2.3.2024 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The statistics on international trade in goods and services describe exports and imports of goods and services with a broad classification of products and areas at quarterly level. The statistics describe the entire international trade and form a link between goods trade according to the IMTS manual (International Merchandise Trade Statistics) published by Finnish Customs and the BPM manual (Balance of Payments Manual) published by Statistics Finland. For trade in services, the recommendations of the United Nations Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services (MSITS 2010) are followed.

International trade in goods and services is included in the current account, so the statistics form part of Finland’s balance of payments. Balance of payments statistics are based on Finland’s statutory obligations to produce and report balance of payment statistics to the European Central Bank (ECB) (ECB guidelines ECB/2011/23) and to Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union (Commission Regulation (EU) No 555/2012), as well as to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The data are also used to produce data for the rest of the world sector in national accounts.
 

Statistical population

The population of the statistics is formed by institutional units belonging to the Finnish national economy. A unit is a resident unit of a country when it has a centre of predominant economic interest on the economic territory of that country, that is, when it engages for an extended period (one year or more) in economic activities on this territory.

Statistical unit

The statistical unit is an institutional unit.

An institutional unit is an economic entity characterised by decision-making autonomy in the exercise of its principal function. A resident unit is regarded as constituting an institutional unit in the economic territory where it has its centre of predominant economic interest if it has decision-making autonomy and either keeps a complete set of accounts, or is able to compile a complete set of accounts.
 

Unit of measure

The used unit of measure is EUR million.

Reference period

The statistics describe international trade in goods and services at quarterly level.

Reference area

The reference area for the statistics is the Finnish national economy.

Sector coverage

The statistics cover trade with foreign units of units belonging to the Finnish national economy.

Time coverage

The statistics are compiled in accordance with international statistical standards and the IMF Balance of Payments Manual (6th edition 2009), which ensures comparability of the statistics. In addition, the recommendations of the United Nations Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services 2010 that are in line with the Balance of Payments Manual are followed. The publication of the renewed statistics began in summer 2016.

Frequency of dissemination

The data of the statistics on international trade in goods and services are disseminated in a release quarterly. In addition, one month after the release a revision publication is made where the database tables are updated. Thus, the database tables are updated eight times per year in total.

Concepts

CIF price

The price includes costs, insurance and freight between the ports of loading and destination. The seller pays the sea freight to the agreed port of destination and takes out marine insurance for the goods in the buyer’s favour.

CIF-FOB conversion

Finnish Customs compiles statistics on imports of goods at CIF value. In balance of payments, imports of goods are at FOB value. To attain the FOB value, freight and insurance costs between the ports of loading and destination are deducted from imports of goods.

Computer services

Computer services include hardware, software and data processing services. The item comprises hardware and software consultancy and implementation services; maintenance and repair of computers and peripheral equipment; disaster recovery services, provision of advice and assistance on matters related to the management of computer resources; analysis, design and programming of systems ready to use, including web page development and design; technical consultancy related to software; licence fees collected for the use of software (other than ordered by the customer); development, production, supply and documentation of customised software, including operating systems made on order for specific users; systems maintenance and other support services, such as training provided as part of consultancy; data processing services, such as data entry, tabulation and processing on a time-share basis; web page hosting services, i.e. provision of server space on the Internet to host customers’ web pages; and computer facilities management.

Construction

Construction covers the creation, management, renovation, repair or extension of fixed assets in the form of real estate, land improvements of civil engineering nature and other constructions such as roads, bridges and dams. This also includes related installation and assembly work, site preparation and general construction, as well as specialised services such as painting, plumbing and demolition.

Country of consignment

The country of consignment for imports refers to a member country from which the good was originally sent to be exported to Finland either directly or through a second country.

Country of destination

The country of destination for exports refers to the latest known member country to which the good has meant to be exported from Finland.

Country of origin

The country of origin is the country where the good was produced or manufactured. If the good was manufactured in two or several countries, the country of origin is the country where the latest significant and economically justified manufacturing or processing has taken place.

Delivery of goods to vessels

Deliveries of vessel spare parts and supplies, vessel fuel and lubricants, goods meant to be sold to passengers on vessels and to be consumed there by passengers or the crew for vessels and aircraft in professional international traffic.

Direct leasing

Leasing based on an agreement where the lessee gets the user right but where the risks and benefits of ownership are not transferred to the lessee. Also includes leasing (rental) and charter of ships, aircraft and transportation equipment, such as railway cars, containers and rigs without operators or crew.

FOB price

The value of goods at basic prices. The seller delivers the goods to the buyer in the port of loading.

Factoryless production

In factoryless production, an enterprise located in Finland (factoryless producer) has outsourced all its production, but its other activities, such as the head office, sales and research and development are located wholly or partly in Finland. A factoryless producer located in Finland organises the international manufacturing process. In addition to manufacturing costs, the sales price of a product includes planning, administration, patents and knowhow, marketing and financing. Especially in high technology goods these immaterial inputs may be considerable compared to the value of materials and assembly. In the balance of payments, the difference between sales and purchases (the margin of sales from abroad to abroad) in factoryless production is recorded in Finland in goods exports.

Financial services

As a rule, financial services cover financial intermediation of banks and other financial corporations and support activities for them except insurance and pension services.

Foreign trade in services

Foreign trade in services takes place when an economic actor (e.g. a business enterprise) resident in Finland and an economic actor resident abroad conduct trade in services. The exports of services generate income. The imports of services generate an expense item. The distinguishing criterion of foreign trade in services is that a domestic company receives compensation from a foreign economic actor for a service provided, or pays a foreign economic actor for a service it has provided.

Global manufacturing services

When goods are sent abroad for processing, the producer owns the raw materials and the finished product and carries the risk for the whole production process. Economic ownership lies with the foreign producer. The balance of payment recordings depend on whether it is a question of goods sent to Finland for processing charged to a foreign unit or goods sent abroad for processing charged to a Finnish unit.

Global production

Global production covers goods sent to Finland for processing charged to a foreign unit, goods sent abroad for processing charged to a Finnish unit, merchanting and factoryless production.

Goods sent abroad for processing charged to a Finnish producer

When goods are sent abroad for processing, the Finnish producer owns the raw materials and the finished product and carries the risk for the whole production process. Economic ownership is in Finland. The Finnish producer pays to the foreign processor, which can also be its affiliate, compensation for the work done (service). The manufacturing premium is recorded in balance of payments in Finland's imports of services. Goods exported from Finland for processing and finished goods imported back to Finland are removed in the balance of payments from Finland's goods trade, because their ownership does not change. Goods bought from aboard that have been remodelled abroad and goods sold abroad that have been manufactured abroad are, in turn, added in the balance of payments to Finland's goods trade.

Goods sent to Finland for processing charged to a foreign producer

When goods are sent to Finland for processing, the producer owns the raw materials and the finished product and carries the risk for the whole production process. Economic ownership is abroad. The foreign producer pays to the Finnish processor, which can also be its affiliate, compensation for the work done (service). The manufacturing premium is recorded in balance of payments in Finland's exports of services. Goods imported to Finland for processing and finished goods exported back from Finland are removed in the balance of payments from Finland's goods trade, because their ownership does not change.

Goods trade in balance of payment terms

Goods trade in balance of payments terms includes goods whose ownership changes between a domestic and foreign unit, and which are not parts of a service. Usual merchandise is recorded at market value according to the FOB principle. Exports are recorded in the statistics by the country of destination, imports from the EU area by the country of consignment and imports from outside the EU by the country of origin.

Goods trade in customs terms

Finnish Customs produces statistics on goods trade across Finnish borders. Data on Finland's trade with countries outside the EU are derived from the customs clearance system. Statistical data are reported monthly by importers and exporters to Finnish Customs concerning trade inside the EU according to the Intrastat system. Finnish Customs compiles statistics on imports at CIF value.

Information services

Provision of news, photographs and background information to the media, database services, optical or printed media and web search portals, non-bulk subscriptions to newspapers and periodicals, other production of web contents, and library and archiving services.

Insurance and pension services

Insurance and pension services comprise direct insurance, reinsurance, activities auxiliary to insurance services and pension and standardised guarantee services. Direct insurance can be classified into life insurance, freight insurance and other direct insurance. Pension and standardised guarantee services are divided into pension services and standardised guarantee services. These services are estimated or valuated rather based on service charges included in total insurance premiums than the total value of insurance premiums.

Maintenance and repair services n.i.e.

Maintenance and repair services n.i.e. cover repairs made to keep the good in operation, improve the functionality or capacity of the product or extend its service life, excluding cleaning of transport equipment, construction maintenance and repair, and repair and maintenance of computers. The repairs may be performed at the site of the repairer or elsewhere.

Manufacturing services

Manufacturing services comprise processing, assembly, marking, packaging and so forth, by an enterprise that does not own the goods in question. The manufacturing service is performed by a unit that receives payment for it from the owner. Manufacturing services are also referred to as goods sent abroad for processing, processing and paid work.

Merchanting services

In merchanting, a Finnish economic unit purchases a good from abroad and resells it without changes abroad without the goods ever entering Finland. Merchanting is recorded exclusively in exports.

Other business services

Research and development services, legal services, accounting, auditing, bookkeeping and tax consultancy services, management consulting and public relations services, advertising, market research, public opinion polling, architectural services, engineering services, other technical services, waste treatment and depollution, services for agriculture and forestry and fishing, services related to mining and quarrying and oil and gas extraction, direct leasing services, trade-related services, employment services, and other business services.

Personal, cultural and recreational services

Audiovisual services, artistic services, education services, health services, heritage and recreational services and other personal services. Services associated with the production of motion pictures, radio and television programmes and musical recordings. Renting of audiovisual products and related products and fees for watching rights to encrypted television channels, mass-produced audiovisual products sold to continuous use, which are supplied electronically, fees received by performing artists, writers, composers, etc. Services supplied between resident and non-resident actors relating to education, such as correspondence courses and education via television or the Internet, as well as teachers or the like, who supply services direct in host economies. Services provided by doctors, nurses and public health nurses and corresponding professionals, as well as laboratory and corresponding services rendered either remotely or on-site. Services related to museums and other cultural, sports, gambling and recreational activities except for services involving persons outside the national economy where resident. Social work activities, domestic services by paid staff and so on.

Project deliveries

Project deliveries may include turnkey deliveries of machines, production equipment and industrial plants, including installation and assembly of machines and other related construction work.

Public administration services n.i.e.

Transactions made by general government (excl. international organisations) concerning goods and services which cannot be classified under other items.

Research and development services

Services related to basic research, applied research and experimental development of new products and processes. Research and development in the fields of natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Development of technologically advanced software. Commercial research in the fields of electronics, medicine and biotechnology.

Royalties and licence fees n.i.e.

Charges collected for the use of intellectual property n.i.e. include charges for the use of propriety rights (such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, protection of methods and designs, incl. trade secrets and franchising). These rights may be produced from research and development and marketing, and charges for licences to reproduce and/or distribute intellectual property embodied in produced originals or prototypes (such as copyrights of books, manuscripts, software, film work, recordings) to make them available to the public or related rights (like television, cable television and satellite broadcasts).

Services

Services are the result of a production activity that changes the conditions of the consuming units or facilitates the exchange of products or financial assets. Services are not generally separate items over which ownership rights can be established and cannot generally be separated from their production.

Telecommunication services

Telecommunication services comprise the transmission of sound, images or other data by telephone, telex, telegram, radio or cable television, and broadcasting, satellite, electronic mail, etc., including business network services, teleconferencing and support services. The value of the transmitted data are not included here. This also includes mobile telephone services, Internet backbone services and online access services, as well as access to the Internet.

Tourism

Tourism comprises the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year (12 months) for leisure, business or other purposes. This includes goods and services the tourist pays for personally or somebody pays for on his/her behalf, or which the tourists receives without compensation for his/her own use or to be given to someone else. Included are expenses paid before the trip or after it. Tourism does not include international transport of tourists, which is included in passenger transports of transport services.

Transport

Transport includes sea, air, railway, road and inland water passenger and freight transport and support activities for them. In addition, transport comprises postal and courier services.

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The statistics on international trade in goods and services are derived from several sources. Therefore, the quality of the source statistics is crucial for the reliability of the statistics. In order to maintain and improve the quality of the statistics, attention has been paid to defining practical inquiry frameworks and the accuracy of registers. The correctness and accuracy of the data are examined regularly.

The main detected sources of error are frame error and measurement error. Frame error is caused by the backwardness of registers when not all respondents are found, and measurement error when the respondents misinterpret the data supply requirement of the inquiry. Finnish statistics are sensitive precisely in terms of frame and measurement errors because Finland has very large international enterprises compared to the size of the national economy.

The data based on annual inquiries are estimated for the quarterly preliminary statistics of the statistical reference year. Thus, the acquisition of data is supplemented over time, which may lead to considerable revisions in the statistics. Finnish Customs gradually corrects monthly data on international trade until the spring of the year following the statistical reference year.

Timeliness

Quarterly data are first published around 1.5 months after the end of the quarter together with a release, and also around 2.5 months after the end of the quarter as a revision publication without a release.

Annual data are completed six months after the end of a year and are disseminated in connection with quarterly data.

Punctuality

There are no delays between the release calendar and the actual release date.

Completeness

The statistics on international trade in goods and services are available to the extent to which they are reported to the European Central Bank, Eurostat and the International Monetary Fund.
Statistics Finland usually publishes more detailed data than required by the submission programme.

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

The data of the statistics on international trade in goods and services are geographically comparable due to international statistical standards.

The data of the statistics on international trade in goods and services are classified by country. There may be statistical asymmetries between two countries due to differences in data sources in various countries, for example. Efforts are made to reduce these asymmetries in cooperation with other countries.

Comparability - over time

The statistics are compiled in accordance with international statistical standards and the IMF Balance of Payments Manual (6th edition 2009), which ensures comparability of the statistics. In addition, the recommendations of the United Nations Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services 2010 that are in line with the Balance of Payments Manual are followed. The publication of the renewed statistics began in summer 2016.

Coherence - cross domain

The definitions and coverage of balance of payments, as defined in the BPM6 manual, are fully harmonised with those in ESA 2010. Consequently, the variables of the statistics on international trade in goods and services are fully consistent with the corresponding national accounts variables. The statistics on international trade in goods and services are part of the balance of payments. National accounts and balance of payments compilation systems are integrated and the data are mainly congruent from 2019 and from 2020 onwards for financial accounts. The most significant differences are related to recording of financial derivatives and income taxes from secondary income.

The international trade statistics published by Finnish Customs differ by definition from international trade in balance of payments terms. The international trade statistics measure international trade across borders and changes in ownership of vessels, while the balance of payments measures changes in ownership.

Coherence -national accounts

The definitions and coverage of balance of payments, as defined in the BPM6 Manual, are fully harmonised with those in ESA 2010. Therefore, balance of payments variables are, in principle, fully coherent with the corresponding national accounts variables. The compilation systems of national accounts and balance of payments are integrated and the data are mainly congruent from 2019 and, in terms of financial accounts, from 2020 onwards. The most significant differences are related to the recording of financial derivatives and income taxes from secondary income.

Coherence - internal

Statistical data within the data set in question are consistent.

Source data and data collections

Source data

The data of the statistics on international trade in goods and services are mainly based on two data sources:
the international trade statistics and the inquiry on international trade in services and international flows of goods, and data derived from national accounts. Other data are produced by statistical methods based on several data sources.

Finnish Customs collects data on international trade in goods across borders and on some changes in vessel ownership. Statistics Finland’s inquiry on international trade in services and international flows of goods collects data on international trade in services by Finnish enterprises and corporations and on goods trade that does not cross the Finnish border. The data on international trade are supplemented with data derived from national accounts and estimates of international trade by Finnish private persons.

Data on Finland’s cross-border trade with countries outside the EU are derived from the customs clearance system. Statistical data are reported monthly by importers and exporters to Finnish Customs concerning cross-border trade inside the EU according to the Intrastat system.

The sample size of the quarterly inquiry on international trade in services and international flows of goods is around one thousand units and that of the annual inquiry about two thousand units. The quarterly inquiry is raised to correspond to the population, based on the shares of the previous completed annual inquiry. Stratified random sampling (SRS or PPS) is used in the annual inquiry depending on the stratum.

Data collection

The statistics on international trade in goods and services are compiled from several sources. The sources are direct data collections, administrative files, data derived from statistics or estimated from other sources.

Frequency of data collection

The data are collected quarterly/annually.

Methods

Data compilation

The inquiry data are compiled in accordance with the Generic Statistical Business Process Model (GSBPM).

Data validation

The data are validated according to the statistical production process in two stages. Statistics Finland’s data collection unit is responsible for checking the unit data of data collections. The checked data are delivered to the balance of payments system for analysis purposes.

Each source data are analysed on an aggregated level. After this, the approved source data are combined and analysed as a whole. If deviating changes or values are detected in the analysis stage, the reason for them is determined and the deviation in question is returned to the unit level check if necessary.

During both checking stages, Statistics Finland ensures consistency with other available statistical data both on the unit level and on the publication level.

Documentation on methodology

The statistics on international trade in goods and services are compiled using direct data collections and data derived from other economic statistics. Finnish Customs collects data on international trade in goods across borders and publishes statistics on international trade. Statistics Finland collects data on international trade in services by Finnish enterprises and corporations and on goods trade that does not cross the Finnish border.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Economic statistics

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics.

Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States. 

Further information: Statistical legislation

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable.

Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

Confidentiality - data treatment

The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Unit-specific data of the calculation data must be kept confidential.

Data are handled only by persons who need the data in their work. The use of data is restricted by usage rights. The aggregation of data in the process, the compilation time evaluation related to data quality, detailed prioritisation of sources and measures related to total level balancing produce an end result that does not enable identification of individual data producers.

The basic publications of the statistics on international trade in goods and services follow Statistics Finland’s official guidelines on the protection of tabulated personal and enterprise data based on the principles of statistical ethics and legislation. The key guideline in data protection activities is to avoid publishing statistical data in a form from which an individual person or enterprise can be identified.

The statistics do not contain data decreed public by law at unit level, so the disclosure risk must be taken into account when compiling tables.

The threshold and dominance criteria are used when assessing the disclosure risk. The threshold criterion is based on data obtained directly from enterprises or imputed data. According to the rule, the data of a cell must be protected if the cell comprises a lower number of observations than the threshold value. In the dominance criterion, data are protected if the sum of the data of the main data suppliers does not differ sufficiently from the published data.

Data on protected cells are not published but suppressed. The rules are used for primary and secondary suppression. In primary suppression an individual cell is protected by suppression if the group value is based on under three observations or the data on an individual enterprise do not differ sufficiently from the published value. Secondary suppression is performed so that the contents of the cell to be protected cannot be calculated using the values of other cells.

All persons compiling the statistics on international trade in goods and services have signed a pledge of secrecy, where they have obliged to keep secret the data prescribed as confidential by virtue of the Statistics Act or the Act on the Openness of Government Activities.

Release policy

Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service. 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics at Statistics Finland

Data sharing

The statistics on international trade in goods and services are part of the balance of payments. The data for the statistics on balance of payments are delivered at aggregate level following the confidentiality principle to the European Central Bank (ECB), Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union, the OECD, the IMF, and the UN. The organisations publish the data of the statistics in several printed and Internet publications.

Other

In addition to the releases of statistical data and other publications (see Sections News release and Online database), the statistics data may be published on social media.

The online and other publications of the statistics are also available in English.

Accessibility and clarity

Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.

In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases.

Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.

Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service.

Data revision - policy

Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions.

The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before.

Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data.

User needs

The figures of the statistics on international trade in goods and services produce key data for the monitoring of economic policy and decision-making, forecasting, administrative purposes, informing the public of economic development (directly or indirectly through news agencies) and for economic studies to serve as source data. 

At the national level, the most significant users of the statistics on international trade in goods and services include government ministries, scientific and academic communities, and economic researchers.

Quality assessment

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF) are a comprehensive collection of statistics describing the development and state of society. They comprise nearly 300 sets of statistics on 26 different topics. The producers of Official Statistics of Finland have approved a common quality assurance in which they commit to common quality criteria and quality assurance measures. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. The good practices followed in the statistics are presented in Statistics Finland’s Quality Guidelines for Official Statistics handbook.

Quality assurance

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice.

Further information: Quality management | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

User access

Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published.

Further information: Publication principles for statistics

Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data

Statistical experts

Joonas Pohja
Senior Statistician
029 551 3898

The documentation released before 5.4.2022 can be found on the archive pages of the statistics.

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