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U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
U.S. Department of Commerce * Washington, D.C. 20230
NOTICE In this news release and in the accompanying "U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services: April 2013" release, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) are publishing revised statistics on both U.S. trade in goods and U.S. trade in services for January 1999 to March 2013. The revised statistics will also be reflected in "U.S International Transactions: First Quarter 2013" and in the annual revision of the U.S. international transactions accounts (ITAs), both to be released by BEA on June 14, 2013. This annual revision has not changed the overall trend in the goods and services balance. On an annual basis for 1999-2012, the goods and services deficit was revised less than 1 percent for nearly all years; the exception was 2009 when it was revised up 1.2 percent. Both the goods deficit and the services surplus were revised up for nearly all years; the exception was 2008 when the services surplus was revised down 0.1 percent. These revisions reflect changes in classifications and estimation methodologies, as well as newly available and revised source data. Goods and Services Beginning with statistics for 2007, certain exports of goods previously recorded under services as part of "transfers under U.S. military sales contracts" were reclassified as goods on a balance of payments (BOP) basis, and certain exports of services previously recorded as goods were reclassified as "transfers under U.S. military sales contracts." These reclassifications resulted from the incorporation of an improved classification of exports related to the Foreign Military Sales program. Beginning with statistics for 1999, purchases of major equipment and nonpetroleum goods abroad by U.S. military agencies previously recorded under services as part of "direct defense expenditures" were reclassified as imports of goods on a BOP basis. For goods, the reclassifications were made through BOP adjustments-adjustments that BEA applies to goods on a Census basis to convert them to a BOP basis. These adjustments are combined and presented as "net adjustments" in this release. For more information, see the information section that begins on page A-1 of the "U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services: April 2013" release. These reclassifications, and other improvements identified below, are part of a multiyear effort to modernize and enhance BEA's international economic accounts to provide more accurate measures of trade in goods and services and to align the accounts more closely with international guidelines. Information about BEA's 2013 annual revision of the ITAs and plans for future improvements were presented in the May 2013 Survey of Current Business. Goods Goods on a Census basis for 2010-2012 were revised to apply corrections and adjustments to previously published not seasonally adjusted statistics. Statistics for 2012 were also revised to redistribute monthly data that arrived too late for inclusion in the month of transaction and were initially included in the month in which the data were received. Seasonal and trading-day adjustments were then recalculated, and the seasonally adjusted current-dollar series were revised beginning with statistics for 2010. In addition to revisions to the current-dollar series, the real chained-dollar series were revised beginning with statistics for 1994 to reflect the new base year (2009). The historical chained-dollar series are available at www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/historical/. In addition to revisions to the BOP adjustments described above, beginning with statistics for 1999, an adjustment previously used to deduct certain imports of military-related goods from data on a Census basis to avoid duplicating imports provided to BEA by the U.S. Department of Defense has been eliminated. This adjustment is no longer necessary because the two data sources no longer overlap. Other revisions to BOP adjustments resulted from newly available and revised source data beginning with statistics for 2006. Services In addition to the reclassifications of certain military-related transactions described above, exports and imports of services were revised to incorporate an improved methodology for estimating expenditures by border, seasonal, and other short-term workers. These expenditures are included in exports and imports of "other private services." Imports of services were also revised to reclassify certain transactions by the U.S. Department of State. Based on newly available data, estimates of compensation of foreign residents employed abroad by the Department of State that were previously commingled with services in imports of "U.S. government miscellaneous services" were reclassified to compensation payments, which are recorded under income in the ITAs. Both of these changes resulted in revisions beginning with statistics for 2003. In addition to the changes described above, exports of services were revised beginning with statistics for 2007 and imports of services were revised beginning with statistics for 2008 to incorporate newly available and revised source data, primarily from BEA's surveys of international services transactions.