An inter-agency working group was established in the beginning of 2013 by Eurostat, the International Trade Centre (ITC), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), with the objective of developing an implementation framework of the SDMX standard in the field of International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS).

The purpose of the Working Group, which is chaired by UNSD, is to specify uniform structures, concept definitions and code lists for the transmission of IMTS data and metadata, taking into account the latest version of the SDMX standard (2.1), the updated international recommendations on International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS 2010), as well as the international statistical community’s goal of expanding the use of SDMX (especially in the data transmission between countries and international organisations and among international organisations).

This website was originally created to supplement information distributed in the first content review of the SDMX-IMTS framework (see information note). And is currently updated with information to facilitate the technical implementation of the framework.


Eurostat, the OECD and the UNSD receive trade data from countries around the world. This data is then shared between the three organisations and with others (such as the FAO, IMF, UNCTAD and ITC). However, the framework for these data and the metadata behind them often differ from region to region making international comparisons difficult. These complexities are only resolved through time-consuming and resource draining actions.

As a result of these challenges, international organisations have been looking at the SDMX standard to harmonise IMTS data exchange through the use of uniform structures and common concept and code list definitions. In recent years, SDMX has been increasingly used to structure and exchange statistical data across a range of statistical domains, across a number of international organisations and in a number of countries. Flagship projects include the use of SDMX in the National Accounts domain to underpin the global implementation of SNA 2008. The launch of the SDMX Global Registry in April 2014 has further facilitated the implementation of projects involving several international organisations by providing a central reference point for all global SDMX objects. These developments indicate that SDMX is mature enough to support the harmonisation and international data exchange needs in the IMTS domain.

See full business case for SDMX-IMTS implementation.

What is SDMX?

SDMX, which stands for Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange, is an ISO standard designed to describe statistical data and metadata, normalise their exchange, and improve their efficient sharing across statistical and similar organisations. It provides an integrated approach to facilitating statistical data and metadata exchange, enabling interoperable implementations within and between systems concerned with the exchange, reporting and dissemination of statistical data and their related meta-information.

See the SDMX-IMTS ver. 1.0 below and for further information.