Understanding System Challenges in International Trade Statistics for Material Flow Analysis
ifeu paper 2/2018, verfügbar unter www.ifeu.de/ifeu-papers, ifeu – Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung Heidelberg, Heidelberg
The EU depends on the supply of raw materials from other regions. Import dependency is particularly high with regard to metals. Experts forecast that it will increase even more with the transformation of the energy system. However, knowledge about geological metal sources, metal content of products and anthropogenic stocks, yields and losses of recycling, as well as metal content of metal traded internationally as ores, products or slags is poor. This working paper addresses the issue of international trade statistics linking extraction, processing, use and recycling. The paper shows the particular challenges that arise when international trade data is analysed in order to monitor the physical dimension of metal and mineral flows in detail. It demonstrates the normality of mismatches of bilateral trade data and systematically ex-plains different reasons for mismatches. Existing approaches on how to deal with the challenges are explained. From a systems perspective, exact reference points are identified for which trade data provide information. Finally, suggestions are presented for further development of international trade statistics.