Global Forum on Trade Statistics

Globalization is mostly driven by multi-national enterprises, which are enterprises that operate in more than one country. The networks of the global enterprises are linked through FDI. We would speak about foreign affiliates of multi-national enterprises, if the mother company has economic control over its foreign affiliate, which can be obtained in various ways including when FDI is larger than 50%.

Multi-nationals, FATS and FDI

Inward and Outward FATS relations can be shown as in the picture below. The variables requested for FATS are number of enterprises, turnover, number of persons employed, value added at factor cost, gross investment in tangible goods, personnel costs, production value, total purchases of goods and services, purchases of goods and services for resale, total intra-mural R&D expenditure, and total number of R&D personnel.

In Austria the Central Bank and the national statistical office both contribute to the success and progress made in the field of trade in services statistics. This cooperation was formalized in 2002 when “Trade in Services” was handed over to the statistical office, when quarterly meetings at the top level started to be organized, and when micro-level data were exchanged between both institutions. One area of cooperation is the FATS. Austrian affiliates abroad controlled by resident investors (outward FATS) employ 760,000 persons, which is more than inward FATS (500,000 employees) but their sales (turnover) amount to 178 billion EUR only, which is less than the comparable figure for inward FATS (197 billion EUR). Further, one third of affiliates abroad are part of foreign Multinationals, which explains why only 480,000 (of the 760,000) employees abroad are “Austrian” according to FATS definitions.

In Thailand, most MNEs exporters are active in the following industries: (i) Electronics, (ii) Automotive, (iii) Electrical appliances, and (iv) Chemicals & plastics. The majority of observed practices in these top industries show that enterprises take ownership over imported content. There is only a small group where firms receive partially net processing fees, and the Bank of Thailand is exploring the possibility of how to distinguish these. The main problem in doing this is the problem of linking the various datasets from the different stakeholders in international trade statistics, see picture below.