Within the context of the project "Strengthening the Development of International Merchandize Trade Statistics and the Compilation of E-commerce in UN-ESCWA Member Countries" that is being implemented by UN-ESCWA and partners from UN agencies and other international organizations including the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), a delegation visited Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates during March and April 2007. The delegation was composed of Mrs. Fathia AbdelFadil, Team Leader of Trade and Transport Statistics in UN-ESCWA, and Mr. Matthias Reister, Chief of Trade in Goods Section in UNSD.
The purpose of the visits was to inform the member countries about the project, its objectives and the expected results and to discuss international recommendations relating to the compilation, processing and dissemination of trade statistics in goods in order to highlight the difficulties facing them in implementing these recommendations. The difficulties would be addressed in the training workshops to be organized within the project. The delegation met with the directors of national statistical offices, statistics and information departments at customs authorities, statistics and research departments at central banks, as well as other national experts in these institutions.
The mission was successful in identifying the capacity-building needs of the countries to produce international merchandize trade statistics in accordance with international recommendations. The areas that need to be strengthened are: international classification, trade systems, customs procedures regarding inclusion and exclusion of goods in merchandize trade statistics, proper systems and methodologies for validation of data at customs and national statistical offices, calculation and production of trade indices, and compilation of e-commerce related to trade in goods. The delegation identified a focal point for the implementation of the project in each of these countries.