GDP at market exchange rates, PPP weights are low
for the transition economies - especially the successor States of
the former USSR with a poor growth record, and high for major
developing countries (in particular China) with above average growth.
Under the system of general trade adopted in this
report, re-exports are included in total merchandise trade (see
Section II.1). However, in the case of Hong Kong, China, the magnitude
of its re-exports (amounting in 2000 to $179 billion), if included in
regional or world aggregates, would adversely affect the analytical
value of the statistics by introducing a significant element of double
counting. Therefore, Hong Kong, China's re-exports are excluded from
the world and from Asia aggregates (unless otherwise indicated); only
Hong Kong, China's domestic exports and retained imports are included
in the totals. For this reason, the figures for world exports and for
exports of Asia shown in Appendix tables A2/A3 and A9/A10 are smaller
than those in Appendix table A5. Since retained imports cannot be
identified from imports directly, an approximation is derived by
subtracting the value of re-exports from the value of imports. The
resulting figure will, however, under-estimate the value of retained
imports by the amount of the re-export margin.
III. Breaks in data continuity
1. Merchandise trade statistics of the European
The introduction of a new system for collecting
statistics on trade between the member States of the EU in January
1993 - INTRASTAT - which was briefly described in the GATT annual
report 1994, International Trade Trends and Statistics, has
affected EU merchandise trade statistics in a number of ways. The
system has resulted in the loss of continuity with pre-1993 trade
figures. Difficulties in implementing the new system have resulted in
reporting delays and numerous revisions in the figures. More
generally, the EU intra-trade statistics collected through INTRASTAT
are markedly less accurate than statistics collected under the
The coverage of the current system, which relies on
reports submitted by firms for transactions above a minimum value, is
not as wide as the previous one, which was based on customs
declarations. Estimates for non-response and exemptions from reporting
obligations are made by the statistical authorities of some member
States but these estimates cannot always be broken down by product,
and they most probably under-record the actual trade flows, so that
continuity with pre-1993 figures has been lost. In some cases, as
well, estimates of under-reporting have not been included in
submissions to the United Nations Statistical Division for inclusion
in the Comtrade database, which has also contributed to a
marked disruption in the continuity of the Secretariat's traditional
Prior to the adoption of the current system,
reported intra-EU imports (c.i.f.) closely matched reported intra-EU
exports (f.o.b.). From 1993, however, the reported value of intra-EU
imports has been on average around 6.5 per cent below the value of
intra-EU exports, indicating a substantial under-reporting of intra-EU
imports. Given the significance of this inconsistency, the Secretariat
has used intra-EU export data to adjust for the under-reporting of
intra-EU imports. However, this adjustment could not be allocated
between EU member countries. As a result, the sum of reported
imports of individual EU members does not add to the figure for EU
imports as a whole (see, for example, Appendix Table A6). This
adjustment is also reflected in the volume estimates for the EU as a
Due to reporting delays to UNSD, the latest
merchandise trade statistics for all EU member States were not
available at the time the world trade network by region and product
was prepared. As a result, the Secretariat has had to partly estimate
the 2000 product breakdown of the EU.
The EU accounts for some 35 per cent of world
merchandise trade. It is also the major market for the exports of
Africa, the Middle East and the CIS - all regions for which detailed
trade statistics are scarce. EU trade statistics, both for EU member
countries and for trade with these partner countries, therefore play a
key rôle in global trade statistics and are of particular importance
in the construction of the world trade network by region and product.
Reporting delays and the decline in the reliability of EU intra-trade
statistics have resulted in an increase in the margin of error in the
Secretariat's trade estimates.
Due to a change in the definition of the
statistical territory, the merchandise trade statistics of France
include trade of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Reunion
beginning with 1996.
2. Merchandise trade of Central and Eastern Europe,
the Baltic States and the CIS
Beginning in 1990, trade data for Bulgaria and the
former USSR were converted into dollars at official, market-oriented
exchange rates, replacing the earlier practice of using implicit
conversion factors. This created breaks in continuity in the
corresponding time series between 1989 and 1990. Valuation problems
are discussed in more detail in Box 1 in Volume I of International
Trade 1990-91 and in Box 2 in Volume I of International Trade
Figures for the Czech Republic and the Slovak
Republic include trade between these two countries. As regards the
Baltic States and the CIS, trade figures cover their mutual exchanges
starting with 1996. Total merchandise exchanges among these countries
amounted to some $36 billion in 1998, $29 billion in 1999, and $38
billion in 2000. The inclusion of the mutual trade has therefore
resulted in substantial breaks in the continuity of the trade series
at the country and regional levels between 1995 and 1996.
The political and economic upheavals in the region
caused disruptions in statistical reporting systems. Although some
countries improved or adapted their systems, detailed trade statistics
are still not available for many country/periods (except for the
Russian Federation). As a result, the Secretariat has estimated their
trade largely on the basis of the statistics of their trading
The implementation of internationally agreed
concepts and definitions for collecting merchandise trade statistics
will result in an improvement of country comparability over time.
However, given that these improvements are being made gradually, they
also result in a number of breaks in series. Breaks in the continuity
in the trade figures were identified for the following countries: for
the Czech Republic between 1992 and 1993 due to the inclusion of
shipments through processing zones, and between 1998 and 1999 due to
the exclusion of aircrafts and ships movements through inward
processing zones, as well as the exclusion of temporary exports and
imports; for Hungary between 1995 and 1996 due to the inclusion of
shipments through processing zones; for Estonia between 1998 and 1999
due the change from the general to the special system of trade; for
Lithuania between 1994 and 1995 due to the change from the special to
the general system of trade; for Ukraine between 1994 and 1995 due to
a change in data collection procedures and the inclusion of shipments
through processing zones ; for the Slovak Republic between 1996 and
1997, and for Poland between 1997 and 1998 due to the introduction of
new arrangements in customs procedures to harmonize with the standards
of the European Union.
Considerable uncertainty remains about the accuracy
of the foreign trade statistics of the Russian Federation, especially
as regards imports. A large proportion of the reported data on imports
consists of official estimates of inflows of goods which enter the
country without being registered by the customs authorities. Such
adjustments to import data accounted for 27, 26 and 25 per cent of the
officially reported totals in 1998, 1999, and 2000 respectively; on
the export side, such adjustments accounted for about 5, 4 and 2 per
IV. Statistical sources
Most frequently used sources for statistics are:
EUROSTAT, External and Intra-European Union
FAO, Production Yearbook
FAO, Trade Yearbook
IMF, Balance of Payments Statistics
IMF, International Financial Statistics
IMF, World Economic Outlook
OECD, Main Economic Indicators
OECD, National Accounts
OECD, Monthly Statistics of Foreign Trade
OECD/IEA, Energy Prices & Taxes
UNECE, Economic Survey of Europe
UNIDO, National Accounts Statistics Database
UNSD, Comtrade database
UNSD, International Trade Statistics Yearbook
UNSD, Monthly Bulletin of Statistics
World Bank, World Development Indicators
World Bank, World Tables
These sources are supplemented by national
publications and Secretariat estimates.
The merchandise trade statistics in this report are
largely derived from two sources. Figures for total merchandise trade
are derived from IMF, International Financial Statistics. Data
on merchandise trade by origin, destination and product come mainly
from the UNSD Comtrade database. Some inconsistencies in the
aggregate export and import data for the same country or territory
between the two sources are inevitable. These can be attributed to the
use of different systems of recording trade, to the way in which IMF
and UNSD have converted data expressed in national currencies into
dollars, and revisions which can be more readily incorporated in the
Statistics on trade in commercial services are mainly drawn from
the IMF Balance of Payments Statistics. For countries that do
not report to the IMF (e.g., Hong Kong, China; Macau, China; and
Taipei, Chinese) data are drawn from national sources. Estimations for
missing data are mainly based on national statistics. Statistics on
trade in commercial services by origin and destinations (Tables III.6
and III.7) are also derived from national statistics.
Acknowledgements are due to the Food and Agriculture Organization,
the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Development, the Statistical Office of the European
Communities, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the
United Nations Statistics Division, the United Nations Industrial
Development Organization and the World Bank whose assistance in
supplying advance copies of their publications as well as other
information has greatly facilitated the work of the Secretariat.
Acknowledgements are also due to national institutions for providing
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