International Merchandise Trade Statistics

Rationale

The monitoring of IMTS achievements carried out during the inception phase of the COMPASS project has led to the following observations:

The basic conditions of production/dissemination of IMTS data in ASEAN Member States (AMS) are satisfactory:

  • A majority of UNSD concepts and definitions is applied, with some difficulties for new trade indicators.
  • The cooperation between Statistical Offices, Customs Authority, National Banks and other institutions is generally effective.
  • Data are accessible, at least at aggregated level.
  • Detailed data are transmitted periodically to ASEANstats.

Nevertheless, several issues or gaps are faced in some AMS:

  • There is a lack of formal institutional arrangements between institutions, such as Memorandum of Understanding or Service level agreements. Technical working groups are not always effective.
  • Often, there is no transmission of detailed customs forms, due to confidentiality issues and/or lack of institutional agreements between Customs and statistical offices, leading to difficulties in the implementation of UN standards.
  • There is a lack of coverage, due to informal & border trade, mainly concentrated in the less developed member states, Cambodia, Lao P.D.R, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV).
  • A shortage in staff (number of staff, statistical skills) is noticed, generally in CLMV.
  • The collection process is sometimes resource consuming, due to limited share of electronic declarations, available from Customs, or manual data checking.
  • Some trade indicators (such as trade indices or new indicators requested in the revised IMTS2010 concepts and definitions), are not collected, not provided by Customs, or not produced due to lack of resources or IT tools.
  • In some AMS (mainly CLMV), there is a lack of adapted IT tools (for validation, dissemination or trade indices) and of equipment in some cases.
  • Data dissemination needs to be improved in several countries to meet all users needs.

Objectives

The previous EU programme has supported ASEAN Secretariat and the AMS in the improvement of IMTS. However, many training sessions and workshops are still needed during this project in order to raise awareness and concerns on the national and regional IMTS quality, and because more work is still to be done, particularly in CLMV.

Outputs

New activities are therefore proposed for this new project. They generally build on the process initiated in the previous programme and on the need to adapt existing systems to new requirements introduced in IMTS as well as in related domains (Balance of Payments and National Accounts). This includes:

  • Facilitating the participation of AMSs/ ASEANstats to international meetings in the IMTS field
  • Regional training/ workshop on specific issues in the IMTS field
  • Facilitating/running sub-regional workshops in the IMTS field
  • Technical assistance to ASEANstats on IMTS production and dissemination
  • Assistance in the data quality assessment on IMTS
  • Provision of technical assistance to non CLMVs in the IMTS field
  • National trainings/ workshops in IMTS for CLMVs
  • Provision of technical assistance to CLMVs in the IMTS field
  • Facilitation of a study visit to a developed AMS for CLMVs in the IMTS field

Acivities Implemented

Manila, Philippine (10/04/2015-16/04/2015) – International Seminar in Trade in Goods and Statistics

Siem Reap, Cambodia (10/03/2015-12/03/2015) – COMPASS Subregional Workshop on IMTS from CLMV Customs and NSO Officers

Hanoi, Viet Nam (3/3/2015) – COMPASS IT Procurement Mission

New Delhi, India (3/11/2014-06/11/2015) – COMPASS Supported Participation to UNSD Seminar