Strengthening the Development of International Merchandise Trade Statistics
Implemented Activities

A. Reviewing the Status of the Compilation of IMTS and e-Commerce

Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in collaboration with United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) conducted missions to ESCWA member countries to review the status of International Merchandize Trade Statistics (IMTS) compilation and the implementation of international recommendations. The missions were as follow:

March/April 2007
Bahrain (27-29 March).
Oman (1-2 April).
Qatar (3-5 April).
United Arab Emirates (8-10 April).

February 2007
Egypt (10-12 February).
Jordan (13-16 February).
Syria (17-19 February).
Lebanon (20-22 February).

September 2006
Saudi Arabia (10-12 September).
Yemen (13-16 September).
Kuwait (17-19 September)

B. Workshops

1. Workshop on E-commerce Statistics and External Trade Indicators, Dubai-United Arab Emirates, 30 March-1 April 2009

2. Workshop on Trade Indices and Data Dissemination, Rome-Italy, 10 -13 March 2009

3. Workshop on Data Quality and External Trade Indices, Cairo - Egypt, 12-15 June 2008

4. Workshop on Data compilation and Application of Methodological Concept, Amman-Jordan, 28 October- 2 November 2007

C. Training

Training on calculation of External Trade Indices for Statisticians in ESCWA countries 14-16 December 2009, Beirut

D. ESCWA Comtrade Database

A first phase was completed in February 2009 in which the ESCWA comtrade database was created and linked to the UN-Comtrade.

A second phase is currently in progress to update and improve the ESCWA comtrade. This phase is expected to be finished by January 2010.

E. Virtual Forum for Arab Statisticians

Work In progress

F. Evaluation:

The project documents were examined. These included the preliminary country reports, the workshop reports and the project progress reports

Evaluation missions were conducted between 30 October and 4 November 2009 to seven ESCWA countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen). Head officers from National Statistics Offices, Customs and Central Banks were interviewed.

An evaluation questionnaire was designed and distributed to National Statistics Offices, Customs and Central Banks in all ESCWA member countries.

The project documents and the findings of the interviews and the questionnaire will be compiled into an evaluation report which will be shared with ESCWA member countries. The report will highlight the lessons learned and recommend future activities.

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