Annex V.B. Institutional arrangements for foreign trade statistics: experience of Mexico
5.B.1. Importance of the legal framework for the institutional arrangements. The legal framework has been central to strengthening the institutional arrangements for the generation of statistical information inMexico. In 2006, a provision in the Constitution established a National System of Statistical and Geographical Information (SNIEG), whose data is to be considered official. The SNIEG Law of 2008 designated the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) as the independent coordinating entity of SNIEG. All of the Government agencies involved in the collection, treatment, generation and dissemination of national statistical and geographical information take part in the work of collegiate bodies of the SNIEG, called specialized technical committees. These committees are responsible for the development or revision of technical standards, and for the establishment of guidelines to define the conceptual framework of the processes involved in each subject area.
5.B.2. The Specialized Technical Committee on Foreign Trade Statistics. For more than 20 years, the Working Group on Foreign Trade Statistics of Mexico, which includes the General Customs Administration, the Central Bank (Banco de Mexico), the Ministry of Economy and INEGI, has been responsible for defining criteria for the production and release of the international merchandise trade statistics of Mexico. Initially, these institutions worked mainly on the basis of official letters and meetings; however, changes in the law on Statistics now provide the legal framework supporting the work of a Specialized Technical Committee on Foreign Trade Statistics, which has assumed responsibility for conduct of the activities of the initial Working Group.a The roles of the various institutions that participate in the Committee are defined as follows:
(a) INEGI is responsible for the coordination of the group’s activities and for the dissemination of official data ensuring the implementation of international recommendations;
(b) The Central Bank México is responsible for the statistical processing of custom records according to agreed criteria;
(c) The General Customs Administration provides the administrative records and their characteristics;
(d) The Ministry of Economy provides information about foreign trade rules and the nomenclature of imports and exports.
5.B.3. Work programme of the Committee. The Committee establishes a three-year work programme and meets approximately once every quarter. The Committee agrees and follows up on an agenda for the issues to be addressed by the Committee. The programme is focused on the improvement of the procedures for the production of trade statistics and the analysis of users’ needs (including those of balance-of-payments and national accounts statisticians). In addition to face-to-face meetings, the Committee members communicate through teleconferencing to address specific issues related to the daily process of the production of statistical results, such as the analysis and clarification of source data.
5.B.4. Main issues addressed by the Committee. The main issues covered in the work programme are the periodic revision of customs records to enable a proper interpretation of the declarations according to international recommendations, and the content of metadata to enable a clear explanation of clearly the characteristics of the records and how they are processed to produce the statistics on international merchandise trade. The Committee agrees on the release calendar of preliminary and revised figures according to the current release policies.
5.B.5. Technical nature of the Committee. The success of the Committee is based on the participation of knowledgeable representatives on behalf of their institutions. In all cases, the participants are technical staff, as opposed to senior management staff; however, each participant receives the support of the respective institution for reaching agreements. The main task of the Committee is to provide timely answers to technical questions in respect of the production of statistical results, taking into account the simplification of customs procedures.
a The agreement on the creation of the Specialized Technical Committee on Foreign Trade Statistics of Mexico and the rules for the operation of this type of Committees are available from www.inegi.org.mx.