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INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) GOODS

Statistics Directorate    
Definition:
ICT goods are those that are either intended to fulfil the function of information processing and communication by electronic means, including transmission and display, OR which use electronic processing to detect, measure and/or record physical phenomena, or to control a physical process.

ICT goods are defined by the OECD in terms of the United Nations Harmonised System.

Context:
The guiding principle for the delineation of ICT goods is that such goods must either be intended to fulfil the function of information processing and communication by electronic means, including transmission and display, OR use electronic processing to detect, measure and/or record physical phenomena, or to control a physical process.

Another guiding principle was to use existing classification systems in order to take advantage of existing data sets and therefore ensure the immediate use of the proposed standard. In this case, the underlying system is the Harmonized System (HS). The HS is the only commodity classification system used on a sufficiently wide basis to support international data comparison. A large number of countries use it to classify export and import of goods, and many countries use it (or a classification derived from or linked to it) to categorise domestic outputs.

The application of the ICT product definition to selection of in-scope HS categories is a somewhat subjective exercise. The fact that the HS is not built on the basis of the functionality of products makes it much more difficult. The distinction between products which fulfil those functions and products that simply embody electronics but fundamentally fulfil other functions is not always obvious.

It is possible to adopt a narrow or broad interpretation of the guideline, though the OECD chose a broader interpretation, an approach which is consistent with that adopted to develop the ICT sector definition.

ICT goods as defined by the OECD in terms of the HS are presented in the Annex to the paper referred to in the Source Publication.
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Source Publication:
OECD, 2003, A Proposed Classification of ICT Goods, OECD Working Party on Indicators for the Information Society, OECD, Paris.

Cross References:
Information, Communication Technology (ICT) Sector

Hyperlink:
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/5/61/22343094.pdf.

Statistical Theme: Information and communication technology

Created on Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Last updated on Tuesday, December 07, 2004