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Q: The European Union  or EU has become an international abbreviation, symbolizing all its member countries. Why are there differences between reported data of individual EU countries and EU reported data in Comtrade?

A: EU in the UN Comtrade database is an economic grouping created for statistical purposes. It does not have a political status. The group definition follows the the EU definition from COMEXT. The Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat) provides us with the EU data.

EU is regarded here as one entity, which trades with the rest of the world. Intra-EU trade does not make part of it. This means, for example, that trade of the Italy with other EU member states is not part of EU trade. However, the trade of Italy with countries outside of the EU is taken into account.

Since the sources of data of all individual EU countries are the national authorities of each of the member states, and since the source of EU data is Eurostat, there can be differences between reconstructed EU from individual country data in UN Comtrade and the combined EU from Eurostat. However, it would help if you always kept in mind that Intra-EU trade needs to be deducted from trade reported by the EU member states.

For an overview of the data availability, please see http://comtrade.un.org/db/mr/daReportersResults.aspx?r=97.