1.1. The present chapter stresses the importance of the legal framework for the compilation and dissemination of international merchandise trade statistics (IMTS), including for ensuring the availability of, and access to, the necessary data sources such as customs records (see chap. II) and non-customs sources (see chaps. III and IV), for establishing effective institutional arrangements (see chap. V) and for ensuring the protection of confidentiality (see also chap. XXVI). Country practices are described in several case studies.