Liberalising trade in services should promote growth in services delivery in ASEAN. Statistics on International Trade in Services (SITS) are needed to monitor the impact of the AEC policies on international trade in services. SITS data are now compiled annually in all ASEAN Member States (AMS), with ASEAN aggregates also compiled and published in ASEAN International Trade in Services 2005 – 2011 and also released in electronic form on the ASEANstats database. While this is a significant advance in recent years, the quality of SITS data varies widely across AMS.
Good quality statistics depend on the following good practices:
- SITS should be compiled in an adequate legal and institutional environment, with sufficient resources devoted to their elaboration;
- They should be built with professionalism, in total transparency and respecting ethical standards, such as the non-disclosure of confidential data;
- They should adopt sound methodologies, concepts and classifications;
- They should be based on accurate and reliable sources, with appropriate statistical techniques, adequate validation processes; and
- They should be accessible and delivered to the users with a frequency and timeliness that meets their needs.
Currently, AMS are at very different stages of statistical development. While all comply to a greater or lesser extent with these good practices, there are a number of improvements that still need to be made, including:
- A number of AMS can only devote limited resource to SITS compilation. There is also the added institutional requirement for good cooperation between the National Central Bank and the National Statistical Institute as SITS data can be a responsibility of either (and sometimes both) institutions.
- Legal and institutional environment. Some SITS compilers are not legally empowered to survey non-financial companies leading to poor bad response rates.
- Harmonisation of SITS compilation based on the new international standards. Countries are currently in the process of moving to the new international standards – the Balance of Payments Manual 6th Edition (BPM6) and the more detailed Manual of Statistics on International Trade in Services (MSITS2010). Until all countries have moved to the new standards, it is difficult for users to compare the performance of different countries and also difficult for ASEANstats to compile ASEAN aggregates.
- Comprehensiveness: available SITS data are not comprehensive. For example, while all AMS now compile SITS data and produce a breakdown by product, the level of detail varies widely among AMSs. Also, very few countries compile SITS data broken down by partner country or inward FATS data, which are key requirements of ASEAN Secretariat and other users of SITS data.
- SITS are often not publicly disseminated.
The previous EASCAB Programme has supported ASEAN Secretariat and the AMS in their improvement of SITS. The work of the COMPASS Project will build on the work undertaken in EASCAB and continue to advance the compilation and dissemination of SITS data in the region.
The COMPASS project will work with ASEANstats and the AMS to harmonise SITS compilation on the new international standards and expand the available SITS data to help monitor the effectiveness of the Blueprint, as well as meet the needs of ASEC and external users.
The support provided includes:
- Supporting the implementation of the ACSS committee’s objectives in the SITS field
- Facilitating the participation of AMSs/ ASEANstats to international meetings in the SITS field
- Regional training/ workshop on specific issues in the SITS field
- Technical assistance to ASEANstats on SITS production and dissemination
- Assistance in the data quality assessment on SITS
- National training/ workshop on specific issues in the SITS field
- Provision of technical assistance to Cambodia, Lao P.D.R., Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMVs) in the SITS field
- Provision of technical assistance to non CLMVs in the SITS field
- Facilitation of a study visit to a developed AMS for CLMVs in the SITS field
 Source: http://ASEANstats.asean.org/