F.1. Activity breakdowns
15.93. Although the focus in the present Guide is on services, in general, compilation should cover all economic activities (i.e., goods and services activities). The breakdown should be made according to the main activity of enterprises using the ISIC rev.4 or an activity classification compatible with it. This basis of presentation allows activities of services enterprises to be viewed within the context of the activities of all enterprises. In general, it is easier to produce a more detailed ISIC rev.4 breakdown for inwards FATS than for outward FATS. Compilers should, at a minimum, produce data for the activities that are of importance for their economy or international trade/investment negotiations. In the context of the information needs of trade in services negotiations, compilers should aim to distinguish and provide more details for services activities and keep in mind the categories suggested in ICFA rev.1, which is recommended for presenting data alongside resident/non-resident trade in services data (see chapter 20).
15.94. The ICFA rev.1 categories cover all activities, but provide more detail for services than for goods. Annex II on page 149 of MSITS 2010 offers general guidelines. However, if countries are in a position to provide more detail than is presented in annex II, that supplementary breakdown should be compatible with ISIC rev.4. A total for services activities should be compiled or estimated to better respond to information needs on the international supply of services. It is important to note that a presentation by activity will show data for variables according to the primary activity of enterprises. Because a given firm will often have secondary activities in industries other than the activity of their primary classification, the value recorded for any given activity must be interpreted as an indication of the total activity of enterprises for which the given activity is the most important, rather than as a precise measure of the value of that activity itself. This needs to be made clear to users (i.e., metadata).
15.95. Compiling data for some activities may sometimes be challenging, in particular if the activities are not covered in the data sources, or given the difficulty of gathering information for particular industries (e.g., financial activities). This is particularly true for inward FATS in that if structural business data are used as a source, then some activities may not be covered, such as agriculture or some personal or social services. In that case, compilers should derive the information from other sources or estimate the variables for those particular sectors. Alternatively, at least as a starting point, compilers may wish to concentrate solely on services activities of importance to their economy.
15.96. The activity breakdown should follow the activity of the “affiliate enterprise”. For inward FATS, the activity of the resident affiliate should be used. Frequently for outward FATS, the activity of the resident investor is incorrectly used by compilers as an approximation for the activity of the affiliate. Assigning an activity code, contrary to a widespread misconception, is not an easy task. For outward FATS, the only way to compile the data is by using information obtained directly from the respondent. In order to compile data on activity breakdowns, compilers are encouraged to find out if affiliates are engaged in production, trade or any other service activity; be able to assign ISIC codes of at least 2-digits; and obtain a verbal description of the activity. That information should be obtained through the data collection process (see chapter 6). By carefully assessing that information, along with consultation of the Internet and public registers, compilers can derive a meaningful allocation of activity. While this procedure is burdensome at the time the affiliate is initially accounted for, the information typically will not need to be compiled again for a number of years.