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(1) Period covered by the Accounts.-Under the provisions of the Law, the particulars in respect of imported goods from which the official trade statistics are compiled are allowed to be given by importers or their agents at any time within 14 working days after the arrival of the ship. Further extension of time is given within which to make any necessary amendments. Such particulars may also be accepted before a ship actually arrives. In the case of exported goods the information is required to be supplied within six days after the final clearance outwards of the exporting ship. It follows that the statistics published for a month do not precisely represent the imports and exports which occurred in that period. In general, the figures show the trade, as declared by importers and exporters on the documents received in the Statistical Office, Customs and Excise, London, during a month, inclusive of all amendments relating to former months received in that Office during the month.
(2) Classification of Articles.-The Tables are arranged throughout in accordance with the Import and Export List. The following classes of goods arriving in this country are not included in the import statistics: (a) Personal luggage, including parcels brought by passengers for private use, so long as such parcels do not contain dutiable goods. Dutiable goods contained in passengers' parcels are included in the statistics; (b) fresh fish and shell fish of British taking, landed from British ships arriving direct from the fishing grounds; (c) ships' stores, Military and Naval Stores on board Government vessels, bunkers (coal and oil), and ballast of no commercial value; (d) mats, sacks, cases, &c., used as packages of imported goods; (e) goods directly imported by Ambassadors and Ministers accredited to this Kingdom; (f) old vessels bought from owners abroad. The following classes of goods are not included in the export statistics : (a) personal luggage and effects; (b) ships' stores, Military and Naval Stores on board Government vessels, and ballast of no commercial value ; (c) mats, sacks, cases, &c., used as the packages of exported goods; (d) old vessels sold to owners abroad.
(3) Value. The value of the Imports represents the cost, insurance, and freight; or, when goods are consigned for sale, the latest sale value of such goods. The value of the Exports represents the cost and the charges of delivering the goods on board the ship, and is known as the "free on board" value. Both quantities and values are based on the declarations of importers and exporters as subsequently checked by the Customs officials. The values shown for Parcel Post in these Accounts are approximate only.
(4) Arrangement under Countries.-Imports are classified as received. from the countries whence they were consigned to the United Kingdom. The countries whence goods are consigned are not in all cases the countries of actual origin of the goods, since goods produced in one country may be purchased by a firm in another country and thence despatched, after a longer or shorter interval, to the United Kingdom. In such a case the second country would be the country of consignment to which the goods would be credited in these Accounts. Exports are credited to the country to which the goods are consigned, i.e., the country of final destination as declared by exporters in their entries, whether that country possesses a sea-board or not.
(5) Definition of Countries.-Throughout these Accounts the expression "United Kingdom" is, prior to 1 April, 1923, used to include Great Britain, Ireland, and the Isle of Man. From that date, the Irish Free State is excluded.
In the tables of Imports and Exports
British India includes the whole of India, except French and
British East Indies includes British India, Straits Settlements
British South Africa includes the Union of South Africa (i.e., Cape
British West Africa includes Gambia, Sierra Leone, Gold Coast
British East Africa includes Zanzibar and Pemba, Kenya,
(6) Transit Trade.-Goods in transit, whether on through Bill of Lading or otherwise, are included in the tables of Imports and of Exports of Imported Merchandise, except such goods as are removed under bond from the importing to the exporting ship at the same or another Port. Accounts of these Transhipments under Bond are given in the "Annual Statement of Trade."
(7) Exports. Exports of Imported Merchandise include not only goods in transit through the United Kingdom (unless transhipped under bond), but also all goods which have not had their value sensibly modified by any process of refining or manufacture, although they have remained for some time in the United Kingdom. Thus goods which have been merely sorted, repacked, or blended, are included in Exports of Imported Goods, but goods which have undergone
any other process are included under the head of Exports of the Produce or Manufacture of the United Kingdom, as are also all goods exported by Parcel Post.
(8) Dutiable Goods.-The Import Accounts of Dutiable Goods are compiled from estimated quantities supplied to the Customs by Importers, and are subject to correction, both as to quantities and as to value, when an official account has been taken by the Department. In subsequent Monthly Accounts such corrections are embodied in the totals of Imports for the expired portion of the current year. The corresponding totals of Home Consumption Accounts include corrections arising from overentries. The quantities "entered for home consumption" are the quantities delivered on payment of duty. In order to arrive at the quantities "retained for home consumption," the quantities exported on drawback, &c., are subsequently deducted.
(9) Shipping.-The Tables of the movements of shipping in the Foreign Trade which are included in these Accounts relate only to entrances and clearances "with cargo," that is to say, they include only those vessels which arrive at a port or ports in the United Kingdom for the purpose of discharging cargo from abroad or which depart from a port or ports in the United Kingdom after loading there cargo for discharge at a destination abroad. If cargo is unloaded from, or loaded on, a vessel at more than one port in the United Kingdom without an intervening call at a port abroad, the vessel is recorded as "entered " at one only of such ports of discharge or as cleared" at one only of such ports of loading. The country from which a vessel is recorded as entered on an inward voyage is that of the most distant port at which cargo was loaded for discharge in the United Kingdom on that voyage, whether cargo from other countries is also loaded in the course of the voyage or not. Similarly a vessel is recorded as cleared" to the country of the most distant port of discharge for cargo loaded on the vessel in the United Kingdom on that voyage.
Movements of vessels between ports in the United Kingdom for the purpose of completing the discharge of cargo from abroad, or of completing the loading of cargo for abroad, are not recorded as coastwise voyages. The record of movements of shipping in the Coasting Trade which are included in these Accounts relate only to the arrivals of vessels for the purpose of discharging cargo taken on board at another port, or other ports in the United Kingdom, and the departures of vessels after loading cargo for discharge at another port, or other ports, in the United Kingdom. Any voyage which includes a call at a port abroad is not deemed to be a coastwise voyage. In the coasting trade, vessels are "entered with cargo" at every port of discharge and are "cleared with cargo at every port of loading.
The arrivals of vessels at ports at which no cargo is discharged, and of departures of vessels from ports at which no cargo is loaded, are recorded as arrivals and departures "in ballast." Particulars of such arrivals and departures are excluded from the tables in these Accounts, but are published in the "Annual Statement of the Navigation and Shipping of the United Kingdom."
(10) Annual Statements.-Full particulars of the Import and Export trade in each Article and with each Foreign country and British possession are contained in the "Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom," which is now available for 1923. Detailed information as to Shipping is published in the "Annual Statement of the Navigation and Shipping of the United Kingdom," which is now available for 1923.
The Monthly Accounts of Trade and Navigation for December last contain preliminary information for the year 1924.