International trade in goods (ext_go_agg)

National Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: STATISTICS ICELAND

Time Dimension: 2000-A0

Data Provider: IS1


Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation


1.2. Contact organisation unit G5: International trade in goods
1.5. Contact mail address 2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 11/10/2013
2.2. Metadata last posted 11/10/2013
2.3. Metadata last update 11/10/2013

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

Monthly data of trade in goods, imports into Iceland and exports from Iceland, by HS6 digits + 2 digits national classification and by SITC classification, by mode of transport, by partner countries, net mass, statistical value (fob for exports and cif for imports) and supplementary units.

3.2. Classification system

Product classifications:

1)    The nomenclature of the Icelandic Customs Tariff, an eight-digit classification that complies with the six digits of the the international classification Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System ( HS) with the addition of two digits. Year 2009-2011, HS 2007++. Year 2012 and onward HS 2012++.

2)    Standard International Trade Classification, SITC, rev. 4. Year 2009 and onward. 

Partner country classification:

Countries are defined according to the international standard IS0-3166. For imports country of origin and for exports country of final destination.

3.3. Coverage - sector

The data covers all external trade of goods for Iceland, i.e. import of goods into Iceland and exports of goods from Iceland.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Definition: The external trade in goods cover Iceland’s trade (import of goods and exports of goods crossing the border) with the rest of the world. In general, SI follows the guidelines in the "United Nations: International Trade Statistics, Concepts and Definitions" as regards what to include in external trade statistics, how and when. The statistics extend to merchandise trade, and by a general definition any imports or exports which add to or subtract from the stock of material resources of a country should be included in external trade statistics.

Relationship of national practices with international or regional guidelines: The most important deviation from the UN guidelines is that in the Icelandic External Trade statistics landings of national vessels in foreign ports are included.

Transactions coverage: In Iceland, the special trade system is employed from mid year 1998, excluding goods imported to customs bounded warehouse or free zones until they are imported into the country. Transactions included both in aggregates and at detailed levels include non-monetary gold, goods for processing, returned goods, goods under financial lease (one year or more), goods with high value of service content (computer software, etc.), ships and aircraft, fish landed abroad from Icelandic vessels and fish landed in Iceland by foreign vessels, parcel post, transactions below threshold value (it is estimated that minor trade is excluded as the threshold is very low, ISK 500) and major improvements.

Exceptions to coverage: Transactions that are not included are goods in transit, goods on temporary admission, bunkers, stores, ballast and dunnage acquired abroad for Icelandic vessels and aircraft, illegal trade, goods consigned by governments to its embassies and diplomatic representatives abroad and goods supplied to foreign embassies and diplomatic representatives stationed in Iceland, monetary gold, goods on operational lease, samples of small value, aid, repairs, goods in export processing zones, migrants' personal effects and entrepot trade.

Unrecorded activity: No estimates are made for under reported or missing trade such as smuggling activity or shuttle trade.

Geographic coverage: Trade with all countries are included, countries defined according to ISO-3166.

3.5. Statistical unit

All enterprises and individuals that import or export goods to and from Iceland.

3.6. Statistical population

All enterprises and individuals that import or export goods to and from Iceland.

3.7. Reference area

External trade statistics in goods cover trade flows entering or leaving the statistical territory of Iceland.

3.8. Coverage - Time

The data are available in COMEXT from January 2007. 

3.9. Base period

Not applicable.

4. Unit of measure Top

Conversion to unit of account: Figures on the value of exports and imports are reached by converting the foreign currency value of the commodity to Icelandic krónur (ISK) based on the daily midrate of the currency concerned.

The reference rate of exchange is a so-called customs exchange rate, which is the official exchange rate as registered by the Central Bank of Iceland on the last working day before the date of customs clearance.

5. Reference Period Top

The reference period for the recording of external trade transaction should be the calendar month of when the imported/exported goods crosses the Icelandic borders. However, in practice the reference period is in general the calendar month during which the customs declaration is accepted.

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Act on Statistics Iceland and official statistics, no. 163/2007.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not available.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Act on Statistics Iceland and official statistics, no. 163/2007, describes that all information which Statistics Iceland collects for statistical purposes concerning specific persons or legal entities is subject to confidentiality. Such information is deemed to be confidential data and shall be used solely for statistical purposes. The same applies to data on persons and legal entities in administrative registers which Statistics.

Iceland utilises for statistical purposes and data generated by linking registers. When statistics are published and disseminated, all possible measures shall be taken to prevent data being traceable to specific private persons or legal entities. Staff of Statistics Iceland must observe confidentiality and the utmost secrecy concerning all confidential data and information and issues of a private nature of which they may become aware in their activities, and should remain confidential. The obligation of confidentiality persists after employment ceases.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Statistics Iceland applies rules of procedure for treating confidential data.


8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

The data is published according to Advance release calendar for each year, which is published on SI website in November the year before. The release time is 9 am.

8.2. Release calendar access

8.3. Release policy - user access

Released data is available to all users at the same time and no advance releases access are granted to external trade figures before releasing the statistics. Data is released according to Advance release calendar for each year, which is publised on SI website in November the year before. Divergences from the calendar are published in advance and new release date is publicly announced.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Monthly data.

10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

Monthly and yearly press relases are published on Statistics Iceland‘s website in relation to every data release.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Yearly publication of Hagtíðindi (Statistical Series) in pdf-format are publised on Statistics Iceland´s website, including main results of every year in question.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Data can be accessed via the following link:


Also produced:

  • Electronic press releases,
  • Statistical series: External trade,
  • Short term indicators,
  • Statistical Yearbook of Iceland,
  • Iceland in figures (booklet),
  • Nordic Statistical yearbook.
10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Users seeking access to confidential data need to hand in a formal application in accordance with Rules of Procedure for Treating Confidential Data, i.e.,in Article 7, utilising confidential data for research.

The Director-General may grant access to a data base containing confidential data on individuals and firms, which are not considered sensitive according to the Protection of Privacy Act, or authorise that the database or parts thereof can be made available to third parties for research purposes, according to the provisions of the Article.

The access to and the utilisation of such data shall be subject to certain preconditions (listed in the Article). 

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Not available.

10.6. Documentation on methodology

Metadata and methodology is published on Statistics Iceland‘s website,

Also available in Icelandic.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

No quality reports are available yet.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Quality assurace framework is in the process of being implemented at Statistics Iceland.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Quality assessment is in the process of being implemented at Statistics Iceland.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Users are the public sector, international organisations, private companies, embassies, the media and the public, who use the data for various purposes, including economic and market research. Important users are other statistical fields like Balance of Payment and National Accounts.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

User satisfaction survey (conducted November 2009), Icelandic key users (in case of external trade users notified of press releases and subscribers of data), showed the frequency of the use of the statistics (most: less than once a month), how it is used (most: to analyse long term development for strategy decision), quality (78%), reliability (96%), unbiased and accurate enough (95%) and timeliness (87%). However, in comments it can be seen that many users did not realise that the questions did only concern trade in goods.

Web hits, download rates and information on publications sold are followed regularly.

12.3. Completeness

Statistics Iceland has not been able to deliver all information required in regulations for external trade in goods, due to the fact that the Costoms Authorities has not yet implemented the SAD document for imports.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

The overall accuracy is considered quite sufficient with regards to coverage. Statistics Iceland only publish Extrastat data and each importer/exporter is obligated to hand in a customs declaration and there is only two ways (air and sea) for goods to travel to and from the country. However, there are timelags and errors in the data (the data is tested to find the errors).

The main sources of error in the data are:

  • Incorrect customs tariff number is chosen for the good in question,
  • The value is incorrect,
  • The weight is incorrect,
  • The supplementary unit is incorrect,
  • Country of origin or country of final destination is incorrect,
  • Exchange rates/currency is wrong and therefore the value is incorrect.

The most common errors are in the weight and supplementary unit.

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Not applicable.

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Monthly data: Preliminary data for each month is published normally within the first 5 days of the next month after the reference month and then the monthly data is normally publised in the end of the next month after the reference month (exceptions June data published in the beginning of August and November data publised in the beginning of January).

Final yearly data is published in the first half of the year after the end of the reference year. 

14.2. Punctuality

97% of press releases delivered on time 2009-2012. The reasons for non-punctual releases are mainly lack of resources.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Statistics Iceland has conducted a research regarding the geographical comparability. Main results showed that Iceland reports more exports to and imports from other countries than other countries reports as imports from and exports to Iceland. The reason for that is not obvious, however due to the small size of the Icelandic economy, Icelandic trade might fall under threshold in larger countries.

15.2. Comparability - over time

The main reason for breaks in time series in the Icelandic trade data are changes in classifications. SITC, rev. 3 (2007 and before) was changed into SITC, rev. 4 (2008 and onwards). Also do yearly changes in HS6+2 affect the comparability of the data.

Apart from changes in classifications, Statistics Iceland changed how the imports and exports values are converted into ISK. From 2008 and onward daily midrate is used, instead of monthly buying and selling rates (2007 and before).

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

No difference is between published trade in goods data and the trade in goods data used in National Accounts and Balance of Payment, as no adjustments are made to the published data on trade in goods when used in NA and BOP (the external trade unit publishes both fob and cif value for imports).

15.4. Coherence - internal

The coherence between final figures and monthly figures are quite good. Main changes occur due to trade in ships and aircraft.

16. Cost and Burden Top

Burden on respondents are estimated at minimum because of the use of administrative data.

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

Original monthly figures of the current year are revised each month together with the release of figures for new months. The revised figures are processed by Eurostat and loaded in Comext, were they replace the existing figures. Annual figures are published in the first half of the year after the end of the reference year. The figures are considered as final at that point of time.

17.2. Data revision - practice

The monthly figures are continuously revised throughout the year and become final in the first half after the year in question. This is a long-standing practice, and is clearly stated in the press releases.

Major changes in methodology are announced in press releases, Hagtíðindi: Utanríkisverslun (Statistical Series: External trade) and on the IS website (

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

The primary source is administrative data, i.e. customs declarations for imports and exports, filled in by importers and exporters. Information on trade of ships, aircraft, etc. is based on additional sources such as the Icelandic Directorate of Shipping and the Civil Aviation Administration. SI conducts a survey regarding trade of ships and aircrafts aboad by Icelandic enterprises, quarterly to larger traders and yearly to SME‘s. The population for the survey is difficult to determine. Business register is utilized, where both NACE code and the name of the enterprises is explored. News can also be helpful.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Goods are recorded when they are cleared by the Customs. SI receives the first day of each month all records that were cleared by the Customs the previous month.

18.3. Data collection

Sources: Information on external trade is primarily based on customs declarations for imports and exports. The Icelandic Directorate of Shipping (Register of Vessels) and the Civil Aviation Administration, Flight Safety Department, supply information regarding purchases and sales of ships and aircrafts. The Directorate of Shipping provides information on ships sent for conversions abroad. SI conducts a survey regarding trade of ships and aircrafts aboad by Icelandic enterprises, quarterly to larger traders and yearly to SME‘s.

Type of data collected: Data collected include the flow (exports and imports), eight digits customs tariff numbers (HS-6+2), values (fob value for exports, fob and cif value for imports), net weight in kilos, supplementary units, currency, exchange rate and country of origin/destination as well as some other information used for data checks or to further describe the data (for example dates, id-numbers, customs duty exemption codes etc).

Basis of country data: Data is published according to country of origin for imports and country of destination for exports.

18.4. Data validation

The data undergoes various error controls at Statistics Iceland during each month processing, for example testing the value, weight, the classification and the country code compared to historical data. Further checks are carried out by Eurostat, on both original data and data loaded in Comext (after validation), essentially to ensure that the data transmission have been carried out satisfactory, that there are no wrong country or product codes (check are made only at HS or SITC rev.3 level) and that aggregates are consistent.

18.5. Data compilation

Data is edited based on the result of error tests in the beginning of the compilation process. After contacting the relevant importer/exported the data is corrected. Information regarding trade of ships and aircrafts, gained from other sources, are added to the dataset quarterly.

18.6. Adjustment

Seasonal adjustment: Data on external trade are not seasonally adjusted. 

Adjustments to improve coverage/classification/timing/valuation: There are ongoing projects with the Customs Authorites to improve coverage, classification and timeliness of the data. Also has institutional cooperation and consultation being increased between Statistics Iceland, Customs Authorities and The Central Bank of Iceland with regards to trade in goods.

19. Comment Top

Not available.

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top