Virtual Workshop, 6-8 July 2021
Simon Humphries (ARISE Plus’ expert on statistics on international trade in service) prepared a draft ASEAN Trade in Services Compilation Guide (the Guide) for discussion at the SITS Workshop. The Guide provides practical guidance on how to implement the conceptual requirements for international trade in services (ITS) according to international standards and in order to meet ASEAN statistics data requirements. Best practice will largely be identified through ASEAN Member State (AMS) case studies.
The Guide is a living document, that will be expanded to include further service categories in subsequent versions, but currently focuses on three areas:
- Travel services
- Freight and insurance services
- ITS by partner country.
The Guide grades existing sources and methods into A / B / C categories, where A is considered as best practice and C requires improvement. The expectation is that the Guide will allow AMS to self-assess existing sources and methods so that resources can be focused on those sources and methods that are deemed unacceptable (C methods). The longer term aim is for the Guide to support all AMS move towards A and B sources and methods in a harmonised and sustainable way.
A three-day regional SITS Workshop was undertaken as a virtual event from 28-30 June 2021. The workshop was very well attended, with more than 50 participants from all 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS). Participants included trade in service compilers and analysis from both National Statistical Institutes (NSI) and National Central Banks (NCBs).
The workshop included the following activities:
Session 1 – An introduction to the Compiler’s Guide, including AMS case studies and next steps.
Session 2 – International guidance on the compilation of travel services, including supply and demand approaches as introduced in the WTO Recommendations Manual for Tourism.
Session 3 – AMS priorities for future activities.
In the initial round table discussion, there was general support for the Guide and a number of points made as to how it could be developed. For example:
“I also would like to encourage compilers to revisit & re-assess data sources regularly (at least once every few years), as I think the rating may change over time. A/B rated source today, may be less powerful in capturing the data 5/10 years from now, with changing legal environment, payment technology, etc. “Statistics” is not static, after all.”
“Categorisation into A / B / C groupings will vary between countries because of individual country characteristics. Adding non-AMS case studies would also help identify best international practice”.
It was agreed that the draft Compiler’s Guide would benefit from inclusion of further AMS case studies. These will be included in the next version of the Guide to be prepared by end-September 2021. The A / B / C grading will be tested against the different sources and methods currently used to compile trade in services in AMS. Volunteers for this testing phase are now being sought!