Quality description: Preliminary statistics on international trade in goods

1. Relevance of statistics

1.1 Content and use of statistics

Preliminary statistics on international trade in goods convey the first monthly data on the international trade of Finland. The preliminary statistics present the development of Finland's export, import, and balance of trade both in the aggregate and by the other EU Member States, Euro territory, and countries not in the EU.

For the purposes of an economic analysis, the preliminary 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.

1.3 Acts and Decrees

International trade statistics are based on the legislation of the European Community as well as the national Statistics Act (280/04) 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.

The Finnish Customs produces the preliminary statistical figures as original, seasonally adjusted, and trend series. Seasonal adjustment is a calculation method to standardize time series for regularly occurring seasonal variation. The trend series have also been standardized for irregular variation. Irregular variation also includes deviating observations, e.g. the largest vessels.

International trade series are adjusted seasonally through the model-based TRAMO/SEATS method recommended by Eurostat. Information on international trade is used since early 1999 as the material of seasonal adjustment.

For the purposes of seasonal adjustment, the Finnish Customs applies a so-called indirect procedure. This method is used for lower-level series only, and higher-level seasonally adjusted information is derived by aggregating the required lower-level series. As regards the figures of the Finnish Customs, this means that the series relating to EURO, OTHEREU, and EXTERNAL trade are submitted to direct seasonal adjustment. The seasonally adjusted EU and TOTAL trade series result from the aggregations of the aforementioned series.

3. Correctness and accuracy of information

Since the preliminary statistics are published early, the figures include 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 preliminary statistics are announced for abt. one year at a time. The timetable of publication is maintained on the web site of the Finnish Customs. The preliminary statistics on export and import get completed within 40 days upon the expiry of the respective month.

The preliminary statistics get specified with the publication of the monthly statistics abt. nine weeks upon the respective month. During the production of monthly statistics, even earlier months of the same calendar year may become subject to adjustments. The statistics on each calendar year are confirmed by the end of August in the following year.

Due to the method of seasonal adjustment, the adjusted figures on the previous months may change despite no change in the original ones.

5. Availability and transparency / clarity of data

The preliminary statistics on international trade are published on the web site of the Finnish Customs on the dates announced in advance. They can also be ordered to be transmitted by e-mail.

Further information on the preliminary and any other statistics on international trade is available from 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.

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

Preliminary statistics on international trade are being produced since 1997 (on Customs' web site, since 2000).

7. Clarity and consistency / coherence

The preliminary statistics get specified along with the publication of the detailed monthly statistics.

Beside statistics on international trade, statistical information on international trade is obtainable 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 dissimilarities of the concepts and definitions applied by the EU Member States and their most important trading partners may affect the comparability of statistics.