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Country experience: Spain 

15.29.        The National Institute of Statistics (INE) of Spain has long recognized the importance of indicators of Spanish subsidiaries of foreign companies and carried out several pilot studies or surveys on subsidiaries abroad in the years before the entry into force of the European regulations. Reducing the statistical burden is a strategic objective of INE. , In view of that objective, one of the theoretical principles it considers when developing new statistical projects is to promote the use of administrative data and to prioritize such data in relation to collection in the field, whenever a reliable and timely administrative source that supports the research objectives is available.

15.30.        Consistent with that view, and in parallel with pilot studies, INE explored the possibility of obtaining information from the foreign investment registry of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO). That registry contains statements on flows and stocks from the Directorate General for Trade and Investment, and more specifically the Directorate General of International Trade in Services and Investment, collected on foreign investment in Spanish companies and Spanish investment in foreign companies.

15..        Specifically, in the case of Spanish investment stock in foreign companies, Spanish resident investors that make investments in foreign companies whose net worth exceeds a threshold and in which the investor's share capital or total voting rights are equal to or greater than 10 per cent, must submit an annual report on the development of foreign investment in the first nine months of each calendar year. Also included in that report is the investment in foreign companies whose activity is the holding of shares in the capital of other companies, regardless of the amount of the investment. Holders of foreign branches also report the size of the investment in the annual report. Information is obtained from the companies in which the investor invests and, in turn, from investee companies. Finally, the third level of the chain of participation in subsidiaries is reached, although less detailed information from these is collected.

15.32.        The foreign investment registry covers FDI in Spain and Spanish direct investment abroad, with statistics published  in the national statistical plan (PEN) bi-annually, annually and quarterly.  Foreign investment registry statistics on flows and position are also obtained on Spanish investment in foreign securities and foreign investment in transferable securities. In meetings held between MINECO and INE, the two institutions involved, officials discussed methodological alternatives, implementation procedures and legal issues arising from the eventual transfer of the relevant files. Further analysis of the information provided by the register and comparative studies conducted with pilot surveys highlighted the quality and wealth of information, as well as the role it could play as a source of primary data to meet the objectives.

15.33.        Finally, after evaluation of the various advantages and limitations associated with each of the procedures, the administrative source was chosen as a more effective means of achieving the objectives of the research. However, it should be noted that while the data derived from the investment register are considered to be the primary basis for generating key information, the data has been supplemented with information from the European Register of Groups  in order to obtain the final results of the investigation.  It should be noted that the coverage of branches in the Investment Register is not complete as far as the population of subsidiaries are concerned, because according to the current rules, companies are not required to declare investments in companies with assets of less than a threshold. The results of the subsidiaries from the third level of the chain of participation are not shown either. It has therefore been necessary to perform additional processing and estimation taking into account the EuroGroup Register,  which contains information on enterprise groups from private databases and records units in the statistical offices of the individual member states and the countries of the European Free Trade Association, to measure the activity of those subsidiaries and, through appropriate adjustments, to derive the final statistics.

15.34.        In conclusion, the statistical design for the primary data generated from the foreign investment registry of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness can reduce the statistical burden on enterprises, while allowing for national dissemination of the main results on Spanish subsidiaries abroad.

 

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