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Regional Workshop on International Merchandise Trade Stati

Regional Workshop on International Merchandise Trade Statistics

Thursday 29 November, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) headquarters, Noumea, New-Caledonia

The first Regional Workshop on International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) is taking place in Noumea, New Caledonia this week. Organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the workshop comes in response to the strong need for reliable and timely IMTS data on the part of governments and other users.

The workshop will centre on discussions of regional-level issues. According to SPC Deputy Director-General Richard Mann, ‘The workshop provides attendees the opportunity to hear, to share and to learn from each other’s views and experiences. It’s also an opportunity to get an update on the United Nations International Merchandise Trade Statistics Manual 2010.’

Different users need different statistics covering a range of data sets of varying detail organised by country and commodity. A major challenge in compiling IMTS is to meet the needs of these various users. Customs services are the main source for the data on trade statistics, and in this workshop, customs officials will be able to assess user needs and see how their services can best assist statisticians to produce high-quality and timely statistics. The workshop aims to address areas that are of interest to both customs officials and trade statisticians, including concerns with respect to data sources, skills needed for the job, problems faced in the compilation of trade statistics and possible avenues for improving results.

In his welcoming speech, Deputy Director-General Mann noted that the high-level panel, which includes trade statisticians and customs officials from the Pacific Island countries and territories, SPC development partners, the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Statistics New Zealand, and resource persons from the United Nations Statistics Division, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Oceania Customs Organisation and SPC, presents a valuable opportunity for SPC member countries and the region as a whole to make progress in this important area.

Benefits expected from the workshop are:

adoption of international best practice, i.e. the World Customs Organization 2012 harmonised commodity description and coding system (HS 2012) and the United Nations International Merchandise Trade Statistics Manual 2010;
adoption of a standard methodology to compile IMTS in the Pacific;
production of more reliable and timely trade data available for inclusion in compilation of GDP and balance of payments figures, trade negotiations etc. and data that are more easily comparable between countries; and documentation on metadata in the form of an IMTS compilation guide.


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