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Quality description: Preliminary statistics on international trade in goods as of 2022

1. Relevance of statistics

1.1 Content and use of statistics

Preliminary statistics on international trade in goods conveys 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. Total values of exports and imports of goods are published in preliminary statistics as well as percentage change in trade by country with the largest trade partners.

For the purpose of economic analysis, the preliminary statistics give a reliable picture of the newest development of the international trade in goods. They constitute an important instrument for the decision makers and researchers in the public and private sectors, both at the national level and within the EU and several other international organisations.

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 systems.

The classification of commodities in international trade in goods statistics 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:

  • Regulation (EU) 2019/2152 of the European Parliament and of the Council on European business statistics, repealing 10 legal acts in the field of business statistics
  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1197 laying down technical specifications and arrangements pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2019/2152 of the European Parliament and of the Council on European business statistics repealing 10 legal acts in the field of business statistics
  • Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/1704 supplementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2152 of the European Parliament and of the Council by further specifying the details for the statistical information to be provided by tax and customs authorities and amending its Annexes V and VI
  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1225 specifying the arrangements for the data exchanges pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2019/2152 of the European Parliament and of the Council and amending Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1197, as regards the Member State of extra-Union export and the obligations of reporting units

The country classification is based on the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1470 on the nomenclature of countries and territories for the European statistics on international trade in goods and on the geographical breakdown for other business statistics. The country codes comply with those of the ISO 3166 standard of the International Organization for Standardization.

2. Method description

The information on the trade in goods 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 countries outside EU 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 standardised 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 2010 as the data 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 goods (to be) repaired 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 approximately one calendar year at a time. The timetable of publication is maintained on the web site of the Finnish Customs. The preliminary statistics on exports and imports are completed no later than 38 days after the expiry of the statistical month.

The data published in preliminary statistics is complemented when the monthly statistics are published approximately nine weeks after the statistical 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. The publication can also be ordered to be transmitted by e-mail. The data in preliminary statistics are published also mainly in Uljas statistical database.

Further information on the preliminary and any other statistics on international trade is available from the website of Customs → 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 52335
  • e-mail: statistics[at]
  • web pages:
  • statistical database Uljas:

6. Comparability of statistics

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

7. Clarity and consistency / coherence

The EU member states have strived for harmonisation of the methodologies, concepts and definitions used in the compilation of international trade in goods statistics. The harmonisation improves the consistency and comparability of statistics.

The data in preliminary statistics are complemented along with the publication of the detailed monthly statistics.

Beside statistics on international trade in goods, 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, website and Easy Comext database of Eurostat. This database can be consulted free of charge.