26.2.        Importance of dissemination. The availability of official statistics in general and statistics of international merchandise trade in particular is one of the cornerstones of public confidence in good government, as such statistics can inform debate and decision-making both by Governments and by the wider community. In this context, IMTS 2010 highlights the importance of countries’ adherence to the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics[1] which state, inter alia, that:

(a)    Official statistics “provide an indispensable element in the information system of a democratic society, serving the Government, the economy and the public”;

(b)   These statistics should be “made available on an impartial basis by official statistical agencies to honour citizens' entitlement to public information”;

(c)    The statistical agencies should “facilitate a correct interpretation of the data” and therefore have “to present information according to scientific standards on the sources, methods and procedures of the statistics”;

(d)   The statistical agencies “are entitled to comment on erroneous interpretation and misuse of statistics”. 

26.3.        In the light of these Principles, the dissemination of trade data and metadata is an integral part of the national programme of trade statistics and should be carried out with great care and attention to the needs of users, while at the same time ensuring adequate confidentiality of data providers.


[1] The Principles are available at http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/statorg/FP-English.htm