May 19, 2020

In June, BEA will speed up and expand our statistics on U.S. international trade in services, including adding detail on some of the most dynamic services, such as research and development, intellectual property, and financial services.

Final details are available today for the expanded data tables that will be published with the June 19 annual update of BEA’s international transactions accounts (ITAs) and the June 30 annual update of the international investment position (IIP) accounts.

These changes result from a multiyear effort by BEA to research and develop enhanced international statistics. This year’s annual update of the U.S. international accounts will include several new methodologies and data sources. For an overview of major changes, see “Preview of the 2020 Annual Update of the International Economic Accounts” in the April issue of the Survey of Current Business

Today we published the final version of prototype tables that on June 19 will become the new standard tables for the ITAs, replacing our existing table format.

These are refinements of the prototype ITA tables that have been published in our interactive data tables, alongside the current ITA tables, since September 2019 to help users prepare for the upcoming changes. 

The final version published today makes minor updates to the prototype tables published with the ITA release of March 19: 

•    Expands subcategory detail under financial services exports and imports in prototype table 3.1.
•    Expands subcategory detail under personal, cultural, and recreational services exports and imports in prototype table 3.1.
•    Removes “NAFTA countries” from the addenda in prototype table 3.3.
•    Updates several footnotes and line references within the table stub to reflect the final structure.

We also published today a template of the upcoming ITA news release tables and the IIP news release tables, both in XLS file format.

More information about the ITA prototype tables is available in the updated document “Prototype Tables for the International Transactions Accounts (Updated May 19, 2020).”

The ITA and IIP prototype tables include some formatting changes, such as replacing Roman numerals with numbers to refer to quarters in the table headers. Data users who pull data from BEA’s tables by keying off the Roman numerals may need to adjust their programs.

The improvements also will bring expanded data to the U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services news releases on June 4. Prototypes for the new Exhibits 3 and 4 have been posted with the monthly trade releases since February.