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Frequently Asked Questions

If you are looking for the definition of a word or an expression you have seen in Trade Map, please see the glossary.




    • Which units of quantity are used in Trade Map?

      The mostly used quantity unit in Trade Map is the metric ton (1,000 kilograms (kg), i.e. about 2,204.6 pounds (lb)). A few products, like electrical power, by nature cannot be expressed in tons. Some countries do not always report their quantities in weight (kilograms or tons). This is why Trade Map offers the following units:
      • kilometres
      • Thousands of square metres
      • Cubic metres
      • Megawatt hours
      • Units
      • Pairs
      • Dozens
      • Thousand units
      • Million units
      • Number of packs
      • Carats
      To analyze trade better, on the top of weight some countries report a second quantity unit. In this case, quantities expressed in this secondary unit can be found in Trade Map by choosing a "Time series" table showing "Quantities" not expressed in "Primary unit" but in "Supplementary unit" instead.

    • Where can I find statistics by port of entry or by mode of transport?

      International trade statistics by port of entry or by mode of transportation are not available in Trade Map. This information may be available for a fee on Internet for a few countries. We advise you to contact the customs services of the country for which you want to obtain this data.

    • Where can I find international trade analysis?

      International trade analysis and other research papers are available on the International Trade Centre (ITC) website:
      Recent analysis are available on the "Market analysis studies" page.
      Studies by sector are also available.
      You will find a complete catalogue of ITC publications on our electronic library page.

    • Where can I find international trade historical statistics (before 2001)?

      Trade Map provides international trade data as of year 2001. Data for previous years are available in UN Comtrade.

    • How can I download Trade Map data?

      You can download any table displayed on Trade Map.
      To download a table, click on the Excel, Word of Text icon located on the above left side of the table.
      To download a graph or a map displayed on the screen, click on the floppy disk icon located on the above left side of the graph or the map.
      However it is not possible to download large volumes of data with Trade Map (e.g. all the trade of a country for all the products and to all the countries in the world). You can download large volumes of data from UN Comtrade.

    • I have found a trade value but not the corresponding quantity. Why?

      Several reasons can explain this:
      • At the 2-digit level of the Harmonized System (HS) quantities are not available in the UN Comtrade database, which is one of the main sources of Trade Map.
      • If the quantity unit is "Mixed", this means that the country which reported this data has used several quantity units. It might be useful to look at the data detailed by partner country, at a more precise level of detail of product or to look at monthly data.
      • A country can sometimes reports its trade value without reporting quantities. In this case Trade Map displays "No quantity".
      • Quantities displayed in Trade Map are rounded to the closest unit. For instance, 2.1 tons will be shown as 2 tons. Consequently quantites equal to 0 can be found when the reported quantity is less than 0.5. This is particularly true when the trade value is low (i.e. less than 10,000 US$). In this case it might be useful to look at the quantities expressed in their supplementary unit.
      • If a trade value equals 0 the corresponding quantity systematically equals 0 too.

    • Where can I find other trade statistics databases?

      Other trade statistics data are available in the following websites:
      UN Comtrade:
      World Trade Atlas:
      United States International Trade Commission:
      Integrated Trade Intelligence Portal (World Trade Organization):
      FAO Stat:
      World Bank WITS:

    • Why is not possible to download data from some countries in excel format?

      Trade Map is collecting data from various sources for a large number of countries.
      Depending on the source of data, we sometimes have to implement extra measures in order to protect the data provided by the country’s authorities.
      For this purpose, the download buttons have been deactivated for some countries with specific dissemination policies.

    • How can I perform a bulk download?

      The tools have been designed to render results on specific queries and not for downloading large dataset.
      Given the differing dissemination policies of our data providers, we offer a secure API (Application Programming Interface) only in very specific circumstances.
      Should you need a large dataset, we invite you to visit UN Comtrade at:


    • What are the sources of the data for Trade Map?

      The yearly data in Trade Map for products at 2, 4, and 6-digit level of the Harmonized System are mainly based on UN Comtrade, the world's largest database of trade statistics, maintained by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD). This data is complemented by national sources when the information is not available in UN Comtrade. The quarterly and monthly data come from national and regional sources.
      A footnote shows the source used in the displayed table.
      Data are available also for countries that do not report their national trade statistics to UN Comtrade. The trade of these countries has been reconstructed on the basis of data reported by partner countries. These data are called mirror data (see also the glossary about mirror data).

    • When is the Trade Map data updated?

      In general, monthly trade data is available in Trade Map within one week after receiving the data.
      Some countries provide the data to ITC on a monthly basis, others on a quarterly basis or on a biannual basis.
      The average gap between the month received and the actual month is 3-4 months.
      Updates are announced at:
      To check trade data availability, please visit:
      To check company data availability, please visit:

      Type of Data Update
      Annual data at 6 digit level of the HS All year round, as we receive the data
      Annual data at the tariff line level All year round, as we receive the data
      Monthly and Quarterly data All year round, as we receive the data
      Indicators (Trends) Four times a year (January, April, July, October)
      Trade in services Four times a year (January, April, July, October)
      Tariffs Three times a year

    • Why is there a difference between reported export value and the corresponding mirror data of the partner country?

      Export statistics rarely line up exactly with the import statistics of partner countries.

      More than 30 reasons have been identified. The main reasons include:
      • Trade systems: some countries use the special trade system (which excludes trade made in free zones), some others use the general trade system (which includes free zones).
      • Quantity measurement: some countries report gross weights and some others report net weights.
      • Time lag: discrepancies may result if exports are registered in one year and the corresponding imports in the following year.
      • Misallocation of a partner country or a product can occur for a reporting country. This only affects bilateral trade or respectively detailed product levels, not the overall trade.
      • Country confidentiality (recorded as "Area Nes", see the glossary about Area Nes) may have a direct impact on the overall discrepancies if the value of that flow is published in the total trade but not broken down by partner. Product confidentiality affects the results at detailed levels of the commodity nomenclature but have no impact, however, on the overall mutual trade statistics.
      • Re-exports (see the glossary about Re-exports) or transit may be taken into account by some countries. The United Nations recommendations state, among other things, that:
        • import statistics should be compiled by country of origin (recommendation 8.02),
        • export statistics should be compiled by last known destination (recommendation 8.09),
        • goods in transit should be excluded from trade statistics (recommendation 13.04). However the exporting country does not always know the final destination of the product. Furthermore the country of origin is neither the country that have re-exported the product nor the country where the product has transited;
      • Transportation and insurance costs are included in the reported import value (CIF: Cost Insurance Freight) but are excluded from the reported export value (FOB: Free On Board).

      FOB: A trade term (Incoterm) meaning Free on Board (port of shipment). See for more details.
      CIF: A trade term (Incoterm) meaning Cost, Insurance and Freight (port of destination). See for more details.
      According to international standards, exports are valued FOB and imports are valued CIF. Some countries, however, do not follow this system. You may want to check on the UN Comtrade website
      In addition, as far as we know, there is no modeling for converting FOB values in CIF and vice-versa.

      All these reasons refer to each country's methodology of data compilation. The United Nations have made recommendations in "International Merchandise Trade Statistics: Concepts and Definitions" and the "Compilers Manual". To know to which extend a particular country comply with UN recommendation, please visit the International Merchandise Trade Statistics National Compilation and Reporting Practices page of the UNSD website.

    • How are the 5-year growth trend indicators calculated in Trade Map?

      The 5-year growth trend indicators in Trade Map are calculated using the logarithmic least-squares trend method on series valued in current US$. They are updated four times a year (January, April, July, October) a year. The first update with data of the previous year is done in April.

      If a country does not report trade data for the last year, the trend calculation is based on mirror data.

      No trend is calculated if the reporting country data is not available for at least a four-year period except if the first and last year are available. In this case a geometric average growth rate is computed.

      The least-squares trend is a commonly used growth indicator. It has the following advantages:
      • It takes into account each of the observations under consideration, unlike geometric (or compound) growth rates, which only consider the first and last observations.
      • It measures the stability of observed growth (not provided in Trade Map).

      On the negative side, the least-squares growth trend is sensitive to extreme (or outlying) values. Such values may distort the results.

    • What is the difference between the Trade Indicators and the Time Series data?

      Trade indicators are available for the latest year when reporting countries cover at least 80% of the world trade. They are pre-calculated and therefore, it is possible to have in the same table indicators on country performance, on partner countries and on world trend (e.g. growth trends in values and quantities over 5 years and over the last 2 years, trade balance for a country, market share of the country in global exports or imports, share of a partner country in the exports or imports of the country under consideration).

      Trade indicators are based on products classified according to the Harmonized System (HS) revision 4 of 2012. Some product codes have been created, removed or reallocated in the HS revision 4. Therefore the analysis of such products codes should be approached with caution. When a product code is affected by an HS revision, a text put as a table header informs the user. A correspondence table for products that changed during HS revisions is available in Trade Map, under "Reference Material".

      Time Series show data over several years (to see how many years, go to the Data Availability page). The table can be displayed in values and quantities. It is also possible to calculate on line growth rates in value or in quantity, shares, unit values, growth rates in unit values and indexes in values, quantities or unit values. Data are provided by year, by quarter or by month. The selection can be done from the navigation menu above the table.

      The latest HS revision reported by the country for a given year is used for time series. You can read more about this in FAQ 2.g.

      Time series data allow one to refine the analysis conducted after looking at the trade indicators. The fluctuations in the data from one year to another can be large and not necessarily be reflected in the annual growth trend displayed in the table with trade indicators.

      Monthly data will help the user to identify seasonal patterns and the impact on trade flows of national or international events like currency devaluation or an economic or financial crisis.

    • What exchange rates are applied?

      The yearly data we receive from UN Comtrade are in US$. In general, quarterly and monthly data are collected in local currencies. The exchange rate used to convert the local currencies into US$ is a simple arithmetic mean of the daily intrerbank rates, provided by
      To display the data in different currencies in Trade Map, the exchange rate applied is a simple arithmetic mean of the daily intrabank rates, provided by

    • Which revision of the Harmonized System is used in Trade Map?

      The Harmonized System (HS) revision of 2017 is used for the trade indicators.
      For all time series data, the revision used is the latest revision reported by the country for a given year. This information is available from the UN Comtrade database on Go to "Metadata and Reference", then "Country list". Next to each country, click on the link "Data availability"; the years in grey are the data reported, the years in blue are the data converted.

    • Why is China an importing partner of China?

      China's imports from China are partially explained by normal re-import. Please see the glossary about re-import. The most important part is related to processing trade. More than 90% of China's imports from China are produced in China, exported to Hong Kong and then re-imported in China. 73% of products re-imported are used as inward processing materials and 70% are imported by the province of Guangdong. The main reasons that explain this trade are the geographic and logistic convenience of Guangdong with Hong Kong. Goods entering for processing trade are exempted from import duties. The business management of multinational enterprises and their distribution centers are often based in Hong Kong.

    • What should be taken into consideration when using foreign trade statistics as a basis for strategic market research?

      Foreign trade statistics are comprehensive in terms of product coverage (more than 5,000 products under the Harmonized System), geographical coverage (around 220 countries and territories; reported and mirror data cover 97% of world trade) and time series (data under the Harmonized System are available since 1988). Moreover, they are readily available at moderate costs. This makes them an attractive source for market research and the assessment of trade performance.

      Against this background, ITC has developed a number of tools for international marketing and trade promotion based on trade statistics. Trade Competitiveness Map (formerly known as Country Map), Trade Map, Market Access Map and Investment Map are all cases in point. All of these tools strive to present trade statistics in an analytical and user-friendly format.

      Notwithstanding the attractiveness of this comprehensive source of information, users should factor in the following weak points of foreign trade statistics:
      • Trade data are never complete: Smuggling and non-reporting represent a serious problem in a number of countries. In addition, trade statistics, like any source of information, are not free of mistakes and omissions.
      • Most countries include re-imports in their import statistics and re-exports in their export statistics. A low-income country may show up as an exporter of airplanes simply because its national airline has sold second-hand planes.
      • The export value refers to the total or contract value. According to international conventions for reporting trade statistics, the export value refers to the total or contract value, which may of course, be very different from local value-added. For many processing activities the local value added remains below 20% of the export value.
      • Different products are categorized differently. Even at the most detailed level of product classification, product groups in the trade nomenclatures do not necessarily reflect trade names and often contain a wide range of different products. For example few countries have tariff line product codes for organically produced produce. Moreover, the product nomenclature is sometimes misleading. The labels of aggregated product groups are often very general and provide at times only limited guidance on the leading items within the group of products concerned.
      • Exchange rate fluctuations are not always recorded. Exchange rate fluctuations are not always properly recorded in international trade statistics. Values are normally aggregated over the period of one year in local currency and converted into US dollars. In Trade Map, monthly trade data will help you to better analyze exchange rate fluctuations.
      • Mirror data is sometimes used. For countries that do not report trade data to the United Nations, ITC uses partner country data, an approach referred to as mirror data. You can read more about mirror data in the glossary.

    • Is the import value reported on a CIF or FOB basis?

      In Trade Map, data generally follow the international standards, i.e., exports are reported in Free On Board (FOB) terms whereas imports are reported in Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF). However, some countries do not follow this standard. Please refer to the country metadata by clicking on the red “i” appearing next to each country name and read the explanatory notes.
      For more details please visit our FAQ (bullet point 2-c) and

    • What is mirror data? Can I add mirror and direct data?

      Direct data are the bilateral trade flows reported by a country. Mirror data are the bilateral trade flows reported by this country’s trade partners. When a country does not provide trade data, Trade Map displays the mirror statistics which are usually in ORANGE. These mirror statistics substitute the missing direct statistics in this case. When direct and mirror statistics are available, we recommend comparing the two sources to understand differences (please visit our FAQ (bullet point 2-c) and Direct and mirror statistics of the same country should never be summed up.


    • How can I create an account to use Trade Map?

      You can either register on ITC’s web site or at

      Users located in developing countries can have a free and full access to ITC’s Market Analysis Tools Trade Map, Market Access Map, Investment Map, Standards Map and Procurement Map. Users located developed countries can access most information for free or subscribe to get full access. Subscription options and fees are available at

    • I have created an account but I cannot access Trade Map.

      The reasons for this can be the following:
      • You received an email from ITC asking you to confirm your email address by clicking on a link but you did not confirm. Hence, your account has not been activated. Please validate your account before contacting us at
      • You did not receive any confirmation email. Please check this email is not in your SPAM box. If after one or two days you still did not receive a message please contact our users support service at
      • Your password is case sensitive. Please type it the same way you created it (lower case letters or capital letters).
      If you still cannot access Trade Map, please send us the following information at
      • URL you used to log in
      • Username
      • Error message (if any)
      • Screenshot
      • Query you did
      • Browser used

    • How can I identify my product in the Harmonized System nomenclature?

      In the selection menu, the first drop-down list is where you can select your product. Type a keyword in this list to find your product. You can also type the 2, 4 or 6-digit code of your product if you know it.
      If you do not yet know the product name or code, you can use the "Advanced Search" module that helps you identify a product typing in keywords or browsing the Harmonized System nomenclature in the "Search by Hierarchy" tab. To learn more about this, please read the paragraph 2.2 of the user guide

      You can also register on the WCO website:

    • How can I find trade data at the tariff line level?

      When you select a product without having selected any country and submit the request (either with Trade Indicators or Time Series), you get a list of countries importing or exporting this product. You then need to click on the '+' sign to access data at a more disaggregated level. If the product code selected in the selection menu was at the 4 digit level, by clicking on the '+' sign, you will go to the 6 digit level and by clicking again on the '+' sign, you will reach the tariff line level. You can also click on the pull-down menu available in the navigation bar and select "product cluster at 10-digit"

      An alternative way to get tariff line level data is to click on the product code in the navigation bar.

      Additionally, you can click on the link 'Advanced search' in the selection menu: you then need to put one or more keywords, select ‘tariff line level’ and submit your query by clicking on 'Search'.

    • I entered a 6-digit product code in the selection menu and I cannot select the "Trade Indicators" button. Why?

      This is because the product code you selected does not exist in 2012 revision of the Harmonized System (HS). The product code in question might have been created during one of the previous revisions and then removed in the 2012 HS revision.
      When you type a product code or a keyword in the selection menu, do not forget to select the product proposed by Trade Map otherwise the buttons at the bottom of the page will not be activated.

    • How can I find data over several years when the product code has changed because of a revision of the Harmonized System?

      You need to find the corresponding codes in the other revisions of the Harmonized System (HS). To do so please go to the Correspondence table for product codes.

      For instance, if you select the imports of the product 010121 (Live horses : Pure-bred breeding animals), the table you arrive at indicates that the product code selected has been created in the 2012 HS revision. So the countries that are displayed are the ones that reported their trade for this product in the 2012 revision.

      By going to the "Reference Material" section in the "Correspondence table for product codes", you will see that in the 1996, 2002 or 2007 HS revision, you had three codes corresponding to 010121: 010110 (Pure-bred breeding horses and asses), 010111 (Horses, live pure-bred breeding) and 010120 (Asses, mules and hinnies, live).

      You can see this as well by staying in the table of imports of 010121 in time series and switching in the navigation bar to "by product" (instead of "by country") and switching to "Corresponding code with different revisions". The three product codes 010110, 010111 and 010120 will appear. By clicking on each respective product code, you will have the list of importing countries in time series.
      On the occasion of a revision, several product codes can be reallocated to a single product or, on the contrary, one product code can be reallocated to several product codes. Consequently it is not always possible to rebuild a precise time series when a product has been affected by a Harmonized System revision.

    • How can I create my own group of countries or my own group of products?

      If you are registered you can create your own groups of countries and your own groups of products from the "My Account" menu. Detailed explanations on how to create groups can be found in the user guide in paragraphs and
      You can create as many product groups and country groups as you want.
      Each group of products can contain a maximum of 100 products. All products within a group must have the same level of detail, i.e. the same number of digits in their code (2-digit or 4-digit or 6-digit product codes but no mix allowed).

    • How can I learn more on using Trade Map?

      Some videos about the navigation in Trade Map and the interpretation of figures are available on the Distance Learning Support page accessible from the Market analysis tools portal:

      A user guide is also available:


    • What is the coverage of company data?

      Company data cover most products for more than 133 countries. Companies you will find in Trade Map are those registered as importing or exporting companies in our sources, Kompass International and Dun and Bradstreet. As registration in the Kompass International database is done on a voluntary basis, the coverage of companies is therefore not comprehensive.
      To know which countries are covered and what kind of data is available, please visite the Trade Map company data availability page.

    • Which nomenclature is used in the Trade Map company data module?

      The product nomenclature depends on the company data provider. For companies information provided by Kompass the products traded by companies are recorded in a nomenclature defined by Kompass International. For companies information provided by Dun and Bradstreet, the products are recorded in the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC). We use a correspondence table between the Harmonized System (HS) nomenclature and the Kompass or SIC nomenclatures. Therefore, when entering the "Companies" module, you first obtain a list of products coming from the Kompass International or SIC nomenclatures.

    • Where can I find international trade data for a particular company?

      Data from the "Companies" Trade Map module, in particular the list of products traded by a particular company, are available from the selection menu (by clicking on the "Companies" button) or from a table (by clicking on the "Companies" tab). Please note that to activate the "Companies" button you must select at least one product, and one product only (do not select a group of products).

      Trade Map does not contain data that allows to identify the trade of a particular company (for instance with the exported value, the destination, etc.). Such data is only available from national specialized services (e.g. customs), under very limited conditions and for research purposes only. A few sites (Panjiva, Datamyne, etc.) offer more detailed information by company for a fee.

    • Can I add data about my company in Trade Map?

      At the moment it is not possible to add in Trade Map company data on an individual basis. We advise you to contact the official trade promotion organization in your country so that it submits your data to Trade Map.

    • I cannot access company data. Why?

      Mainly two reasons can explain this.
      • You are using the "light" version of Trade Map or you are using a restricted access account . We strongly encourage you to subscribe to Trade Map and the other ITC market analysis tools. Subscription is free for all users from developing countries. For users from developed countries, please see the subscription options and fees.
      • You did not select a product or you selected a product and/or a country for which no company data is available. In this case, instead of displaying a blank screen, Trade Map prevents the access to the "Companies" module. Please note that the "Companies" module is not accessible when you use product groups or country groups.

    • Is it possible to get bilateral data for companies?

      Company contact data are not available on a bilateral trade basis. Moreover, information on transporter of products, value, volume and destination or origin of products exported or imported by company are not available.


    • Which trade in services statistics are covered by Trade Map?

      International trade in services in Trade Map refers solely to services transactions between residents and non-residents, as collected according to the IMF's Balance of Payments Manual (BPM, see FAQ 5.b).

      Services transactions in the balance of payments broadly correspond to cross-border trade (Mode 1, as defined in the General Agreement on Trade in Services - GATS), one of the four different modes through which services are supplied worldwide (see FAQ 5.e). However, and contrary to trade in goods, services often ask for "proximity" between the consumer and the supplier.
      Therefore, the balance of payments, and consequently Trade Map, presents also trade in services data referring to consumption abroad (Mode2), commercial presence (Mode 3) and the delivery of services by foreign workers (known as movement of natural persons, Mode 4) as long as the resident to non-resident rule is applied.
      In the particular case of commercial presence, only the construction sector is covered by the Balance of Payment, while services provided by foreign workers are only recorded as part of a transaction involving other modes of supply.

      A benchmark definition of the term "residence" is provided by the Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services (MSITS, see FAQ 5.f), based on the concept of "economic territory" (MSITS 2002, para. 3.4) and "centre of economic interest" (MSITS 2002, para. 3.5).
      In general, a period of one-year in a foreign country is suggested as the minimum duration to determine residence, but this rule may be flexible.

    • Which nomenclature is used for the classification of trade in services statistics on Trade Map?

      Trade in services statistics on Trade Map are classified according to the framework set by the 6th edition of the Balance of Payment Manual (BPM6) and the Extended Balance of Payment on Services classification released in 2010 (EBOPS 2010).
      All definitions adopted by Trade Map for main sector categories and sub-categories derive from the BPM6 and the 2010 edition of Manual on International Trade Statistics (MSITS 2010).

      The Balance of Payments Manual (BPM)
      Historically the IMF has been in charge of standardizing on methods of accountancy for the Balance Of Payments (BOP). Most countries recorded services data according to the 5h edition of the Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5) released in 1993. BPM5 grouped services into 11 main categories.
      Trade Map data used to refer to this 5th edition of the Manual. The 6th edition of the Balance of Payments Manual (BPM6) has been published in 2009. In 2011, only Australia officially released data according to the BPM6 methodology. In 2015, more countries reported according to the BPM6 methodology. Besides the World Trade Organization (WTO) established a procedure to estimate BPM6 data. Therein, services are aggregated into 12 main categories split into several hierarchical levels: 2 new categories have been introduced ('Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others' and 'Maintenance and repair services'), Merchanting is now excluded from trade in services statistics and 'Communication services' and 'Computer and information services' have been merged into 1 category ('Telecommunications, computer and information services'). Other changes have also occurred in the allocation of detailed components in other sectors as well as different nomenclatures for services sectors have been applied (for more information see FAQ 5.j).

      The Extended Balance of Payments for Services (EBOPS)
      The Extended Balance of Payment for Services (EBOPS) represents a detailed segmentation, provided by the MSITS 2010, of the broad service categories identified within the BMP6 framework, defined as EBOPS 2010.
      Trade Map data for services detailed categories used to refer to the 2002 edition of the EBOPS classification (built on the BPM5 framework). It now refers to the EBOPS 2010 classification (built on the BPM6 framework). The definitions of its components are provided by the MSITS 2010.

      Related links & documents
      BPM5 - Balance of Payments Manual, fifth edition (Washington, D.C: IMF, 1993). The text can be found on the IMF's website:
      BPM6 - Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, sixth edition (Washington, D.C: IMF, 2009). The text can be found on the IMF's website:

      EBOPS 2002 (link to MSITS 2002, Annex II)
      EBOPS 2010 (link to MSITS 2010, Annex I) 2010 M86 (E) web.pdf

      MSITS 2002, MSITS 2010 in the 6 official languages of the United Nations and online annexes of the Manual:

    • What is the data-collection system for services transactions included in the balance of payments?

      Trade Map provides data collected within the balance of payments and, specifically, statistics referring to residents to non-residents transactions (see FAQ 5.a).
      This data can be retrieved by domestic banks and/or national statistic offices from one or more of the following sources:
      • International Transaction Reporting System (ITRS). In this case, international payments channelled through domestic banks are collected, generally, under the responsibility of the national central bank. Payments are used as a proxy of transactions.
      • Enterprise surveys. Generally, under the responsibility of the national statistic office.
      • Other complementary sources. It could be necessary to draw on supplementary data from migration, tourism, multinational companies (MNC) and labour market statistics, in order to provide detailed figures for Travel and Government services n.i.e. A typical area of interest for international trade in services relates to the data that may be maintained by governments on education and health services provided to or by non-residents (travel; personal, cultural and recreational services). Information obtained from partner countries is useful in order to validate and improve statistics of the compiling economy. Data from international organizations can be useful for aid recipient countries to compile data on technical assistance services.

      Related links & documents
      WTO (2010), Measuring Trade in Services- A training module (Chapter V):

    • What are the conventions applied to separate the value of goods from the cost of freights included in Transportation services?

      The cost for freight represents a controversial item that stands on the edge between Goods and Services trade. As many merchandised products include in their prices the value of freight services, it is worthwhile to clarify when freights expenses have to be considered as services in the BOP and when they do not.

      The following examples refer to the 6th edition of the IMF Balance of Payments Manual (BPM6, chapter 10, p. 165).
      A piece of equipment costs 10,000 units at the factory at which it was produced in Economy A. It costs 200 to transport it to the customs frontier of Economy A, 300 to transport it from the customs frontier of Economy A to the customs frontier of Economy B, where a customs duty of 50 is levied, and it costs 100 to deliver it from the customs frontier to the customer. (For simplicity, insurance of the equipment during transport is not covered in the example.)
      Under all contractual arrangements between the parties, the FOB value is 10,200 and the CIF value is 10,500. However, how the services are recorded depends on the arrangements for paying the transport costs and the residence of the transport provider. A few of the possible arrangements are discussed below:
      Example 1:
      The parties contract on an FOB basis (i.e., the invoice price is 10,200; the exporter is responsible for costs up to the frontier of A and the importer is responsible for subsequent costs). In this case, no rerouting needed. All freight is shown as being provided by the actual provider and payable by the actual invoiced party.
      Example 2:
      The parties contract on an “ex works” basis (i.e., the invoice price is 10,000; the buyer pays for transport from the seller’s premises).
      • The freight from the factory to the customs frontier of Economy A is provided by a resident of Economy A. The 200 payable, which is actually a service provided by a resident of Economy A and payable by a resident of Economy B, must be rerouted to be shown as a resident-to-resident transaction within A, as all costs up to the frontier of the exporting economy are treated as being payable by the exporter and included in the price of the goods.
      • The freight from the factory to the customs frontier of Economy A is provided by a resident of Economy B. The 200 payable, which is actually a domestic service transaction within Economy B, must be rerouted as being a service provided from B to A, as all costs up to the frontier of the exporting economy are treated as being payable by the exporter.

      Example 3:
      The parties contract on a CIF basis (i.e., the invoice price is 10,500). The 300 payable for freight from the customs frontier of Economy A to that of Economy B is rerouted, because the contract makes it payable by the exporter, but it is treated as payable by the importer in balance of payments statistics (i.e., following FOB valuation).As a result, if the freight provider is a resident of A, a domestic transaction within A is treated as being a balance of payments transaction. Conversely, if the freight provider is a resident of B, an international transaction is treated as being a domestic transaction within B.
      It is not normally possible to study every contract, so general patterns of freight cost arrangements need to be identified. When contract terms other than FOB are used, actual payment arrangements for freight may need adjustments to meet the FOB valuation convention.
      In all cases where apparently domestic transactions are rerouted to be recorded as international transactions, or vice versa, goods trade must be recorded on a consistent basis, so that the financial payment from B to A equals the sum of its goods and services imports, both before and after re-routing adjustments. (If the goods are recorded at FOB values, the adjustments to freight bring them into consistency with goods; if the goods are recorded at transaction values, the goods values need corresponding adjustments.) Rentals, charters, or operating leases of vessels, aircraft, freight cars, or other commercial vehicles with crews for the carriage of freight are included in freight services. Also included are towing and services related to the transport of oil platforms, floating cranes, and dredges. Financial leases of transport equipment are excluded from transport services (see paragraphs 5.56–5.59 and 10.17(f)).

    • What are the different Modes of supply included in Trade Map services statistics?

      Since services are not storable and have to be instantaneously consumed by the purchaser, the location of the supplier (consumer) in respect to the consumer (supplier) is a crucial feature of services trade. This led to the division of services flows by modes of supply. In particular, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), entered into force in 1995, identifies four modes of supply for the delivery of services:

      Mode 1: Cross-border
      A user in country A receives services from abroad through its telecommunications or postal infrastructure. Such supplies may include consultancy or market research reports, tele-medical advice, distance training, or architectural drawings.
      Statistical coverage:
      Trade Map covers Mode 1 through the balance of payments collection: transportation (most of), communications services, insurance services, financial services, royalties and license fees. Part of: computer and information services, other business services, and personal, cultural, and recreational services

      Mode 2: Consumption abroad
      Nationals of country A have moved abroad as tourists, students, or patients to consume the respective services.
      Statistical coverage:
      Trade Map covers Mode 2 through the balance of payments collection: travel (excluding goods bought by travellers); repairs to carriers in foreign ports (goods); part of transportation (supporting and auxiliary services to carriers in foreign ports)

      Mode 3: Commercial presence
      The service is provided within country A by a locally-established affiliate, subsidiary, or representative office of a foreign-owned and — controlled company (e.g.: bank, hotel group, construction company, etc.).
      Statistical coverage:
      • Trade Map covers Mode 3 through the balance of payments collection for part of construction services
      • Trade Map does not cover Foreign Affiliates Trade in Services Statistics (FATS) for any sector, see FAQ 5.h.

      Mode 4: Movement of natural persons
      A foreign national provides a service within country A as an independent supplier (e.g.: consultant, health worker) or employee of a service supplier (e.g. consultancy firm, hospital, construction company). For more information, see FAQ 5.i.
      Statistical coverage:
      • Trade Map covers Mode 4 through the balance of payments collection for part of computer and information services; other business services; personal, cultural and recreational services; and construction services.
      • Trade Map does not cover labour-related flows.
      • Trade Map does not cover Mode 4 through FATS (information related to foreign employment in foreign affiliates)
      You will find additional information concerning the statistical coverage of Mode 4 in the Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services (MSITS 2002, Annex I; MSITS 2010, Chapter II, E, 4).
      Table – Modes of supply

      Trade in services statistics showed in Trade Map, and recorded in the balance of payments (see FAQ 5.b), capture all or part of the transactions involving these four modes of supply (as long as the resident to non-resident rule is applied, see FAQ 5.a).
      However, it is not possible to allocate these services transactions to a specific mode of supply, because within a single services transaction different Modes are often involved.

      A doctor, providing advice on-line to a foreign patient (Mode 1), may request his client to travel for an appointment with him (Mode 2), or may simply decide to travel there temporarily to treat the patient (Mode 4).

      A lawyer working in a law enterprise travelling abroad, establishes a business link with a client (Mode 4 movement, but initially no economic transaction), which may lead to the future provision of advisory work online to the client (Mode 1), and the attraction of new clients who travel to consult the law enterprise (Mode 2).

      Related links & documents
      WTO visual presentation to modes of supply:

      WTO. Measuring Trade in Services- A training module (Annex V):

      MSITS 2002 (Chapter II, D, 4):

      MSITS 2010 (Chapter V , C, pp. 119-131):

    • Which other manuals can help me to understand the universe of trade in services statistics?

      The Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services (MSITS):
      This manual aims at building a coherent international framework for the creation of services trade statistics garnered from the BOP (see FAQ 5.b) and other sources (e.g.: Foreign Affiliates Trade in Services Statistics (FATS), Movement of Natural Persons Statistics, see FAQ 5.h and FAQ 5.i). The manual provides correspondence tables among different international classifications in order to improve the state of services statistics and coordinate the efforts of statisticians and trade negotiators. Aggregations through mode of supply are also suggested in the Manual.
      The MSITS 2002 has been recently succeeded by the MSITS 2010. The new manual refers to the latest updates occurred within the System of National Accounts and the IMF Balance of Payment framework (see FAQ 5.j).

      The System of National Accounts (SNA):
      The SNA is the internationally agreed standard set of recommendations on how to compile measures of economic activity. The SNA describes a coherent, consistent and integrated set of macroeconomic accounts in the context of a set of internationally agreed concepts, definitions, classifications and accounting rules.

      Related links & documents
      MSITS 2002:

      MSITS 2010:

      UNSD National Accounts:

    • Are there any auxiliary classifications that can help me to interpret trade in services statistics?

      The Central Product Classification (CPC) constitutes a comprehensive classification of all goods and services. Sections from 5 to 9 are mainly related to services. The CPC provide descriptions (explanatory notes) and rules of interpretation for services that are included in each subclass and those that are excluded, for reference purposes. Version 1.0 was used to define more precisely the balance of payments services components recommended in EBOPS 2002. Since EBOPS operates at a higher aggregation than CPC, its categories are typically aggregations of CPC subclasses. Two categories in the balance of payments classification of services, namely, travel and government services n.i.e., do not have analogues in the CPC.
      The International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC) is a UN economic classification that categorizes goods and services data according to the specific economic activity involved. For services, a possible reference is the ICFA classification (ISIC Categories for Foreign Affiliates).

      Sectoral grouping according to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS):
      In 1991, the GATT secretariat produced a note setting out a classification of service sectors, known as the GNS/W/120 Services Sectoral Classification list, resulting from consultations with member countries. GNS/W/120 should be considered as a negotiating list rather than a statistical classification.

      Related links & documents
      UN Classification Systems:

      WTO Services sectoral classification list (and more information):

    • Where can I find more information not provided by Trade Map on services supplied through commercial presence (Mode 3)?

      Through the identification of commercial presence as a mode of supply, the GATS have generated a need for information about foreign affiliates operating in the services sector. This data is provided in the balance of payment, and consequently on Trade Map, only for construction services as long as the foreign enterprise providing the services has not resident status in the compiling economy (see FAQ 5.a). In general, services supplied through Mode 3 do not involve transactions between resident and non-resident transactions. Foreign Affiliates Trade in Services Statistics (FATS) represent the only available source for most of Mode 3 statistics but they are provided just by some of the most industrialized countries. The implementation of this statistics is extremely useful to capture the values and extent of trade in services embedded under Mode 3 (and Mode 4 for what concerns the salaries of intra-corporate transferees working in the services sector see FAQ 5.i).

      Related links & documents:
      Eurostat manual on the production of FATS:

      MSITS 2002 (Chapter IV):

      MSITS 2010 (Chapter IV):

      Eurostat Data on Foreign controlled Affiliates:

      OECD Statistics on Activity of Multinationals and FDIs (under the section 'Globalisation'):

    • Where can I find more information not provided by Trade Map on services supplied through the movement of natural persons (Mode 4)?

      Mode 4 statistics refer to the supply of services toward the movement (flow) and presence (stock) of natural persons in an economy, as defined by the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Statistics on the value of services traded under Mode 4 are provided by the Balance of Payment but their separate estimation within given services transactions is extremely challenging, if not unfeasible (see FAQ 5.e). Foreign Affiliates Trade in Services (FATS, see FAQ 5.h) statistics, when available, can provide more information on this mode of supply. Statistics on the number of foreign persons moving (flows) and present (stocks) in a host country are an important complement measure of international transactions related to Mode 4 and they can be gathered from migration and touristic sources.
      Supply of services through presence of natural persons (Mode 4) and labour mobility may be distinguished by the type of contracts underpinning the transactions. While Mode 4 is associated with a service contract between the supplier in one economy and the consumer of another economy, labour mobility is characterized by employment contracts. Consequently, Mode 4 does not concern service providers seeking access to the employment market in the host country, nor permanent migration as the GATS does not apply to measures affecting residence, citizenship or employment on a permanent basis. However, the absence within the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) of a precise recommendation regarding the time length for the service supplier to work within the foreign country (e.g.: length of stay can range between three month for service sellers aiming to set up commercial presence abroad up to five years for intra-corporate transferees) stands as a further obstacle for analysis purposes.

      Services suppliers classified under Mode 4 trade are conventionally divided into four subcategories:
      • Business visitors and salespersons (BVs). Their purpose is to facilitate the agreement for future transaction and business opportunities in a foreign country.
      • Intracorporate transferees (ICTs). These are employees of a foreign enterprise that established its commercial presence abroad.
      • Independent professionals (IPs). Self employed individuals that supply a service in a foreign country.
      • Contractual services suppliers (CSSs). Employees of a foreign provider of services that does not have a local presence or commercial presence in the host country.
      Table – types of mode 4 presence

      Related links & documents
      MSITS 2002 (Annex 1):

      MSITS 2010 (Chapter II, E, 4):

      WTO-More info and literature on the Movement of Natural Persons:

      UNSD- Technical Subgroup on the Movement of Persons:

    • What are the differences between the BPM5/EBOPS 2002 and the new BPM6/EBOPS 2010 systems?

      Trade in Services data on Trade Map now follow the framework set by the 6th edition of the Balance of Payment Manual (BPM6) and the Extended Balance of Payment on Services classification released in 2010 (EBOPS 2010).

      The differences between BPM5/EBOPS 2002 and BPM6/EBOPS 2010 concern the enhancement of the "change of ownership" principle. This implies revisions of the concepts of goods for processing and merchanting transations.
      In an attempt to capture the issues involved by globalisation and its statistical implications, the new framework for trade in services statistics implies a stricter application of the "change of ownership" principle enshrined in the System of National Accounts (SNA) and Balance Of Payments (BOP) manuals.
      This will notably emphasise a fundamental difference to how goods undergoing processing abroad are regarded within the International Merchandise Trade Statistics: Concepts and Definitions, Revision 2 (IMTS, Rev. 2) on the one hand, and the BPM/SNA on the other. While the IMTS statistical system is based on the concepts of "physical movements of goods and country of origin", the BPM/SNA is founded on the principles of "change of ownership" and "residence of owners". The criteria of "substantial transformation" (IMTS, Rev. 2, para. 71) acted as a bridge between the two systems.
      Therefore, in the SNA 1993 and the BPM5 a change in ownership was imputed in case of "substantial processing" and the flows were then recorded as goods trade. This allocating rationale however, constituted an exception to the "change of ownership" rule (BPM5, para. 203; SNA 1993, para. 14.55).

      The external merchandise trade statistics record all movements of goods at the time they cross the border of the compiling economies, but not at the time of change of ownership.
      According to the previous statistical device, "goods for processing" are thus included in the merchandise trade statistics, and are recorded at the time they are exported to the processing economy or returned to the original economy for local use or re-export. This implies that a change in ownership is always imputed for "goods for processing" whenever they move into or out of the compiling country, and are recorded on gross terms under the goods account. The new statistical system introduced by the BPM6/SNA 2008 will instead capture these goods for processing that have not undergone a certified change in ownership under the service category Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others.
      It is worthwhile noticing that the value of manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others is not necessarily the same as the difference between the value of goods sent for processing and the value of goods after processing. Cost of overheads (i.e.: intermediate goods, financing, know how) should be taken into account.

      Merchanting activities also represented a controversial issue in respect to the "change of ownership" principle. BPM5 defines "merchanting" as the purchase of goods by a resident (of the compiling economy) from a non-resident and the subsequent resale of the goods to another non-resident without the goods ever entering or leaving the compiling economy (BPM5, para. 262). The difference between the value of goods when acquired and the value when sold is recorded as the value of "merchanting" services provided. BPM5 recommends recording such net amount of transactions under services rather than goods, though the commodity has changed ownership. On the contrary, the BPM 6 allocates those merchanting transactions under the goods account (BPM6, paras. 10.41-10.49).

      Some examples: revision of services trade balance in China and Hong Kong (China)
      The new treatment of goods for processing and merchanting services is deemed to entail important changes in the trade balances of some countries. In the case of China, and Hong-Kong (China), the estimated effect will entail a redistribution of value between goods and services accounts, leaving the current account balance unmodified.

      According to 2007 estimates, the new accounting principle for "good for Processing" will imply a remarkable reduction of the goods trade balance. In contrast, the country turns to be a net exporter of services.
      Assuming that processing services can be measured from the difference between debits and credits of goods for processing, obtained from published country merchandise trade data, the calculation will imply that:
      • Goods credit (BPM6) = Goods credits (BPM5) - Goods for processing credits (BPM5)
      • Goods debit (BPM6) = Goods debit (BPM5) - Goods for processing debit (BPM5)
      • Services credits (BPM6) = Services credit (BPM5) + Net goods for processing (if positive)
      • Services debits (BPM6) = Services debits (BPM5) + Net goods for processing (if negative)

      Effects on China trade performance (US$ billions)
      BOP 2007 BPM5 Adjusted for "goods for processing" Percent change
      Exports of goods 1220 602 -51%
      Imports of goods 905 553 -39%
      Balance of trade in goods 315 49 -
      Exports of services 122 388 218%
      Imports of services 130 130 0%
      Balance of trade in services -8 258 -
      Balance of trade in goods and services 307 307 -
      Source: IMF, BOPCOM-08/11

      Hong Kong (China)
      Over the past years, trading activities relating to "goods for processing" and "merchanting" played a vital role in the external trade front of Hong Kong. In 2006, about 30% of imported goods into Hong Kong, and 17% of goods exported from Hong Kong were related to goods for outward processing in the Mainland, whereas about 26% of exports of services of Hong Kong were related to "merchanting" activities.
      The balance of trade in goods in 2006 would be revised from a deficit of US$ 14 billion to a surplus of US$ 51 billion, and the balance of trade in services from a surplus of US$ 36 billion to a deficit of US$ 29 billion.
      The impact of the new statistical framework, as shown in the following table, will be extremely relevant for trade analysis.

      Effects on Hong Kong trade performance (US$ billions)
      BOP 2006 BPM5 Adjusted for "goods for processing" only Adjusted for "merchanting" only Adjusted for both "goods for processing" and "merchanting" Percent change
      Exports of goods 318 265 336 283 -11%
      Imports of goods 332 233 332 233 -30%
      Balance of trade in goods -14 32 4 51 -
      Exports of services 73 73 54 54 -26%
      Imports of services 37 83 37 83 124%
      Balance of trade in services 36 -10 18 -29 -
      Balance of trade in goods and services 22 22 22 22 -
      Source: IMF, BOPCOM-07/20

      Related links & documents
      IMF (2008). Impact on BOP Data of Changes in International Standards for Processing and Merchanting, BOPCOM-08/11. Available at:

      IMF (2007). Strategy for Implementing Recommendations on Goods for Processing and Merchanting in BPM6 - The Case for Hong Kong, BOPCOM-07/20. Available at:

    • Who else provides data and metadata on trade in services?

      International Monetary Fund (IMF)
      General Data Dissemination SystemThe General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) provides recommendations on good practice for the production and dissemination of country statistics. The methodology and the sources used for services and trade in services data for adhering countries can be unveiled through an analysis of the following topics: National Accounts and Balance of Payments:
      Special Data Dissemination Standard

      The Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) was established by the IMF to guide members that have, or that might seek, access to international capital markets in the provision of their economic and financial data to the public. Both the GDDS and the SDDS are expected to enhance the availability of timely and comprehensive statistics and therefore contribute to the pursuit of sound macroeconomic policies; the SDDS is also expected to contribute to the improved functioning of financial markets:

      Balance of Payments – International trade in services:

      World Trade Organization (WTO)
      WTO provides summary statistics on Transportation, Telecommunication, Financial and Insurance services:

      Metadata on WTO Trade in Services statistics are available at:

      United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
      Data are presented for groups of countries with an increasing level of detail (Trade in services trends) or by sector (Trade in services by category).
      UNCTAD secretariat calculation are based on: IMF (Balance of Payments Statistics, World Economic Outlook), Economist Intelligence Unit (Country Data), OECD (OECD.Stat Extracts), WTO (Statistics Database) and national sources.

      Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
      The types of services are presented according to the services classification of both BPM5/EBOPS 2002 and BPM6/EBOPS 2010 devices (see FAQ 5.j).
      Data is submitted directly to the OECD by the non-EU OECD member countries and is published without any further changes. Data for the European Union (EU) countries are transmitted to the OECD by Eurostat. In some cases, data for EU countries has been adjusted or estimated by Eurostat in order to enable the calculation of EU totals, and these data is supplied to OECD. The work-sharing procedure ensures that data published by both organisations are the same. This feature should better satisfy users' requirements. To the same effect, comparable zone totals for the EU, G7, NAFTA, OECD-Asia and Pacific, OECD-Europe and total OECD are calculated.
      The database is the result of joint work between the OECD and Eurostat.
      The OECD also provides information on the International Development Work and Coordination process that involves Services statistics.,3746,en_2649_34243_22903307_1_1_1_1,00.html

      United Nations Statistic Division (UNSD)
      The UN Service Trade statistics database is an extensive resource for trade in services data and metadata:

      Summary of BOP trade in services data dissemination by international organizations
      Table – services BOP data dissemination
      Source: WTO (2010), Measuring trade in services- A training module
      More information are available on the UNSD website: