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External Trade Statistics

Background Information and Technical Notes

Purpose The purpose of the Overseas Merchandise Trade statistics is to provide statistical information on the importing and exporting of merchandise goods between Timor-Leste and other countries.

Source of Data Data is obtained from import and export documents lodged with the Customs Service of Timor-Leste. This data is then processed by the National Statistics Directorate to produce Merchandise Trade Statistics that conform to United Nations statistical concepts.

Time of Recording Import and Export Statistics are compiled by Date of Assessment. This is the date on which the duty to be paid (if any) is assessed by the Customs Service, in effect “clearing” the goods for import/export.

System of Recording Overseas Merchandise Trade statistics are compiled in close accordance with the United Nations International Merchandise Trade Statistics Concepts and Definitions. The system is known as the “general “system of recording trade statistics as defined in UN statistical papers M52. Under this system imports includes all goods entering the economic territory of a compiling country and exports includes all goods leaving the economic territory of a compiling country. The “economic territory” includes bonded warehouses.

Merchandise Trade Merchandise Trade is the import or export of goods that that alter the nation’s stock of material resources as a result of their movement in or out of the country.

Non Merchandise Trade Goods which do not permanently add to the material resources of a country are identified as “Non Merchandise” trade. Some common examples would be temporary imports, returnable containers, goods in transit and goods consigned to foreign embassies or military installations within a host country.

Re Exports Re Exports are exports that were previously imported into Timor-Leste and comprise less than 50 percent Timor-Leste value by content.

Country Statistics Import statistics are available by “Country of Origin” – the country of manufacture of the goods. Import statistics by “Country of Export” – the country from where the goods were consigned, are also collected. Export statistics are available by “Country of Destination” – the country of final destination as shown on the export declaration.

Commodity Classification Goods are classified by Customs using the Customs Tariff which is based on the international “Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System”, or “HS” as it is sometimes called.

Limitations of data Overseas Trade statistics are compiled from documents provided by exporters and importers to the Timor-Leste Customs Service. Considerable reliance is placed on the exporters/importers and their agents submitting correct codes and information. Before the data is released for statistical purposes it is validated and detected errors corrected however no warranty can be given that this information contains no errors. The ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data) system became operational in the Timor- Leste Customs Service in October 2003. This system provides the basic data from which Merchandise Trade Statistics are prepared. Currently this system provides coverage of all imports and exports from the main airport and seaports plus parcel post. Some documentation from “small” ports is also processed at the Dili Customs Office, however it should be noted that approximately 4% of entries (those not lodged electronically via ASYCUDA), may not be included in the Trade Statistics.

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