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Quality description: Survey on international trade in goods by countries and industries

1. Relevance of statistics

1.1 Content and use of statistics

The surveys on international trade by countries contain the newest data on the international trade between Finland and another country. Corresponding surveys can also be composed according to different groups of countries (e.g. EU Member States, developing countries, Latin America, etc.). The surveys on international trade according to industries present the newest data on the international trade of Finland according to individual countries and groups thereof by certain industrial groupings (e.g. forest industry, high-tech products, etc.).

For the purposes of the economic analysis, the surveys according to countries and industries 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 stage of production 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.

In the surveys according to countries and industries, the CN-based statistical material has been combined, depending on the intended use, according to the following classifications:

  • Standard International Trade Classification (SITC, Rev.4, ex 2007)
  • Classification of Products by Activities (CPA) 
  • The Classification by Broad Economic Categories (BEC, rev. 4) aggregates goods to macroeconomic end-use categories
  • Main Industrial Groupings (MIG) (according to main use of goods). This product classification is not official.
  • Nomenclature générale des Activités économiques dans les Communautés européennes (NACE 2002) (classification of the EC according to industries)

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. The groups of countries are defined in the explanatory notes of the monthly publication.

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 the 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 figures contained in the monthly surveys by countries and industries are preliminary. They change as the basic material gets completed and elaborated. The statistics on each calendar year are confirmed by the end of August in the following year.

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 timetable of the publication of the surveys by countries, groups thereof, and industries are decided by the Statistics of the Finnish Customs according to the topicality of the matter. Beside the development of international trade, the date of publication is determined e.g. by state visits, trade negotiations, fairs, etc. The timetable of publication, which is maintained on the web site of the Finnish Customs, is confirmed a few weeks before the date of publication. The surveys generally make use of the newest monthly information. However, part of the surveys are based on annual material only (e.g. the high-tech survey and the survey on developing countries).

5. Availability and transparency / clarity of data

The surveys on international trade by countries and industries are published on the web site of the Finnish Customs on the dates announced in advance. The surveys can also be ordered to be transmitted by the e-mail. Detailed statistics according to categories of commodities and countries are available from the Statistics at the Finnish Customs and, free of charge, the statistical database Uljas of Customs.

Further information on the surveys by countries and industries and all the other statistics on international trade is available from the web site of Customs -> International trade statistics. This site 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

Surveys on international trade by countries and industries are available from the web site of Customs since 2000. Only occasional paper versions of surveys older than that are available.

7. Clarity and consistency / coherence

The information contained in a survey by countries and industries gets specified along with the publication of further monthly surveys.

Statistics on the international trade of other countries are accessible at the reading room of the Statistics Service.

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 also be consulted through Internet free of charge. The statistics compiled by the UN on international trade (the Comtrade database) are available free of charge from 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 as well as the UN Member States may affect the comparability of statistics.