International trade in goods - trade by enterprise characteristics (TEC) (ext_tec)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union


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)
National metadata



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

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1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

G5 - Trade in Goods

1.5. Contact mail address

L.2920 Luxembourg, LUXEMBOURG


2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 06/07/2020
2.2. Metadata last posted 06/07/2020
2.3. Metadata last update 06/07/2020


3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The main objective of the trade in goods statistics by enterprise characteristics (TEC) is to bridge two major statistical domains which have traditionally been compiled and used separately, business statistics and international trade in goods statistics (ITGS). Specifically, this new domain was created to answer questions such as:

  • What kind of businesses are behind the trade flows of goods?
  • What is the contribution of a particular activity sector to trade?
  • What is the share of small and medium-sized enterprises to total trade?
  • What is the share of enterprises that trade with a certain partner country and the amount of trade value they account for?

For this purpose, the trade in goods between countries is broken down by economic activity, size-class of enterprises, trade concentration, geographical diversification and products traded. The new information is used to carry out more sophisticated kinds of analysis, e.g. to evaluate the role of European companies in the context of globalisation or to assess the impact of international trade in goods on employment, production and value added, essential in a globalised world where economies are increasingly interconnected.

 

Available datasets

TEC data are grouped into ten datasets, each one focussing on a specific aspect:

1. Trade by activity sector and enterprise size class — Trade by activity sector and employment size class shows the contributions of economic activities and size classes (measured in terms of number of employees) to total trade. This allows the impact of international trade on employment to be analysed and the importance of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to be estimated.

2. Concentration of trade by activity — International trade being typically dominated by a few businesses, this indicator shows the share of the total trade accounted for by the top 5, 10, 20, etc. companies.

3. Trade by partner country and activity — Trade by partner country shows how many companies were trading with certain partner countries or country zones, and the value they accounted for. This indicator enables the most typical export or import markets to be identified.

4. Trade by number of partner countries and activity — Trade by number of partner countries shows how geographically diversified the export markets are. For imports, it shows the number of countries from which goods are imported.

5. Trade by commodity and activity — Trade by commodity and activity sector allocates the trade of each commodity to the activity of the trading enterprise. This indicator shows which sectors were involved in the trading of each product group.

6. Trade by type of trader — This indicator provides information on how traders are involved in international trade. It shows the number of companies trading within only one flow or in both flows and the trade value these companies account for.

7. Trade by type of ownership — The type of ownership is referring to the concept of control and to affiliation of an enterprise. It indicates whether an enterprise is domestically or foreign controlled and, if domestically controlled, whether it has affiliates abroad or not. This indicator can be used to analyse the impact of globalisation on international trade and to estimate the importance of multinational companies for trade.

8. Trade by export intensity — Export intensity categorises enterprises according to the importance of foreign markets in their sales. It refers to the share of exports in total turnover.

9. Trade by activity sector — In comparison with trade by activity and enterprise size class (first dataset), this indicator provides more details on the activity sector (2- or 3-digit level) but does not contain information about the enterprise size.

10. Trade by partner country and size class — This indicator aims to give insights into the internationalisation of small- and medium sized enterprises. It complements indicator 3 on trade by partner country and activity by applying the same detailed breakdown of partner countries but categorising enterprises by size class instead of activity sector.

3.2. Classification system

Classification of economic activities

Economic activities are classified according to the ‘statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community’ (NACE Rev. 2). NACE Rev. 2 is based on the fourth revision of the United Nations’ International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC Rev. 4). Within the international trade in goods statistics, the NACE classification refers to the economic activity of enterprises that are active in international trade in goods.

 

Product classification

As the TEC domain aims to categorise trade flows according to economic activities, product classifications which are based on the industrial origin of the goods are more suitable for analysis than classifications based on material of goods. For this reason, the Classification of Products by Activity (CPA) is used as the product classification in TEC. CPA is a European version of the United Nations’ Central Product Classification (CPC), but arranged so that each product heading is assignable to a single heading of the European activity classification, the NACE Rev. 2. CPA version 2008 is used for TEC data relating to the reference years 2012-2015. CPA version 2.1 is used since 2016 as reference year.

 

Country classification

Except for the cases listed below, the reporting and partner countries are classified according to the ‘Nomenclature of countries and territories for the external trade statistics of the Community and statistics of trade between Member States’, known as the ‘Geonomenclature’. An alpha-2 coding applies, which means that each country is identified with a two-letter alphabetical code. See the publication Geonomenclature applicable to European statistics on international trade in goods for more information. Exceptions: code CN_X_HK instead of CN for China (except Hong Kong); code UK instead of GB for United Kingdom; code EL instead of GR for Greece.

 

All classifications and correspondence tables are available on Eurostat’s metadata server RAMON.

3.3. Coverage - sector

TEC data cover all activity sectors, from sections A to U of the NACE Rev. 2 classification.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Trade value

The value of traded goods is calculated at the national frontier, on a FOB basis (free on board) for exports and a CIF (cost, insurance, freight) basis for imports. Hence, only incidental expenses (freight, insurance) are included and they are incurred for:

  • exports in the part of the journey located on the territory of the country where the goods are exported from;
  • imports in the part of the journey located outside the territory of the country where the goods are imported to.

 

Number of enterprises

The number of enterprises consists of a count of the number of enterprises involved in trade during at least a part of the reference period. For intra-EU trade, VAT data are used to estimate the number of traders and trade value of the smallest traders which are exempted from Intrastat reporting. These traders account for a limited share of the trade value – at most 3 % of the total value of the intra-EU exports and 7 % of the total value of the intra-EU imports – but in terms of number of enterprises they consist of the majority.

 

Partner country

Trade flows are broken down by partner country.

  • For exports it is the country of destination of the goods. That is the last country to which it is known that, at the time of export, the goods are to be delivered.
  • For imports, the definition of the partner country differs between Intrastat and Extrastat. For extra-EU imports it is the country of origin of the goods; for intra-EU imports it is the country (EU Member State) of consignment of goods.

 

Product

The product is the outcome of economic activity and the generic term used for goods and services.

Product classifications are designed to categorise goods and services that have common characteristics. They provide the basis for preparing statistics on the production, consumption, international trade and distributive trade. However, the scope of TEC is limited to the trade in goods.

 

Economic activity

The economic activity consists in offering goods and services on a given market. An activity is characterised by an input of products, a production process and an output of products. In other words, an economic activity is said to take place when resources such as equipment, labour, manufacturing techniques, information networks or products are combined, leading to the creation of specific goods or services.

Classifications of economic activities are designed to categorise data that can be related to the unit of activity. They provide the basis for preparing statistics of output, the various inputs to the production process, capital formation and the financial transactions of such units. Economic activities are classified according to NACE, the classification used to classify economic entities (enterprises, local units and similar statistical units). Within the international trade statistics, the NACE classification refers to the economic activity of traders, i.e. enterprises that are active in international trade.

 

Number of employees

The number of employees refers to the number of those persons who work for an employer and who have a contract of employment and receive compensation in the form of wages, salaries, fees, gratuities, piecework pay or remuneration in kind. A worker is considered to be a wage or salary earner of a particular unit if he receives a wage or salary from the unit regardless of where the work is done (in or outside the production unit).

The number of employees is a mandatory variable to be recorded in the business registers for each enterprise and local unit. According to the Business Register Regulation, the intention is to use the situation at the end of the year. However, as the end date approach is not harmonised the annual average can also be used as reference.

 

Type of traders

In the context of the TEC data, the type of trader specifies the type of trade activity of the enterprise. It indicates whether the enterprise is involved only in exports or only imports or trade in both flows.

The type of trader aims to describe the heterogeneity of enterprises according to their involvement in trade.

 

Type of ownership

In the context of the TEC data, the type of ownership refers to the concept of control and to the affiliation of an enterprise. It indicates whether an enterprise is domestically or foreign controlled and if it is domestically controlled, whether it has affiliates abroad or not. In other words, the type of ownership refers to the delineation of enterprise groups and categorising them. In this context, the concept of control prevails as referred in article 3 (4) of the Business Register Regulation (EC) No 177/2008. This Regulation applies the European System of Accounts (ESA) definition for the control as set out in point 2.26 of Annex A to Regulation (EC) no 2223/96. The concept of control prevails also in the FATS Regulation and is defined as follows: "‘control’ shall mean the ability to determine the general policy of an enterprise by choosing appropriate directors, if necessary. In this context, enterprise A is deemed to be controlled by an institutional unit B when B controls, whether directly or indirectly, more than half of the shareholders’ voting power or more than half of the shares". This definition is consistent with the ESA definition. 

The type of ownership aims to describe the heterogeneity of enterprises according to their global status. A distinction of enterprises into domestically and foreign controlled enterprises has specific interest because of the important role of foreign affiliates. Furthermore, if domestically controlled enterprises with own affiliates abroad are further distinguished from all domestically controlled enterprises, the population all of multinational enterprises can be identified.

 

Exports intensity

The exports intensity refers to the share of exports of turnover (ratio between exports and turnover).

Exports intensity categorises enterprises according to the importance of foreign markets in their sales. The recent developments in the area of global value chains have raised a question on the heterogeneity of enterprises. It has been traditionally assumed that enterprises in the same activity sector are homogenous in terms of their productivity as well as in generating value-added and employment. However, this may not be a valid assumption any more in the globalised economy as productivity, value-added and employment may depend on the international orientation of enterprises, i.e. their involvement and position in the global value chains. Enterprises with high exports intensity are often also large-scale importers.

3.5. Statistical unit

The statistical unit shall be the enterprise. However the enterprise concept has not yet been implemented by all the reporting countries. When the enterprise concept has not yet been implemented, reporting countries use the legal unit as an approximation of the statistical unit.

Legal unit and enterprise are defined as follows:

  • The legal unit is a part of the legal and administrative world. Only a legal unit may enter into contracts, be an owner of a property, rights or goods (i.e. production factors). However, a legal unit does not always reflect an economic activity. This is because a legal unit is a construct of law and administration.
  • The enterprise is the smallest combination of legal units that is an organisational unit producing goods or services, which benefits from a certain degree of autonomy in decision-making, especially for the allocation of its current resources. An enterprise carries out one or more activities at one or more locations. It may also be a sole legal unit.

The Business Register Regulation establishes a link between the business registers and the registers of intra- and extra-EU trade operators through a common unit of reference, namely the legal unit. The same regulation also defines the link between the legal unit and the enterprise. Via the legal unit, trade in goods data can then be linked to enterprise characteristics available in the Business Register such as the economic activity or the number of employees.

3.6. Statistical population

The statistical population should comprise all the enterprises involved in intra- and extra-EU trade flows. However, in practice, the linkage between the Trade Register and the Business Register is not systematically straightforward as there may be more complicated linkages or the linkage may not always provide expected outcomes. This relates in particular to the following cases:

  • Intra-annual business demography changes;
  • Large and complex businesses;
  • Incomplete business register data; and
  • VAT-groups.

 

The reference population used in the compilation of TEC datasets relates to traders who have reported trade transactions under a valid ID number and were successfully matched with the Business Register. This means that the enterprise characteristics reported in the TEC datasets refer only to a part of total trade. Are out of scope:

  • Adjustments for missing trade (trade below threshold and non-response in intra-EU trade; missing, delayed and incomplete records for extra-EU trade);
  • Trade carried out by non-resident traders as such traders cannot be associated to an enterprise via the national Business Register; and
  • Trade carried out by private individuals.
3.7. Reference area

Data are available for all the EU Member States as well as for the following non-EU countries:

  • United Kingdom;
  • All EFTA countries except Liechtenstein for which a derogation applies: Iceland, Norway and Switzerland; and
  • Some enlargement countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Turkey.

Note that only datasets 1 to 6 are provided by all the reporting countries. The country coverage is partial for datasets 7 to 10 as the information is provided only on a voluntary basis.

3.8. Coverage - Time

From 2012 as reference year

3.9. Base period

Not applicable


4. Unit of measure Top
  • Trade value in thousands of euros
  • Number of enterprises


5. Reference Period Top

The reference period is the same as for monthly trade in goods statistics. It should be the calendar month of export respectively that of import of the goods. However, in practice the reference period is in general:

  • the calendar month during which the customs declaration is accepted by the national authorities for extra-EU trade; and
  • the calendar month during which VAT becomes chargeable on intra-EU acquisitions for intra-EU trade.


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

General statistical legislation

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council on European statistics

 

Intra-EU trade legislation (or Intrastat)

  • Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council
  • Implementing Commission Regulation (EC) No 1982/2004

 

Extra-EU trade legislation (or Extrastat)

  • Regulation (EC) No 471/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council
  • Implementing Commission Regulation (EC) No 92/2010
  • Implementing Commission Regulation (EC) No 113/2010

 

Business Registers legislation

  • Regulation (EC) No 177/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a common framework for Business Registers for statistical purposes
  • Implementing Commission Regulation (EC) No 192/2009
  • Implementing Commission Regulation (EU) No 1097/2010

 

All regulations relevant for the European statistics on international trade in goods can be found in the publication Legislation on European statistics on international trade in goods or consulted from the ‘Legislation’ page of the ‘International trade in goods’ section on Eurostat website. All legal texts are also accessible online on Eur-Lex.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable


7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Confidential data is defined as ‘data which allow statistical units to be identified, either directly or indirectly, thereby disclosing individual information. To determine whether a statistical unit is identifiable, account shall be taken of all relevant means that might reasonably be used by a third party to identify the statistical unit’.

For TEC data, the principle of active confidentiality applies, which means that the National Statistical Authorities (NSAs) take the initiative to suppress the data whose dissemination by Eurostat would make it possible to identify an enterprise or a trader. The legal provisions (articles 13a (8) of Regulation (EC) No 1982/2004 and 15(9) of Regulation (EU) No 113/2010, respectively relating to the compilation of statistics on trade by enterprise characteristics for intra- and extra-EU) define only the principle to be applied. The application of confidentiality in practice is under the responsibility of the NSAs. Each NSA should establish the rules to define confidential data. This implies also that it is the reporting countries’ responsibility to mark their data as confidential before their transmission to the Commission (Eurostat).

Besides the legal provisions, the reporting country should follow a number of practical recommendations in order to ensure data disclosure with a minimum loss of information. These recommendations are listed below:

  • Confidential data should be clearly flagged (‘C’).
  • It should indicate whether the suppression concerns either the trade value or the number of enterprises or both variables.
  • Unintentional revealing of confidential data should be avoided by applying secondary confidentiality. Secondary confidentiality needs to be applied when there is only one confidential flag in a dataset and the related cell is under an aggregate. In this case, the cell marked as confidential can be revealed by simply subtracting the aggregate of the rest of the cells from the total.
  • The links between TEC datasets should be taken into account when defining confidential records. This means that a record referring to an activity sector which is marked as confidential in one dataset, e.g. Dataset 2 should also be marked as confidential in any related dataset, e.g. Dataset 6.
  • Unnecessary suppression should be avoided if the only record flagged ‘C’ is a minor fraction of the total trade or if it refers to an unknown class.


8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

No release calendar as such but the practice to publish TEC data at country level once they have passed all the quality checks. If all the validation rules are met, this means within a few days after the data transmission by the reporting country to Eurostat. Note that this practice applies both for a new reference year and for revisions.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the EU legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat’s website (see item 10 ‘Accessibility and clarity’) respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.


9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Statistics by enterprise characteristics are updated once a year with a new reference year. Historical data are exceptionally revised.


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

No news release

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Statistics Explained is an official Eurostat website presenting all statistical topics in an easily understandable way. Together, the articles make up an encyclopaedia of European statistics, completed by a statistical glossary clarifying all terms used and numerous links to further information and the very latest data and metadata. One of the Statistics Explained articles relating to international trade in goods statistics is dedicated to TEC data. See the article International trade in goods by enterprise size.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

All TEC datasets can be accessed via the following channels:

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Not applicable

10.6. Documentation on methodology

Compilers guide on European statistics on international trade in goods by enterprise characteristics (TEC) — The main objective of this Guide is to provide a comprehensive overview of the compilation of indicators on trade in goods by enterprise characteristics (TEC). It aims to serve as a methodological handbook providing the necessary definitions, instructions and methodological guidance for the regular compilation of TEC statistics.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Quality Report on European statistics on international trade in goods — This Report provides users with a tool to assess the quality of the international trade in goods statistics published by Eurostat. The data quality can be assessed against indicators covering the following components: relevance, accuracy, timeliness and punctuality, accessibility and clarity, comparability and coherence.


11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Quality reporting and assessment

Both Intrastat and Extrastat basic acts (in force since 2009 for Intrastat and since 2010 for Extrastat) include standardised quality articles. These articles are in line with the ESS Quality definition, European Statistics Code of Practice and the Regulation of European Statistics. In particular, they require the Member States to provide Eurostat with annual quality reports within a fixed deadline. Since 2012, TEC data are covered by those reports which are used for quality and compliance assessments.The following TEC quality indicators are compiled for each reference year:

  • Number of missing mandatory datasets;
  • Number of enterprises successfully matched with the Business Register;
  • Global trade value of enterprises successfully matched with the Business Register;
  • Percentage of confidential cells in each table;
  • Confidentiality practices for TEC data;
  • Time lag (in number of calendar days) between end of reference period and date of transmission of first results to Eurostat;
  • Number of delayed data deliveries; and
  • Average delay of the delayed data deliveries.

 

Data quality checks prior to any dissemination

The prime responsibility for ensuring the data completeness and accuracy rests with the National Statistical Authorities. Further checks are carried out by Eurostat, essentially to ensure that the transmission of the requested data has been carried out satisfactorily, that datasets are complete, error-free, and there are no extreme values (outliers).

11.2. Quality management - assessment

International trade in goods statistics by enterprise characteristics are derived from two data sources: the monthly detailed trade in goods data and data taken from the business registers. Therefore their quality primarily depends on the quality of these two data sources.

It also depends on the methodology followed for the linkage between the Trade Register and the Business Register and the way the methodologically complex issues have been handled.


12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

Trade in goods data broken down by economic activity, size-class of enterprises, trade concentration, geographical diversification and products traded are used to carry out more sophisticated kinds of analysis, e.g. to evaluate the role of European companies in the context of globalisation or to assess the impact of international trade in goods on employment, production and value added, essential in a globalised world where economies are increasingly interconnected.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

No user survey on TEC data was carried out so far but direct feedback from main users like the Commission policy DGs indicates a good level of satisfaction as regards the data coverage and indicators available. The timeliness is however assessed as to be improved, which has been taken into account in new legal provisions currently in preparation.

12.3. Completeness

International trade in goods statistics by enterprise characteristics are based on the EU legislation which is directly applicable in the EU Member States. In particular, the Intrastat and Extrastat regulations include a clear and precise list of all the TEC mandatory datasets to be provided by the Member States to Eurostat. All the mandatory datasets are provided by all the Member States.


13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

The accuracy is tackled at national and European levels, by eliminating as much as possible the non-sampling errors. It should be noted that the accuracy of TEC data depends not only on the accuracy of trade in goods statistics but also on the quality of the trade and business registers.

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable.

Neither the international trade in goods statistics, nor the business registers are affected by errors related to sample surveys.

13.3. Non-sampling error

The accuracy of TEC data is primarily impacted by issues in the collection and compilation of detailed trade in goods statistics (e.g. thresholds, non-response, delayed declarations, estimated trade value) as well as in the management of the trade and business registers (e.g. invalid ID number in the Trade Register, missing activity sector in the Business Register).

Issues may also occur in the linkage between the Trade Register and the Business Register. Although the general principles on data linking are clear and straight-forward, there are several methodologically complex issues which need to be addressed more carefully, like business demographic changes, problematic linkages caused by complex business structures, missing or estimated data and non-established traders. 


14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Annual data by enterprise characteristics shall be provided by the reporting countries to Eurostat no later than 18 months after the end of the reference year. This means that data relating to the reference year Y (e.g. 2018) shall be provided by 30 June Y+2 (e.g. June 2020). The transmitted data are usually disseminated by Eurostat with a time lag of a couple of months.

14.2. Punctuality

Nearly all EU Member States are currently able to meet the legal transmission deadline. This deadline is also generally met by the EFTA and enlargement countries providing TEC data.


15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

From a methodological point of view, the comparability across countries is ensured by the implementation of the concepts and definitions set up by the EU legislation and by the application of the complementary guidelines provided by the Compilers guide on European statistics on international trade in goods by enterprise characteristics (TEC).

However in practice, not all the requirements have been fully implemented by all countries, which lower the level of geographical comparability. One of the main issues is the definition of the statistical unit.

15.2. Comparability - over time

Changes due to definitions, classifications, coverage or methods will have an impact on the continuity of the time series. No methodological change occurred in recent years. The only change relates to the definition of the intra- versus extra-EU areas following Croatia's adhesion to the EU in 2013.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Apart from the TEC domain, information on trade flows can be found in the aggregated and detailed trade in goods statistics. The intra-domain checks carried out by Eurostat before any data dissemination ensure the coherence between the trade values published in TEC datasets and trade values coming from aggregated and detailed trade in goods statistics.

15.4. Coherence - internal

The internal coherence of the TEC datasets is ensured by the intra- and inter-dataset checks carried out by Eurostat before any TEC data dissemination. See item 18.4 ‘Data validation’ for more details.


16. Cost and Burden Top

TEC data are derived from information made available by two major statistical domains: the international trade in goods statistics and the business statistics. No specific data collection is then necessary, which means that the burden is null for the respondents, i.e. for the traders and businesses.

The cost of TEC data only relates to the compilation step carried out by the National Statistical Authorities.


17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

As data are generally deemed to be final at the time of transmission to Eurostat, most reporting countries have no formal revision policy. However should any major revisions occur in the context of the compilation of monthly trade in goods statistics, these should be reflected in the TEC data, which should be revised accordingly, and re-transmitted to Eurostat.

Eurostat accepts any data revisions insofar as they comply with all validation rules.

17.2. Data revision - practice

Statistics by enterprise characteristics are only exceptionally revised by the countries.


18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

International trade in goods statistics by enterprise characteristics are derived from two data sources: the monthly detailed trade in goods data and data taken from the business registers.

Trade in goods data are collected on the basis of:

  • a census for the intra-EU trade, the census units being the traders whose annual trade value is above the national Intrastat exemption threshold and who are then liable to submit an Intrastat declaration; and
  • administrative forms, the customs declarations, for the extra-EU trade.

Note that missing data (exempted intra-EU traders, missing Intrastat declarations, incomplete or delayed customs declarations) are estimated by the National Statistical Authority in order to disseminate trade in goods data covering 100% of the trade but those estimates are not part of the TEC data.

The national business registers serve as the sources for the enterprise characteristics. No samples are drawn from the registers, but the full registers are processed. Some differences in the coverage among the countries can occur. Different administrative sources depending on national law, as well as surveys, are used to update the business registers, and in some countries VAT thresholds for registration apply.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Annual

18.3. Data collection

Collection of trade in goods data

  • For intra EU trade, any VAT-registered business that trades goods with other EU Member States is required to provide information on its transactions. The information is obtained directly by the national authority responsible for the collection of trade in goods statistics, using the various media available (in paper or electronic form). All businesses are legally required to provide information on their total sales and purchases to and from other EU countries on their VAT returns. The largest ones also submit Intrastat declarations on a monthly basis within a fixed deadline.
  • For the compilation of extra-EU trade statistics, the standard data source is the customs declaration submitted by businesses and, in some cases, by private individuals involved in an international transaction of goods with a non-EU country. The customs declaration may be in paper form — the Single Administrative Document (SAD) — but is most commonly in electronic format.

 

Collection of data for the Business Register

The maintenance of business registers is normally based on the effective use of various administrative and statistical data sources. The frequency of updating the business registers depends on the kind of unit, the variable considered, the size of the unit and the source generally used for the update. As a general rule, key characteristics such as economic/stratification variables should be updated annually. Characteristics which are considered to evolve rapidly or are regarded as key units by users should be updated more frequently. Examples include large and complex units and units classified to economic activities which are known to change frequently.

18.4. Data validation

TEC data disseminated by Eurostat have passed the following quality checks:

  • Intra-dataset checks: completeness of each dataset and uniqueness of the records, validity of the codes, validity of code combinations across the different dimensions, inter-record consistency checks;
  • Inter-dataset checks: consistency of trade values and numbers of enterprises related to similar combinations across the datasets;
  • Intra-domain check: check of the coherence between trade values published in TEC datasets and trade values coming from aggregated and detailed trade in goods data.

See the section ‘Data validation’ of the Compilers guide on European statistics on international trade in goods by enterprise characteristics (TEC) for information on the main validation rules implemented.

18.5. Data compilation

Not applicable

18.6. Adjustment

The trade in goods data used to compile the TEC data do not include adjustments for missing trade (trade below threshold and non-response in intra-EU trade; missing, delayed and incomplete records for extra-EU trade). There are no specific adjustments made to the TEC data.


19. Comment Top

All reference documents and relevant information on TEC data can be found on the ‘Focus on enterprise characteristics (TEC)’ page of the ‘International trade in goods’ section on Eurostat website.


Related metadata Top


Annexes Top