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titleBox XI.5 Indicators of trade by enterprise characteristics (TEC)

1. Trade by activity sector and enterprise size class

Trade by activity sector and enterprise size class shows the contribution of each economic activity and size class (measured in terms of number of employees) to total trade. This makes it possible, for instance, to analyse the impact of external trade on employment and to estimate the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises.

2. Concentration of trade by activity

External trade is typically concentrated on a few enterprises. This indicator shows how much of the total trade is accounted for by the top 5, 10, 20, etc., enterprises.

3. Trade by partner countries and activity

Trade by partner countries shows how many enterprises were trading with certain partner countries or country zones, and the trade value they accounted for. This makes it possible to identify most typical exports or imports markets.

4. Trade by number of partner countries and activity

Number of partner countries shows how geographically diversified the exports markets are. For imports, it shows the number of countries from which goods are imported.

5. Trade by commodity and activity

Trade by commodity and activity allocates the trade of each commodity to the economic activity of the trading enterprise. This shows which sectors were involved in the trade of each product group.


11.19.    Trade by enterprise characteristics: an alternative approach. IMTS 2010 (para. 11.6) encourages countries to take steps towards establishing an integrated system of economics statistics for data compilation and analysis and to integrate their trade register with their business register. However, faced with the growing demand for information from users regarding the link between international flows of goods and national economic activity, and in the absence of a link at the microlevel, enabling the identification of companies in the customs records and industrial surveys, counties might opt for the alternative of building a macrolevel correlation table between the classifications of industries and products. Countries may find this correspondence useful when analysing trade flows by activity categories. However, the approach as described in previous examples, i.e., to identify the activity of the trader and perform appropriate aggregations, should be given preference whenever possible (see IMTS 2010, para. 3.29).

11.20.    Integrating trade information in business statistics. Business statistics contain limited information on external trade. By linking trade and business statistics, the wealth of information on the demography and activities of businesses can be supplemented with detailed trade information, allowing the analysis of the impact of trade on businesses.