Import and Export Trade statistics are a rare example of real and genuine international co-operation. Virtually all the countries of the world use a common system of product classification, which is the six-digit Harmonised System (HS), agreed by the World Customs Organisation (WCO). The system starts at a 2 digit chapter breakdown consisting of 97 broad product sectors. Each of these sectors are further subdivided into 4 and 6 digit classifications. The 6 digit Harmonised System covers over 6,000 product headings. Individual countries can add extra digits to provide greater product detail, up to a total of 10 digits. For example in the EU the eight digit Combined Nomenclature classification subdivides the 6 digit HS:

Code System Product
22 HS Beverages, spirits and vinegar
2208 HS Sprits and liqueurs
220820 HS Spirits obtained by distilling grape wine and marc
22082012 CN Cognac
22082014 CN Armagnac
22082026 CN Grappa
22082027 CN Brandy de Jerez

The trade figures are collected by Customs Authorities at the point of entry/exit except for Intra-EU trade which is collected by direct enquiry from manufacturers and traders.