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Nonetheless, there are a few methods that are currently used to attempt to estimate some of the components of an illicit flow. These tend to concentrate on selected elements of IFFs, and thus do not give a global picture of the size or nature of illicit ﬂows. For example, one methodology starts with errors and omissions in oﬃcial trade statistics as a proxy for illicit ﬂows. An alternative measure starts from estimates on the proceeds of crime. However, the data sources are generally not robust in measuring changes or determining trends across years.
The lack of an agreement on a definition makes developing methodologies for monitoring and assessment of progress difficult. There are also well-known disagreements and dissatisfaction with some of the methods currently utilized to estimate the volume of IFFs. In part, the problems stem from continued lack of conceptual clarity, but fundamentally, given the illicit nature of the flows, approaches to estimates will have problems in accurately capturing the phenomenon due to inadequate and incomplete sources of data.
Gross flows for bilateral differences between export and import values at the product level (Harmonized System six-digit codes) covering 22 jurisdictions in the Arab region, in current prices. Differences due to limited data or values of less than $1 million between countries and products were excluded.