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F. Required institutional and working arrangements

11.23.    Agreement on a joint vision and commitment to integrating trade and business statistics. The cooperation of different departments within the same agency and of different agencies responsible for different parts of the business statistics programme is required for the development and implementation of a programme of integrated economic statistics. The cooperation itself and the development and implementation of such a programme require the commitment of significant human resources and the willingness to accept changes in existing practices. It is therefore crucial that the concerned agencies and departments within agencies agree, or at least accept, the goal and vision for an integrated system for business and economic statistics.

11.24.    Statistical business register and data access at compilation. In many countries, more than one organization or agency is involved in trade and business statistics (e.g., the national statistical institute, the customs authority, the central bank and other agencies). The establishment of a statistical business register, which would provide a uniform basis for data collection by various agencies and ensure coherence of data compiled in various statistical domains, requires legal arrangements to allow sharing and use of information on individual enterprises among these agencies—information that would be otherwise subject to confidentiality.

11.25.    Access to and use of information. Business registers and data warehouses contain sensitive information about businesses. According to principle 6 of the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics,[13] individual data collected by statistical agencies for statistical compilation, whether they refer to natural or legal persons, are to be strictly confidential and used exclusively for statistical purposes. The generation of enterprise microdata from trade statistics and its combination with information from existing business statistics require solving issues of confidentiality and the protection of highly sensitive business data.