This file is also available in PDF
format for easy printing.
The Census basis goods data are compiled from the documents
collected by the U.S. Customs Service and reflect the
movement of goods between foreign countries and the 50
states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin
Islands, and U.S. Foreign Trade Zones. They include
government and non-government shipments of goods, and
exclude shipments between the United States and its territories
and possessions, transactions with U.S. military, diplomatic
and consular installations abroad, U.S. goods returned to the
United States by its Armed Forces, personal and household
effects of travelers, and in-transit shipments. The General
Imports value reflects the total arrival of merchandise from
foreign countries that immediately enters consumption
channels, warehouses, or Foreign Trade Zones.
For imports, the value reported is the U.S. Customs Service
appraised value of merchandise; generally, the price paid for
merchandise for export to the United States. Import duties,
freight, insurance, and other charges incurred in bringing
merchandise to the United States are excluded.
Exports are valued at the f.a.s.- free alongside ship value of
merchandise at the U.S. port of export, based on the
transaction price including inland freight, insurance and other
charges incurred in placing the merchandise alongside the
carrier at the U.S. port of exportation.
Monthly data include actual month's transactions as well as a
small number of transactions for previous months. Each
month we revise the aggregate seasonally adjusted (current and
constant dollar) and unadjusted export, import and trade
balance figures, as well as the end-use totals for the prior
month. SITC and country detail data are not revised monthly.
The timing adjustment shown in Exhibit 14 is the difference
between monthly data as originally reported and as
recompiled. Quarterly revisions are made to the constant
dollar series. In the last month of each quarter, the current and
previous quarter are revised to incorporate the Bureau of Labor
Statistics monthly revisions and align Census and the Bureau
of Economic Analysis's quarterly data. Annual revisions for the
months are made in June to reflect corrections received
subsequent to the monthly revision. These revisions are
reflected in totals, end-use, SITC and country summary data.
The monthly end-use, commodity, and country and area data
presented in this release are on a Census basis. This refers to
Exhibits 6 - 18.
U.S./CANADA DATA EXCHANGE
The data for U.S. exports to Canada are derived from import
data compiled by Canada. The use of Canada's import data to
produce U.S. export data requires several alignments in order to
compare the two series.
1. Coverage -- Canadian imports are based on country of
origin. U.S. goods shipped from a third country are
included. U.S. exports exclude these foreign shipments. For
January 2003, these shipments totaled $75.9 million. U.S.
export coverage also excludes certain Canadian postal
shipments. For January 2003, these shipments totaled $10.4
2. Valuation -- Canadian imports are valued at point of origin
in the United States. However, U.S. exports are valued at
the port of exit in the United States and include inland
freight charges, making the U.S. export value slightly larger.
Canada requires inland freight to be reported. Inland freight
charges for January 2003 account for 1.8 percent of the
value of U.S. exports to Canada.
3. Reexports -- U.S. exports include reexports of foreign
goods. Again, the aggregate U. S. export figure is slightly
larger. For January 2003, reexports to Canada were
4. Exchange Rate -- Average monthly exchange rates are
applied to convert the published data to U.S. currency. For
January 2003, the average exchange rate was 1.5414
Canadian dollars per U.S. dollar.
5. Other -- There are other minor differences which are
statistically insignificant, such as rounding error.
Effective with January 2001 statistics, the current month data
for exports to Canada contain an estimate for late arrivals and
corrections. The following month, this estimate will be
replaced, in the press release tables only, with the actual value
of late receipts and corrections. This estimate will improve the
current month data for exports to Canada and treat late receipts
for exports to Canada in a manner more consistent with the
treatment of late receipts for exports to other countries.
The goods data are a complete enumeration of documents
collected by the U.S. Customs Service and are not subject to
sampling errors; but they are subject to several types of
nonsampling errors. Quality assurance procedures are
performed at every stage of collection, processing and
tabulation; however the data are still subject to several types of
nonsampling errors. The most significant of these include
reporting errors, undocumented shipments, timeliness, data
capture errors, and errors in the estimation of low-valued
Reporting Errors: Reporting errors are mistakes or omissions
made by importers, exporters or their agents in their import or
export declarations. Most errors involve missing or invalid
commodity classification codes and missing or incorrect
quantities or shipping weights. They have a negligible effect
on import, export and balance of trade statistics. However,
they can affect the detailed commodity statistics.
Undocumented Shipments: Federal regulations require
importers, exporters or their agents to report all merchandise
shipments above established exemption levels. The U.S.
Census Bureau has determined that not all required documents
are filed, particularly for exports.
Timeliness and Data Capture Errors: The U.S. Census
Bureau captures import and export information from
administrative documents and through various automated
collection programs. Documents may be lost, data may be
incorrectly keyed, coded or recorded. Transactions may be
included in a subsequent month's statistics if received late.
Low-valued Transactions: The total values of transactions
valued as much as or below $2,500 for exports and $2,000
($250 for certain quota items) for imports are estimated for
each country, using factors based on the ratios of low-valued
shipments to individual country totals for past periods.
The U.S. Census Bureau recommends that data users
incorporate this information into their analyses, as
nonsampling errors could impact the conclusion drawn from
the results. For a detailed discussion of errors affecting the
goods data, see "U.S. Merchandise Trade Statistics: A Quality
Profile" available on the INTERNET at
from the Foreign Trade Division, U.S. Census Bureau.
AREA GROUPINGS (See Exhibits 14 and 14A)
North America - Canada, Mexico
Western Europe - Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-
Hercegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland,
France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy,
Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta and Gozo, Macedonia,
Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia,
Spain, Svalbard, Jan Mayen Island, Sweden, Switzerland,
Turkey, United Kingdom, Vatican City, Yugoslavia.
European Union - Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland,
France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,
Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
Euro Area - Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany,
Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal,
European Free Trade Association - Iceland, Liechtenstein,
Eastern Europe - Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus,
Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland,
Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine,
Pacific Rim - Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia,
Japan, Korea, Macao, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New
Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan.
South/Central America - Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda,
Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda,
Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile,
Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic,
Ecuador, El Salvador, Falkland Islands, French Guiana,
Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras,
Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles,
Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St.
Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and
Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uruguay, Venezuela.
OPEC - Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya,
Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates,
Adjustments for Seasonal and Working-Day Variations
Goods are initially classified under the Harmonized System
(HS) which describes and measures the characteristics of
goods traded. Combining trade into approximately 140 export
and 140 import end-use categories makes it possible to
examine goods according to their principal uses (See Exhibits
7 and 8). These categories are used as the basis for computing
the seasonal and working-day adjusted data. These adjusted
data are then summed to the six end-use aggregates for
publication (Exhibit 6). These data are provided to the Bureau
of Economic Analysis, from the U.S. Census Bureau, for use
in the Balance of Payments and the National Income and
The seasonal adjustment procedure is based on a model that
estimates the monthly movements as percentages above or
below the general level of each end-use commodity series
(unlike other methods that redistribute the actual series values
over the calendar year). Imports of petroleum and petroleum
products are adjusted for the length of the month. Because of
the extremely variable movements of the data series for
aircraft, users studying data trends may wish to analyze aircraft
separately from other trade.
Adjustments for Price Change
Data adjusted for seasonal variation on a constant dollar basis
(1996 base year) are presented in Exhibits 10 and 11. This
adjustment for price change is done at the lowest end-use level
possible, then summed to the six published end-use aggregates.
The deflators are primarily based upon the monthly price
indexes published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics using
techniques developed for the National Income and Product
Accounts by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Goods data appearing in Exhibit 15 are classified in terms of
the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC)
Revision 3. Agricultural goods consist of non-marine food
products and other products of agriculture which have not
passed through complex processes of manufacture, such as raw
hides and skins, fats and oils, and wine. A few goods such as
essential oils, starches, casein, and albumin, considered to be
agricultural by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, have been
excluded from agricultural goods and are included in
manufactured goods where they are classified in the SITC.
Manufactured goods conform to the SITC sections that include
chemicals and related products, N.S.P.F.; manufactured goods
classified chiefly by material; machinery and transport
equipment; miscellaneous manufactured articles, N.S.P.F.; and
goods and transactions not classified elsewhere.
Reexports are foreign merchandise entering the country as
imports, and at the time of exportation are in substantially the
same condition as when imported. Reexports, included in
overall export totals, appear as separate line items in Exhibit
Advanced Technology Products (ATP)
About 500 of some 22,000 commodity classification codes
used in reporting U.S. merchandise trade are identified as
"advanced technology" codes and they meet the following
1. The code contains products whose technology is from a
recognized high technology field (e.g., biotechnology).
2. These products represent leading edge technology in that
3. Such products constitute a significant part of all items
covered in the selected classification code.
The aggregation of the goods results in a measure of advanced
technology trade which appears in Exhibit 16. This product and
commodity-based measure of advanced technology differs from
broader NAICS industry-based measures which include all
goods produced by a particular industry group, regardless of the
level of technology embodied in the goods.
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS (BOP) BASIS
Goods on a Census basis are adjusted by the Bureau of
Economic Analysis to goods on a BOP basis to bring the data
in line with the concepts and definitions used to prepare the
international and national accounts. Broadly, the adjustments
include changes in ownership that occur without goods passing
into or out of the customs territory of the United States. These
adjustments are necessary to supplement coverage of the Census
basis data, to eliminate duplication of transactions recorded
elsewhere in the international accounts, and to value
transactions according to a standard definition.
The export adjustments include:
U.S. military sales contracts - This deduction of U.S.
military sales contracts is made because the U.S. Census
Bureau has included these contracts in the goods data, but
BEA includes them in the service category "Transfers Under
U.S. Military Sales Contracts." BEA's source material for
these contracts is more comprehensive, but has no distinction
between goods and services.
Private gift parcels. This addition is made for parcels
mailed to foreigners by individuals through the U.S. Postal
Service. (Only commercial shipments are covered in Census
Gold exports, nonmonetary. This addition is made for gold
that is purchased by foreign official agencies from private
dealers in the United States and held at the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York. The Census data only include gold that
leaves the customs territory.
Some smaller adjustments are also made to exports:
Deductions for repairs of goods, developed motion picture
film, and military grant-aid. Additions for sales of fish in
U.S. territorial waters, exports of electricity to Mexico, and
vessels and oil rigs that change ownership for which no export
document is filed.
The import adjustments include:
Inland freight in Canada. An addition is made for inland
freight in Canada. Imports of goods from all countries are
valued at the foreign port of export, including inland freight
charges ("customs value"). In the case of Canada, this
should be the cost of the goods at the U.S. border. However,
the customs value for imports for certain Canadian goods is
the point of origin in Canada. The BEA makes an addition
for the inland freight charges of transporting these Canadian
goods to the U.S. border to make the value comparable to the
customs value as reported by all other countries. Insurance
and freight charges for transporting goods to the United
States from all other countries to the U.S. border are
included in services by the BEA. (The same procedure is
used for Mexico as an Other Adjustment, but is much
Gold imports, nonmonetary. This addition is made for
gold sold by foreign official agencies to private purchasers
out of stock held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The Census data only include gold that enters the customs
Imports by U.S. military agencies. This deduction of U.S.
military sales contracts is made because the U.S. Census
Bureau has included these contracts in the goods data, but
BEA includes them in the service category "Direct Defense
Expenditures". BEA's source material is more
comprehensive, but has no distinction between goods and
Some smaller adjustments are also made to imports:
Deductions for repairs of goods, and developed motion
picture film. Additions for imported electricity from
Mexico, conversion of vessels for commercial use, and
repairs to U.S. vessels abroad, and valuation of prepackaged
software imports at market value.
The statistics are estimates of services transactions between
foreign countries and the 50 states, the District of Columbia,
Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other U.S. territories
and possessions. Transactions with U.S. military, diplomatic,
and consular installations abroad are excluded because they are
considered to be part of the U.S. economy.
Services are shown in seven broad categories. Types of
services for imports and exports are the same for six of the
seven categories. For the seventh, exports is "Transfers Under
U.S. Military Sales Contracts" while for imports the category
is "Direct Defense Expenditures". The following is a brief
description of the types of services included in each category:
Travel - Purchases of services and goods by U.S. travelers
abroad and by foreign visitors to the United States. A
traveler is defined as a person who stays for a period of less
than 1 year in a country of which the person is not a
resident. Includes expenditures for food, lodging,
recreation, gifts, and other items incidental to a foreign visit.
Passenger Fares - Fares paid by residents of one country to
residents of other countries. Receipts consist of fares
received by U.S. carriers from foreign residents for travel
between the United States and foreign countries and
between two foreign points. Payments consist of fares paid
by U.S. residents to foreign carriers for travel between the
United States and foreign countries.
Other Transportation - Charges for the transportation of
goods by ocean, air, waterway, pipeline, and rail carriers to
and from the United States. Includes freight charges,
operating expenses that transportation companies incur in
foreign ports, and payments for vessel charter and aircraft
rentals with crew.
Royalties and License Fees - Transactions with foreign
residents involving intangible assets and proprietary rights,
such as the use of patents, techniques, processes, formulas,
designs, know-how, trademarks, copyrights, franchises, and
manufacturing rights. The term "royalties" generally refers
to payments for the utilization of copyrights or trademarks,
and the term "license fees" generally refers to payments for
the use of patents or industrial processes.
Other Private Services - Transactions with affiliated
foreigners, for which no identification by type is available,
and of transactions with unaffiliated foreigners. (The term
"affiliated" refers to a direct investment relationship, which
exists when a U.S. person has ownership or control, directly
or indirectly, of 10 percent or more of a foreign business
enterprise's voting securities or the equivalent, or when a
foreign person has a similar interest in a U.S. enterprise.)
Transactions with unaffiliated foreigners consist of
education services; financial services (includes commissions
and other transactions fees associated with the purchase and
sale of securities and noninterest income of banks, and
excludes investment income); insurance premiums and
losses; telecommunications services (includes transmission
services and value-added services); and business,
professional, and technical services. Included in the last
group are advertising services; computer and data
processing services; database and other information
services; research, development, and testing services;
management, consulting, and public relations services; legal
services; construction, engineering, architectural, and
mining services; industrial engineering services; installation,
maintenance, repair of equipment; and other services,
including medical services and film and tape rentals.
Transfers Under U.S. Military Sales Contracts (Exports
only) - Exports of goods and services in which U.S.
Government military agencies participate. Includes both
goods, such as equipment, and services, such as repair
services and training, that cannot be separately identified.
Direct Defense Expenditures (Imports only) -
Expenditures incurred by U.S. military agencies abroad,
including expenditures by U.S. personnel, payments of
wages to foreign residents, construction expenditures,
payments for foreign contractual services, and procurement
of foreign goods. Includes both goods and services that
cannot be separately identified.
U.S. Government Miscellaneous Services - Transactions
of U.S. Government nonmilitary agencies with foreign
residents. Most of these transactions involve the provision
of services to, or purchases of services from, foreigners;
transfers of some goods are also included.
Services estimates are based on quarterly, annual, and
benchmark surveys and partial information generated from
monthly reports. Service transactions are estimated at market
prices. Estimates are seasonally adjusted when statistically
significant seasonal patterns are present. No country or area
detail is available due to the lack of adequate source data upon
which to base estimates.
The revision policy is as follows: Each month, a preliminary
estimate for the current month and a revised estimate for the
immediately preceding month are released. After a revised
month is released, no further changes are made to that month
until more complete source data become available in March,
June, September, and December. The releases in March,
June, September, and December contain revised data for the
previous six months. The release in March also contains
revisions for all months of the previous year in order to align
the seasonally adjusted monthly data with annual totals. The release
in June contains annual revisions, which reflect updated source data
and changes in estimating methodologies.
Quarterly and annual estimates of services are included as part of the
U.S. international transactions accounts, published in the April, July,
October, and January issues of the Survey of Current Business. The next
release of the U.S. international transactions accounts is scheduled for
March 14, 2003. The Survey is available from the Superintendent of
Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.
MONTHLY RELEASE SCHEDULE
DATE 2003 Day
Jan. . . . .03-12-03 Wednesday
Feb. . . . .04-10-03 Thursday
Mar. . . . .05-13-03 Tuesday
Apr. . . . .06-13-03 Friday
May. . . . .07-11-03 Friday
Jun. . . . .08-14-03 Thursday
Jul. . . . .09-11-03 Thursday
Aug. . . . .10-10-03 Friday
Sep. . . . .11-13-03 Thursday
Oct. . . . .12-12-03 Friday
Nov. . . . .01-14-04 Wednesday
Dec. . . . .02-13-04 Friday
The FT-900 and supplement are available on the following:
INTERNET The U. S. International Trade in Goods and
Services reports for the current month and previous years are
available at: www.census.gov/foreign-trade/ or
STAT-USA The U.S. Department of Commerce's electronic
information facility. Call 1 800 STAT-USA for product
Additional data and information on goods are obtainable from:
Foreign Trade Division, U.S. Census Bureau,
Washington, D.C. 20233
Additional data and information on services are obtainable
from: Balance of Payments Division, Bureau of Economic
Analysis, Washington, D.C. 20230