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Implementation of NAPCS 2017 and base year 2012 within the International Merchandise Trade Program

Released: 2018-11-21

Today, Statistics Canada is releasing international merchandise trade data classified according to the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) 2017 version 1.0. Previously, NAPCS 2007 was used to classify merchandise trade by commodity.

In addition, price and volume measures previously calculated using 2007 as the base year have been recalculated using a new selection of representative goods, with 2012 as the base year.

NAPCS 2017 values are now available for reference years 1988 to 2014. Previously published values at the total export and total import levels have been preserved, but changes will be apparent at all other levels of the NAPCS 2017 classification.

Base year 2012 prices and volumes classified according to NAPCS 2017 are available for reference years 1997 to 2014. Compared with previously published data, prices and volumes will different for all levels of detail, including total exports and total imports.

For values, prices and volumes, revised data for reference periods from January 2015 to October 2018 will be released on December 6, 2018. Revisions applied to these periods will be more extensive, with changes possible at all levels of detail.

Differences between NAPCS 2017 and NAPCS 2007 trade values

Differences between trade values published under NAPCS 2017 and those published under NAPCS 2007 are due primarily to the introduction of new categories, and changes to the concordance used to map values collected under the Harmonized System (HS) classification to NAPCS.

Comparing values at the international trade section level, which is composed of the same 13 categories in both NAPCS 2007 and NAPCS 2017, trade values are generally similar in both versions of the classification. In 2014, the most recent year available in the historical series, the most significant decrease in the value of exports in NAPCS 2017 compared with NAPCS 2007 is to the consumer goods category (-$5.5 billion, or -9.4%). The most significant increase can be observed in the farm, fishing and intermediate food products category (+$5.1 billion, or +16.6%), with industrial machinery, equipment and parts (+$3.1 billion, or +10.4%) also showing a large increase under NAPCS 2017.

For imports, the most significant decrease in value in NAPCS 2017 is also to consumer goods (-$6.1 billion, or -5.8%) in reference year 2014, with basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products (-$4.4 billion, or -9.7%) also registering a large decrease. The largest increase under NAPCS 2017 is to the industrial machinery, equipment and parts category (+$8.1 billion, or +16.0%).

Differences between base year 2012 and base year 2007 prices and volumes

Differences between prices and volumes produced using base year 2012 and those produced using base year 2007 are due in large part to the change in the base year itself (2012 is now set to 100 for price indexes and volumes). Also contributing to the differences are the selection of new basket items, changes to sources used to measure price movements, and changes to nominal (current dollar) trade values due to the adoption of the NAPCS 2017 classification.

Base year 2012 price and volume statistics have been calculated back to reference year 1997, with a focus on preserving trends in constant dollar volumes published under base year 2007.

At the total export and total import levels, price indexes calculated using base year 2012 generally follow the same trends observed for base year 2007. For both exports and imports, the price indexes calculated using base year 2012 are lower than those calculated using base year 2007. The 2014 total export Paasche price index is 8.7% lower in base year 2012 compared with base year 2007, and the 2014 total import Paasche price index is 5.7% lower.

When nominal trade values are deflated using these lower price indexes, in general the result is higher volumes for base year 2012 relative to base year 2007. Under base year 2012, the total export constant dollar volume for reference year 2014 is 9.6% higher compared with base year 2007, and the base year 2012 total import constant dollar volume is 6.0% higher than that published for base year 2007.

New tables for NAPCS 2017

Table 4 provides a listing of the new data tables that have been created for NAPCS 2017 trade statistics. The previous tables used for NAPCS 2007 have now been archived.

In addition, a new real-time table (12-10-0120-01) will be created based on trade values by commodity published in table 12-10-0121-01. This table replaces real-time table 12-10-0089-01, and will be introduced on December 17, 2018.

  Note to readers

In both NAPCS 2017 version 1.0 and NAPCS 2007, a variant for merchandise import and export accounts is used to categorize traded products. For more information, please see NAPCS 2007 and Variant of NAPCS 2007 – Merchandise import and export accounts, as well as NAPCS 2017 Version 1.0 and Variant of NAPCS Canada 2017 Version 1.0 – Merchandise import and export accounts.

International trade data by commodity are available on a customs basis and balance of payments (BOP) basis. Data included in this release are on a BOP basis. Values are expressed in nominal terms. 'Price' statistics refer to fixed-weighted Laspeyres price indexes, and current-weighted Paasche price indexes. 'Volume' statistics refer to constant dollar volumes, and the volume index, which are calculated using the Laspeyres formula, as well as chained dollars calculated using the Fisher formula. Indexes express the change in magnitude for prices or volumes from a baseline of 100 set for a given base year.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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