News Release

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, THURSDAY, JUNE 4, 2020
CB 20-82
BEA 20-26

U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, Annual Revision

UPDATE Exhibits 19 and 19b in the "U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, Annual Revision" report and exhibits 20 and 20b in the "U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, April 2020" report were updated on June 8, 2020, to incorporate seasonally adjusted services data by geography that were not available with the initial publication. The release text and relevant tables in "U.S. Trade in Goods and Services by Selected Countries and Areas, 1999-present" were also updated.

Notice

Updates to Goods and Services

In this release and in the accompanying "U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, April 2020" release (FT-900), the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) are publishing revised statistics on trade in goods and services. With these releases, statistics on trade in goods, on both a Census basis and a balance of payments (BOP) basis, are revised beginning with 2015, and statistics on trade in services are revised beginning with 1999.

Revised statistics on trade in goods reflect:

  • Corrections and adjustments to previously published not seasonally adjusted statistics for goods on a Census basis.
  • Reclassifications of several end-use commodities.
  • Recalculated seasonal and trading-day adjustments.
  • Newly available and revised source data on BOP adjustments, which are adjustments that BEA applies to goods on a Census basis to convert them to a BOP basis. See the "Goods (balance of payments basis)" section in the FT-900 explanatory notes for more information.

Revised statistics on trade in services reflect:

  • Introduction of transactions for implicitly charged financial services.
  • Reclassifications of transactions among previously published services categories and between previously published categories and new categories.
  • Improved estimation methods.
  • Newly available and revised source data, primarily from BEA surveys, including the results of BEA's benchmark survey of selected services and intellectual property transactions for 2017, and newly available administrative data for travel and transport services.
  • Recalculated seasonal adjustments.
  • Revised temporal distributions of quarterly source data to monthly statistics. See the "Services" section in the FT-900 explanatory notes for more information.

To further align BEA statistics with international guidelines, such as the sixth edition of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual published by the International Monetary Fund, exhibits 3 and 4 have been expanded to present two new services categories: construction and personal, cultural, and recreational services. In addition, some transactions have been reclassified among charges for the use of intellectual property n.i.e. (not included elsewhere); other business services; telecommunications, computer, and information services; maintenance and repair services n.i.e., and the new categories construction and personal, cultural, and recreational services.

For more information on these changes, see "Preview of the 2020 Annual Update of the International Economic Accounts."

The overall trend in the goods and services balance was little changed by this annual update. From 1999 through 2019, the annual goods and services deficit was revised by less than 2 percent (positive or negative) for most years. However, for some years—2009, 2012, 2013, and 2016–2019—the annual goods and services deficit was revised by more than 2 percent (positive or negative). Those updates reflected revisions to the services surplus, which ranged from −8.7 percent in 2009 to 15.7 percent in 2018. Methodological updates were the largest factor behind the revisions to the services balance.

The revised statistics for goods on a BOP basis and for services will also be included in the "U.S. International Transactions, First Quarter 2020 and Annual Update" report and in the international transactions interactive database, both to be released by BEA on June 19, 2020.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the Census Bureau, Economic Indicators Division, International Trade Macro Analysis Branch, on (800) 549-0595, option 4, or at [email protected]; or BEA, Balance of Payments Division, at [email protected].