Trade-in-Services Information System (TiSSTAT) is a modern tool designed to facilitate the collection and processing of statistics on international trade in services by the National Statistical Institutes and other national agencies.
The system enables the production of country-owned high quality and internationally comparable trade-in-services statistics while limiting initial investment costs and response burden significantly.
Trade-in-Services statistics are lacking in many developing countries and even where they are available, their quality and comprehensiveness need to be enhanced. As economies develop and their service sector increases, the paucity of services data is increasingly problematic for policy makers and trade negotiators.
By their very nature, services are difficult to measure as they are intangible and often produced and consumed at the same time, and their trade is not captured by customs systems. They are also conceptually difficult to measure as services trade takes varying forms from transport and travel to business services.
Description of the system
The modular information system TiSSTAT for trade-in-services statistics applies to international standards, includes statistics on bilateral trade in services and mode of supply. Its development was the result of a thorough methodological work carried out by the UNCTAD Statistics in collaboration with the UEMOA commission and its member states. The package includes methodological guidelines and a harmonised questionnaire on trade in services to be used for the collection of data and dissemination of statistics.
The TiSSTAT system includes modules for survey management, data entry, cleaning, compilation, quality assurance and dissemination. The system was tested and improved together with UEMOA member states and successfully installed in all participating countries. National experts in trade and services and IT specialists were trained to use and maintain the system.
TiSSTAT modules overview
The system also comes with a draft legal framework for international trade-in-services statistics, aligned with the global standards on statistics on international trade in services that facilitates international comparison of statistics and can be applied elsewhere after the adaptation to a regional specificity.
The system and the e-learning enable countries to step up their capacity to provide trade-in-services statistics with enhanced skills and data architecture to inform trade policy enabling the strengthening of economic resilience, including more gender-responsive trade policies.
The results of this extensive work can now be leveraged by any country to customize it for their own national information requirements, with a significantly reduced investment compared to starting from scratch. This will ensure a high level of comparability in trade-in-services statistics. The system is supported by a harmonised entreprise-based questionnaire and an e-learning course and bilateral support is also available.
Capacity development offering
UNCTAD developed the TiSSTAT system with the support of the West African Monetary and Economic Union (UEMOA) to adjust to the needs of its member states. UNCTAD Statistics collects data for trade in goods and services statistics, jointly with the WTO and releases consistent information in the databases of the two organizations. In cooperation with the WTO and UN Statistics Division (UNSD), UNCTAD’s Statistics and TRAINFORTRADE provide e-training courses for trade-in-services statistics compilers in English and French.
The offering provides a plug-and-play solution which includes guidance on legal framework for trade-in-services statistics, modern online data collection, compilation methodologies, TiSSTAT information system that can be adjusted to countries’ data environments, and an e-learning course to enhance skills needed in the use and compilation of trade-in-services statistics.
Facts and Figures
Since 2015, 6300 persons trained in 8 countries in Africa.
Seeking funding and partners
UNCTAD is looking to partner to scale up activities and enable the use of the TiSSTAT system by more countries.
The costs of the effort will depend on the number of countries to cover national data collection costs, and the extent of changes required by IT consultants to the system reflecting national data needs.
UNCTAD seeks to engage one statistician/data engineer to support all activities in the programme.