Definition: External account of goods and services

National accounts

Imports of goods and services are recorded on the resources side of the account and exports of goods and services on the uses side. The difference between resources and uses is the balancing item in the account, called 'external balance of goods and services'. If it is positive, there is a surplus for the rest of the world and a deficit for the total economy and vice versa if it is negative. In order to be consistent with measures of the output of resident units, imports are valued at an equivalent of the basic price, i.e. net of import taxes but including import subsidies. Imports of goods recorded in the external account of goods and services are valued f.o.b., i.e. at the border of the country of export. Exports of goods are also valued f.o.b. When transport and insurance services included in the f.o.b. value of imports of goods (i.e. between the factory and the border of the country of export) are provided by resident units, they must be included in the value of exports of services by the economy importing the goods. Conversely, when transport and insurance services included in the f.o.b. value of exports of goods are provided by non-resident units they must be included in the value of imports of services by the economy exporting the goods.
Source:
Eurostat, "European System of Accounts - ESA 1995", Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 1996
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