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External merchandise trade statistics cover movements of merchandise between Hong Kong and her trading partners, by land, air, water and by post. Movements of exempted articles are not included. Gold and specie are separately recorded for analysis.
Hong Kong's external merchandise trade statistics are compiled based on information contained in import/export declarations. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a separate customs territory, as stated in "The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China". Import/export declaration is also required of Hong Kong's merchandise trade with the mainland of China, and statistics relating to this are included in Hong Kong's external merchandise trade statistics.
The trade declaration system in Hong Kong is mainly designed for collecting merchandise trade data for the compilation of statistics on aggregate exports and aggregate imports of merchandise trade. The statistics are primarily used for macroeconomic analysis, rather than for monitoring or tracking the imports and exports of certain commodities. Quality assurance procedures are in place; but the data may still be subject to errors, especially at detailed commodity code level. Yet, the overall impact on the aggregate trade statistics should still be negligible.
Imports of goods refer to goods which have been produced or manufactured in places outside the jurisdiction of Hong Kong and brought into Hong Kong for domestic use or for subsequent re-export as well as products of Hong Kong which are re-imported. Their values are recorded on c.i.f. (cost, insurance and freight) basis.
Total exports of goods comprise domestic exports and re-exports. Domestic exports of goods refer to the natural produce of Hong Kong or the products of a manufacturing process in Hong Kong which has changed permanently the shape, nature, form or utility of the basic materials used in manufacture. Re-exports of goods refer to products which have previously been imported into Hong Kong and which are re-exported without having undergone in Hong Kong a manufacturing process which has changed permanently the shape, nature, form or utility of the product. Their values are recorded on f.o.b. (free-on-board) basis.
Total merchandise trade refers to all the movements of merchandise between Hong Kong and her trading partners, by land, air, water and by post. It comprises imports and total exports of goods.
The value index, unit value index and quantum index measure the changes in value, prices and volume of external merchandise trade respectively. In order to provide a better measure of the real growth of trade aggregates, a new series of trade index numbers compiled using the chain linking approach with annual re-weighting and re-referencing was released in March 2015 to replace the previous series compiled using the Laspeyres method with a fixed base year.
Seasonal adjustment is performed using the X-12 ARIMA method, which is a standard method used for removing seasonal effect from a data series statistically. Seasonally adjusted series may be revised as more data become available. For external merchandise trade figures, the seasonally adjusted series for the preceding three years are revised each year when the figures for January become available.
External merchandise trade statistics are not directly comparable with the figures of exports and imports of goods published under the framework of “National Income”, as the latter is compiled based on the change of ownership principle.
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