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The Robust Estimation of Monthly Prices of Goods Traded by the European Union


The general problem addressed in this document is the estimation of “fair” import prices from international trade data. The work is in support to the determination of the customs value at the moment of the customs formalities, to establish how much duty the importer must pay, and the post-clearance checks of individual transactions. The proposed approach can be naturally extended to the analysis of export flows and used for other purposes, including general market analyses. The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has previously addressed (Arsenis et al., 2015) the trade price estimation problem by considering data for fixed product, origin and destination over a multiannual time period, typically of 3 or 4 years, leading to price estimates that are specific for each EU Member State. This report illustrates a different model whereby each price estimate is calculated on a monthly basis, using data for fixed time (month), product and origin. The approach differentiates between trades originated from different third countries and it is therefore particularly useful to monitor trends and anomalies in specific EU trade markets. These Estimated European Monthly Prices are publishes every month by the Joint Research Centre in a dedicated section of the THESEUS website (, accessible by authorized users of the EU and Member States services. The section, called Monthly Fair Prices, also shows the time evolution of worldwide price estimates computed with the same approach by fixing only time and product.