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B. Benefits of integrating trade and business statistics

11.8.        Potential benefits. In general terms, the potential benefits of integrating trade and business statistics are additional and better information without major costs, as well as potential cost savings through efficiency gains. One very specific and important goal is to gain more information about traders and their specific characteristics, such as size, sector of economic activity, and level of concentration (see box XI.5). This will allow a deeper analysis of the impact of trade on national employment, production, value added and competitiveness in a globally integrated economy in which many countries frequently participate in the production of one single product.[8] Also, integrating trade and business statistics can allow more information to be obtained about specific trade transactions such as goods for processing and intra-firm trade, or provide information for other statistical domains such as transport statistics. Further, trade statistics can be part of a business microdata set or data warehouse allowing analysis for many different purposes. A further benefit is that the integration of trade and business statistics on the microlevel allows for checks of consistency between both sets of statistics.

11.9.        Potential costs. The basic requirement for integrating trade and business statistics is a functioning business register and the entry of a uniform national business identification number on the customs declaration. The development and implementation of these two elements can take a long time and require major efforts. Also, business registers need to be maintained on an ongoing basis. Further, integrating different statistics requires significant efforts. Pursuing an integrated approach to trade and business statistics is likely to require major investments in existing statistics and strong efforts to overcome existing institutional arrangements and legal obstacles.


[8]  See Eurostat, “International trade by enterprise characteristics”, in “Statistics explained”.