What is the difference between trade indicators derived from the Balance of Payments and trade data from COMTRADE?

Imports and exports data based on Balance of Payments Statistics are provided by the International Monetary Fund. This data follows the format of the sixth edition of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6). 
 
As stated in the BPM6 Manual: “International merchandise trade statistics (IMTS) are usually the main data source for general merchandise in the goods and services account. The international standards for merchandise trade data are set out in United Nations IMTS: Concepts and Definitions. These standards are closely linked to those in the BPM6 Manual. In practice, the data used as sources for general merchandise include customs data, international transactions reporting systems, other administrative data (including value-added tax systems), surveys of traders, or combinations.”
 
When needed, the IMF makes adjustments to this source data, which may be necessary to account for coverage, timing, valuation, and classification that do not meet balance of payments guidelines.
 
COMTRADE data is provided directly as it is reported by country-level statistical agencies. No adjustments or further refinements are made prior to publication.

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