Quality description: International trade in goods

1. Relevance of statistics

1.1 Content and use of statistics

Import and export statistics present the monthly values of Finland's import, export, and balance of trade both in the aggregate and by the countries, groups thereof, and continents.

The statistics on international trade compiled according to the Combined Nomenclature CN present the imported and exported commodities, their values and quantities, and the distribution of the trade according to countries.

The SITC statistics present monthly the import and export of commodities and groups thereof according to countries. Value statistics are indicated all levels of the classification, but it is feasible to express quantitative statistics at the more specific levels of the classification only.

The statistics on international trade in goods are compiled according to the SITC classification of commodities owing to its international comparability. This commodity classification maintained by the UN is applied in most countries. Commodities have been classified on the basis of detailed nomenclatures (HS, CN) into rougher categories which take notice e.g. of the degree of processing. Since no annual changes occur in the SITC classification, comparisons requiring longer time series are also possible.

The structure of import and export is described at a rough level by products by activities, industries, and the main use of goods.

For the purposes of an economic analysis, these statistics give a reliable picture of the newest development of the international trade. They constitute an important instrument for the decision makers as well as planners and researchers in the public and private sectors, both at the national level and within the operations of the EU and several international organizations.

1.2 Central concepts and classifications

Information on the internal trade i.e. the trade between the EU Member States is collected through the Intrastat system from the operators who are obliged to provide information. The statistics on the external trade i.e. the trade with countries not in the EU are obtained from the customs clearance system.

The compilation of statistics on commodities is based on the Combined Nomenclature CN of the EU. The export statistics are gathered as per the countries of destination according to the FOB ("free on board") value, and the import statistics as per the countries of origin according to the CIF ("cost, insurance, and freight") value. The country of origin is the country in which the goods were produced or in which the latest economically important production stage took place. The packaging of the commodities is not regarded as production. As for export, the country of destination is the last country known at the time of the export of the commodities from Finland, either direct or via another country.

The SITC statistics are compiled according to the UN classification standard of the international trade (Standard International Trade Classification SITC, Rev.4, ex 2007). The statistics complying with the SITC classification are derived from the Combined Nomenclature CN according to the definitions of the UN. At the most accurate level, the SITC classification comprises 2 970 commodity categories.

The CPA statistics indicate the structure of import and export according to the Classification of products by activities (CPA). The information complying with the CPA is derived from the Combined Nomenclature (CN). The MIG categories are derived from those of the CPA.

The NACE statistics comprise data according to the classification of industries (Nomenclature générale des activités économiques dans les Communautés européennes, NACE, 2002).

The MIG statistics describe the import and export according to the main use of goods (Main Industrial Groupings, MIG). This product classification is not official.

1.3 Acts and Decrees

International trade statistics are based on the legislation of the European Community as well as the national Statistics Act (280/4) and Customs Act (304/2016). Within the EU legislation, the compilation of statistics is steered by the Basic Regulation on internal trade statistics (EC, 638/2004), Basic Regulation on external trade statistics (EC, 1172/95), and the respective implementation provisions.

The country classification is based on the Commission Regulation (EC, 1106/2012) on the country classification of the statistics on the Community external trade and the trade between the Member States. The country codes comply with those of the ISO/DIS 3166 standard of the International Organization for Standardization.

2. Method description

The information on the trade carried on by Finland with the other EU Member States is collected from the compulsory statistical declarations provided monthly by importers and exporters through the Intrastat system of internal trade. The information on the trade between Finland and Third Countries is obtained from customs declarations, which have to be submitted on every import and export consignment. The data on both internal and external trade are put together to form the statistics on the international trade of Finland.

3. Correctness and accuracy of information

The monthly statistics are preliminary and contain estimates. Thus the figures are changing along with the completion and elaboration of the basic material. The monthly figures are e.g. supplemented by estimations on missing statistics declarations and those on companies with figures remaining below the threshold values. Each EU Member State defines its threshold i.e. minimum value of inclusion in statistics for the calendar year, based on the annual value of importation and exportation by companies.

As a rule, all goods exported from and imported in Finland are recorded to statistics. The prerequisite for the inclusion in statistics is that the goods physically arrive in or depart from this country. By way of exception, water- and aircraft are recorded to statistics upon a change in the status of ownership. Among other things, neither transit transports nor economic measures of insignificant commercial value are included in the statistics. Also the smallest companies are released from the obligation to declare statistics on internal trade. Neither is international trade in services recorded to these statistics.

4. Up-to-dateness and timeliness of published data

The accurate publication dates of the monthly statistics are announced for abt. one year at a time. The timetable of publication is maintained on the web site of Customs. The statistics are published within nine weeks upon the respective month.

The statistics get specified along with the production of the statistics on the following months. The statistics on each calendar year are confirmed by the end of August in the following year.

5. Availability and transparency / clarity of data

The central data of the monthly statistics are published on the web site of Customs on dates announced in advance.

Further information on the monthly and any other statistics on international trade is available on the web site of Customs -> International trade statistics. This site also comprises e.g. the principles of compiling statistics on international trade as well as all the statistics and surveys on the international trade of Finland published by the Finnish Customs. Detailed statistics are also obtainable free of charge from the Uljas database.

Further information is also available from the Statistics Service at:
- telephone: +358 295 5200 (exchange) or +358 295 52335 (Statistics Service direct)
- e-mail: statistics[at]tulli.fi
- Internet: www.tulli.fi
- Statistical database Uljas: uljas.tulli.fi

6. Comparability of statistics

Information on the total import and export of commodities exists since 1856. The total figures of international trade since 1884 are available on the web site of Customs -> International trade statistics/ Tables. The Uljas database contains electronic data since 1987. Statistics older than that are available in print or on microfilm cards at the archives of the Statistics Service.

Information according to CN exists since 1995. The Nomenclature is undergoing changes each year, wherefore it is not possible to create coherent time series on all commodities. Also changes in the list of countries restrict the compilation of country-specific time series. An electronic version of these statistics is available from the Uljas database.

From 1988 to 1994, the statistics on commodities were compiled according to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System HS. Inquiries on these statistics and those complying with still earlier commodity nomenclatures can be addressed to the Statistics Service.

Information according to SITC classification exists since 1988. Changes in the list of countries restrict the compilation of country-specific time series. An electronic version of these statistics is available from the Uljas database.

International trade statistics according to earlier versions of the SITC classification of commodities have been compiled for the years 1958 to 1987. These can be obtained from the Statistics Service.

Information according to products by activities, industries and the main use of goods exists since 1997. An electronic version of these statistics is available from the Uljas database.

7. Clarity and consistency / coherence

The statistics get specified along with the publication of further monthly statistics.

Beside international trade statistics, statistical information on international trade is available from the National Accounts and the Balance of Trade statistics of the Statistics Finland.

Statistical information on the international trade of the EU Member States is available from the publications, web site and Easy Comext database of Eurostat. This database can be consulted free of charge through Internet.

The international trade statistics collected by the UN (the Comtrade databasis) are available for use free of charge at the web site of the UN.

The dissimilarities of the concepts and definitions applied by the EU Member States and their most important trading partners may affect the comparability of statistics.