Frequently Asked Questions
What is the International Price Program (IPP)?
The IPP produces one of the nation’s principal economic indicators, which measures the changes in the prices of goods and services imported into and exported from the United States by companies from over 150 countries. The data we produce includes the change in the prices of imports for the United States’ top six trading partners-Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Import and export price indexes are derived by using statistically valid sampling techniques.
How are the Import/Export Price Indexes used?
The Import/Export Price Indexes are primarily used to deflate foreign trade statistics produced by the U.S. Government. The Import/Export Price Indexes are also a valuable input into the processes of measuring inflation, formulating fiscal and monetary policy, forecasting future prices, conducting elasticity studies, measuring U.S. industrial competitiveness, analyzing exchange rates, negotiating trade contracts, and analyzing import prices by locality of origin. For more information on how IPP data is used please visit our public website at http://www.bls.gov/mxp/ippfaq.htm.
Publications referencing IPP data:
Creating customized graphs using IPP data for the following index types:
- Harmonized System Import and Export Indexes
- SITC Import and Export Indexes
- NAICS Import and Export Indexes
- Locality of Origin
- Services Inbound and Outbound Indexes
- Services Import and Export Indexes
What goods and services do the Import/Export Price Indexes measure?
All goods except for military goods, works of art, used items, charity donations, railroad equipment, items leased for less than a year, rebuilt and repaired items, and selected exports (custom-made capital equipment). Covered services are air freight and air passenger fares.
When is the deadline for submitting my prices?
We need to receive your data by the last business day of the month in order for it to be included in the current month’s indexes.
How long do my items remain in the import/export indexes?
We request price updates for each item initiated into our survey for a period of five years, however, an item may remain in the survey for a lesser amount of time depending on the nature of the item.
Can I provide prices in alternate ways?
In addition to providing your price data through our secure survey site at https://idcf.bls.gov, you may also submit price data by mail, fax, or telephone. If you prefer to provide your prices through an alternate means, you may either contact the IPP HelpDesk or the Industry Analyst listed on the survey after you have logged in to the survey.
Are the data I provide confidential?
Yes. Your company’s participation, including sampled products and prices, will be held in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. BLS will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only, in accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347).
Why have I been chosen to participate in the survey?
The IPP selects sample establishments based upon their relative trade value in imports and exports during the course of a year. After an establishment is selected for inclusion, a BLS field economist visits the establishment to enlist cooperation and to select the exact items that will be priced on a monthly basis.
How do I obtain an account number and password?
Contact the IPP HelpDesk to have your account number and a temporary password sent to you. You can also find your account number listed in the reminder emails sent to you each month you are scheduled to provide us with data. Enter your account number on the home page of our survey at https://idcf.bls.gov and click on the “Forgot Password” link to have your current password emailed to you. You will need to answer a few security questions that you selected when setting up your account before the password is emailed to you.
How do I contact an Industry Analyst with questions related to my price data?
If you are submitting data through our online survey and need to reach the IPP Industry Analyst responsible for your price data, you may contact the IPP HelpDesk and your request will be forwarded to the Industry Analyst or you may call the Industry Analyst using the contact information listed on the survey after you have logged in to the survey.
Last Modified Date: February 12, 2009