North/South Trade: A Statistical Ground-Clearing Exercise

Developing an understanding of trade flows within a North/South context is complicated by the existence of three official sources of statistics on trade across the shared border. Some confusion exists over fundamental issues such as the quantum of North/South trade flows, the balance of trade between the North and the South and the sectoral composition of such trade. This report clears the ground of the confusion that surrounds these basic issues, as far as is possible within current data collection procedures. It uncovers the definitional and methodological differences that account for the apparent inconsistencies between the three official data series and allows a reliable baseline indicator to be established against which future movements can be assessed.