Title of statistical activity: Foreign trade

Code of statistical activity: 22303

  1. Contact
  2. Metadata update
  3. Statistical presentation
  4. Unit of measure
  5. Reference period
  6. Institutional mandate
  7. Confidentiality
  8. Release policy
  9. Frequency of dissemination
  10. Accessibility and clarity
  11. Quality management
  12. Relevance
  13. Accuracy and reliability
  14. Timeliness and punctuality
  15. Coherence and comparability
  16. Cost and burden
  17. Data revision
  18. Statistical processing

1. Contact Individual or organisational contact points for the data or metadata, including information on how to reach the contact points.

1.1. Contact organisation The name of the organisation of the contact points for the data or metadata.

Statistics Estonia

1.2. Contact organisation unit An addressable subdivision of an organisation.

Enterprise and Agricultural Statistics Department

1.3. Contact name The name of the contact points for the data or metadata.

Evelin Puura

1.4. Contact person function The area of technical responsibility of the contact, such as "methodology", "database management" or "dissemination".

Leading Analyst

1.5. Contact mail address The postal address of the contact points for the data or metadata.

51 Tatari Str, 10134 Tallinn, Estonia

1.6. Contact email address E-mail address of the contact points for the data or metadata.


1.7. Contact phone number The telephone number of the contact points for the data or metadata.

+372 625 9259

2. Metadata update The date on which the metadata element was inserted or modified in the database.

2.1. Metadata last certified Date of the latest certification provided by the domain manager to confirm that the metadata posted are still up-to-date, even if the content has not been amended.


2.2. Metadata last update Date of last update of the content of the metadata.


3. Statistical presentation

3.1. Data description Main characteristics of the data set described in an easily understandable manner, referring to the data and indicators disseminated.

Exports and imports by 2-digit, 4-digit and 8-digit commodity chapter of the Combined Nomenclature (CN)

Exports and imports by commodity section of the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) and by the Classification of Broad Economic Categories (BEC)

Exports and imports by country

Exports and imports by county

Exports and imports by economic unit’s place of registration, economic activity (EMTAK 2008) and CN commodity section

Foreign trade volume index by SITC commodity section

3.2. Classification system Arrangement or division of objects into groups based on characteristics which the objects have in common.

Combined Nomenclature (CN)

Classification by Broad Economic Categories (BEC)

Standard International Trade Classification (SITC Rev. 4)

Country Nomenclature for the External Trade Statistics of the Community and Statistics of Trade between Member States (Geonom)

Estonian Classification of Economic Activities (EMTAK 2008) based on NACE Rev.2

Classification of Estonian administrative units and settlements (EHAK)

3.3. Sector coverage Main economic or other sectors covered by the statistics.

Enterprises which have trade transactions with the EU countries and non-EU countries

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions Statistical characteristics of statistical observations.

Economic unit – enterprise (company, sole proprietor) or non-profit unit (non-profit association, foundation, government institution, local government institution) entered in the Commercial Register.

Enterprise – an enterprise consists of one or more companies (public limited company, private limited company, limited partnership, general partnership, commercial association) or branches of foreign companies or sole proprietors.

Exports – exportation of goods produced in Estonia, exportation of goods imported from a foreign country (re-exports), temporary exportation of goods for the purpose of processing abroad, re-exportation of goods after processing in Estonia and supplies of foreign water and air craft stores. Exports exclude transit and services.

Exports of goods of Estonian origin – the export of goods produced or processed in Estonia to other countries.

Export volume index – ratio of the relative change of export value to the Fisher unit value index.

Imports – imports of goods into Estonia for domestic consumption and for resale to a foreign country, imports for processing in Estonia with obligation of re-export and re-imports after processing outside of Estonia. Imports exclude transit and services.

Import volume index – ratio of the relative change of import value to the Fisher unit value index.

3.5. Statistical unit Entity for which information is sought and for which statistics are ultimately compiled.

Economic unit

3.6. Statistical population The total membership or population or "universe" of a defined class of people, objects or events.

Enterprises that have export-import transactions


List of VAT-registered enterprises who have dispatched goods to or received goods from EU countries, excluding enterprises whose turnover is below the statistical threshold. This is list is based on the value added tax return data of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board

Data from customs declarations marked with EX (exports) and IM (imports) on trade with non-EU countries

Enterprises engaged in the capture of marine organisms and products in the open sea and the sale of these products in foreign harbours

3.7. Reference area The country or geographic area to which the measured statistical phenomenon relates.

Estonia as a whole

3.8. Time coverage The length of time for which data are available.


3.9. Base period The period of time used as the base of an index number, or to which a constant series refers.

Not applicable

4. Unit of measure The unit in which the data values are measured.

The value of exports and imports of goods in current prices – euro

Net weight of exported and imported goods – kg

Number of exporters and importers (enterprises)

5. Reference period The period of time or point in time to which the measured observation is intended to refer.


6. Institutional mandate

6.1. Legal acts and other agreements Legal acts or other formal or informal agreements that assign responsibility as well as the authority to an agency for the collection, processing, and dissemination of statistics.


Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 3330/91

Regulation (EC) No 471/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 on Community statistics relating to external trade with non-member countries and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1172/95

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1915/2005 of 24 November 2005 amending Regulation (EC) No 1982/2004 with regard to the simplification of the recording of the quantity and specifications on particular movements of goods

Commission Regulation (EU) No 113/2010 of 9 February 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 471/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council on Community statistics relating to external trade with non-member countries, as regards trade coverage, definition of the data, compilation of statistics on trade by business characteristics and by invoicing currency, and specific goods or movements

Commission Regulation (EU) No 96/2010 of 4 February 2010 amending Regulation (EC) No 1982/2004 implementing Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States, as regards the simplification threshold, trade by business characteristics, specific goods and movements and nature of transaction codes

Commission Regulation (EU) No 92/2010 of 2 February 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 471/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council on Community statistics relating to external trade with non-member countries, as regards data exchange between customs authorities and national statistical authorities, compilation of statistics and quality assessment

Regulation (EC) No 91/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2002 on rail transport statistics

Regulation (EC) No 222/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2009 amending Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States

Corrigendum to Commission Regulation (EC) No 1982/2004 of 18 November 2004 implementing Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States and repealing Commission Regulations (EC) No 1901/2000 and (EEC) No 3590/92

Commission Regulation (EU) No 91/2010 of 2 February 2010 amending Regulation (EC) No 1982/2004 implementing Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States, as regards the list of goods excluded from statistics, the communication of information by the tax administration and quality assessment

COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 1093/2013 of 4 November 2013 amending Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1982/2004 as regards the simplification within the Intrastat system and the collection of Intrastat information

REGULATION (EU) No 659/2014 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 15 May 2014 amending Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 on Community statistics relating to trading of goods between Member States as regards conferring delegated and implementing powers on the Commission for the adoption of certain measures, the communication of information by the customs administration, the exchange of confidential data between Member States and the definition of statistical value

COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2016/1253 of 29 July 2016 amending Regulation (EU) No 92/2010 as regards the data exchange between customs authorities and national statistical authorities and the compilation of statistics

REGULATION (EU) 2016/1724 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 14 September 2016 amending Regulation (EC) No 471/2009 on Community statistics relating to external trade with non-member countries as regards conferring of delegated and implementing powers upon the Commission for the adoption of certain measures


Not available


Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat)

Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)

International Cocoa Organization (ICCO)

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

United Nations (UN)

7. Confidentiality A property of data indicating the extent to which their unauthorised disclosure could be prejudicial or harmful to the interest of the source or other relevant parties.

7.1. Confidentiality - policy Legislative measures or other formal procedures which prevent unauthorised disclosure of data that identify a person or economic entity either directly or indirectly.

The dissemination of data collected for the purpose of producing official statistics is guided by the requirements provided for in § 32, § 34, § 35, § 38 of the Official Statistics Act.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment Rules applied for treating the data set to ensure statistical confidentiality and prevent unauthorised disclosure.

The treatment of confidential data is regulated by the Procedure for Protection of Data Collected and Processed by Statistics Estonia: https://www.stat.ee/66485.

8. Release policy Rules for disseminating statistical data to interested parties.

8.1. Release calendar The schedule of statistical release dates.

Notifications about the dissemination of statistics are published in the release calendar, which is available on the website. Every year on 1 October, the release times of the statistical database, news releases, main indicators by IMF SDDS and publications for the following year are announced in the release calendar (in the case of publications – the release month).

8.2. Release calendar access Access to the release calendar information.


8.3. User access The policy for release of the data to users, the scope of dissemination (e.g. to the public, to selected users), how users are informed that the data are being released, and whether the policy determines the dissemination of statistical data to all users.

All users have been granted equal access to official statistics: dissemination dates of official statistics are announced in advance and no user category (incl. Eurostat, state authorities and mass media) is provided access to official statistics before other users. Official statistics are first published in the statistical database. If there is also a news release, it is published simultaneously with data in the statistical database. Official statistics are available on the website at 8:00 a.m. on the date announced in the release calendar.

9. Frequency of dissemination The time interval at which the statistics are disseminated over a given time period.



10. Accessibility and clarity

10.1. News release Regular or ad-hoc press releases linked to the data.

The news release “Foreign trade” once a month. The news release can be viewed on the website at https://www.stat.ee/news-releases.

10.2. Publications Regular or ad-hoc publications in which the data are made available to the public.

Not published

10.3. Online database Information about on-line databases in which the disseminated data can be accessed.

Data are published under the subjec area “Economy / Foreign trade” in the statistical database at http://pub.stat.ee.

10.4. Microdata access Information on whether micro-data are also disseminated.

The dissemination of data collected for the purpose of producing official statistics is guided by the requirements provided for in § 33, § 34, § 35, § 36, § 38 of the Official Statistics Act. Access to microdata and anonymisation of microdata are regulated by Statistics Estonia’s procedure for dissemination of confidential data for scientific purposes: https://www.stat.ee/dokumendid/51669.

10.5. Other References to the most important other data dissemination done.

Data serve as input for statistical activities 20205 “Energy consumption and production (monthly)”, 20206 “Energy consumption and production (annual)”, 20403 “Export price index”, 20404 “Import price index”, 20407 “Consumer price index”, 20408 “Producer price index of industrial output”, 20701 “Fish catch”, 20901 “Business register for statistical purposes”, 21203 “Livestock farming and meat production”, 21207 “Economic accounts for agriculture”, 21213 “Supply balance sheets of agricultural products”, 21405 “National accounts (quarterly)”, 21408 “Supply and use tables”, 22201 “Production indices” and 50101 “Regional development”.

Pre-defined tables

10.6. Documentation on methodology Descriptive text and references to methodological documents available.

User guide on European statistics on international trade in goods – 2016 edition


International trade statistics – background


International Merchandise Trade Statistics: Concepts and Definitions 2010, UN (2011)


Intrastat manual


10.7. Quality documentation Documentation on procedures applied for quality management and quality assessment.

Every year the “National Quality Report” is sent to Eurostat.

Quality report on European statistics on international trade in goods


For internal use, the document “Quality report” has been developed, which is prepared monthly and contains information about the number of enterprises in the sample, number of errors, etc.

11. Quality management Systems and frameworks in place within an organisation to manage the quality of statistical products and processes.

11.1. Quality assurance All systematic activities implemented that can be demonstrated to provide confidence that the processes will fulfil the requirements for the statistical output.

To assure the quality of processes and products, Statistics Estonia applies the EFQM Excellence Model, the European Statistics Code of Practice and the Quality Assurance Framework of the European Statistical System (ESS QAF). Statistics Estonia is also guided by the requirements in § 7. “Principles and quality criteria of producing official statistics” of the Official Statistics Act.

11.2. Quality assessment Overall assessment of data quality, based on standard quality criteria.

Statistics Estonia performs all statistical activities according to an international model (Generic Statistical Business Process Model – GSBPM). According to the GSBPM, the final phase of statistical activities is overall evaluation using information gathered in each phase or sub-process (this information includes, among other things, feedback from users, process metadata, system metrics and suggestions from employees). This information is used to prepare the evaluation report which outlines all the quality problems related to the specific statistical activity and serves as input for improvement actions.

12. Relevance The degree to which statistical information meet current and potential needs of the users.

12.1. User needs Description of users and their respective needs with respect to the statistical data.

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications

Ministry of the Environment

Ministry of Rural Affairs

Eesti Pank (central bank of Estonia)

Estonian Institute of Economic Research

Users’ suggestions and information about taking these into account are available on the website of Statistics Estonia at https://www.stat.ee/statistikatood.

12.2. User satisfaction Measures to determine user satisfaction.

Since 1996, Statistics Estonia has conducted reputation and user satisfaction surveys.

All results are available on the website at https://www.stat.ee/user-surveys.

12.3. Completeness The extent to which all statistics that are needed are available.

In compliance with the rules (regulations).

13. Accuracy and reliability Accuracy: closeness of computations or estimates to the exact or true values that the statistics were intended to measure.
Reliability: closeness of the initial estimated value to the subsequent estimated value.

13.1. Overall accuracy Assessment of accuracy, linked to a certain data set or domain, which is summarising the various components.

The type of survey and the data collection methods ensure sufficient coverage and timeliness.

13.2. Sampling error That part of the difference between a population value and an estimate thereof, derived from a random sample, which is due to the fact that only a subset of the population is enumerated.

Not applied

13.3. Non-sampling error Error in survey estimates which cannot be attributed to sampling fluctuations.

Data loss in Intrastat reporting due to non-response or cut-off sampling is estimated with statistical methods. The estimates are based on the data of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board (VAT forms KMD). The estimates are produced by double-digit commodity code and by country.

14. Timeliness and punctuality

14.1. Timeliness Length of time between data availability and the event or phenomenon they describe.

The data are published 40 days after the end of reference period (T + 40).

Data are published monthly. Data of the current year are revised monthly, data of the two previous years are revised twice a year (releaserein March and October).

14.2. Punctuality Time lag between the actual delivery of the data and the target date when it should have been delivered.

The data have been published at the time announced in the release calendar.

15. Coherence and comparability

15.1. Comparability - geographical The extent to which statistics are comparable between geographical areas.

In case of data comparison with other countries, or so-called mirror statistics (Estonian exports to Finland vs Finnish imports from Estonia), there can be asymmetries due to methodological differences (each country has a different statistical threshold), incorrect classification of goods or partner countries, etc.

15.2. Comparability - over time The extent to which statistics are comparable or reconcilable over time.

The data for 1993–2003 are entirely comparable, but in May 2004, when Estonia acceded to the European Union, the data collection method changed. When comparing statistics produced prior to and after the accession of Estonia to the European Union, the following changes in methodology have to be taken into consideration:

1. Before the accession, foreign trade statistics were based on customs declarations and covered trade almost completely. Since the accession, foreign trade statistics on trade between European Union Member States are based on monthly Intrastat reports, which have to be submitted only by those enterprises whose value of exports or imports in trade with the Member States in the year preceding the reference period or during the reference period exceed the statistical threshold set by Statistics Estonia. The data for the remaining enterprises are estimated. The data missing due to non-response, insufficient completion of questionnaires and delays in data submission are also replaced by estimations.

2. In the case of Intrastat, statistics compiled based on the special trade system do not coincide with the data compiled on the basis of the special trade system of customs declarations. A large proportion of goods, which formerly moved under the supervision of customs authorities in customs warehouses and which were not taken into account in statistics according to the rules of the special trade system, are now in free circulation and included into statistics, as customs warehouses were replaced by intermediate depots in internal EU trade.

3. Since 2018, statistical units have been formed which influence the statistics published by economic activities. For example, while previously the economic activity of an enterprise was manufacturing, after forming a statistical enterprise, the enterprise was categorised under construction instead.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain The extent to which statistics are reconcilable with those obtained through other data sources or statistical domains.

Foreign trade data collection is not related to other statistics in this field.

15.4. Coherence - internal The extent to which statistics are consistent within a given data set.

The outputs of the statistical activity are coherent.

16. Cost and burden Cost associated with the collection and production of a statistical product and burden on respondents.

Cost of statistical activity 204.4 thousand euros (data for 2018)

Total time of filling in reports of the statistical activity, working days: 17382.0

Average time of filling in the reports, hours per report:

Intrastat. Kauba lähetamine 1.8

Intrastat. Kauba saabumine 2.7

Eksport (kala ja vähilaadsete müük välisvetes ja välisriikide sadamates) 0.2

(data for 2016)

17. Data revision Any change in a value of a statistic released to the public.

17.1. Data revision - policy Policy aimed at ensuring the transparency of disseminated data, whereby preliminary data are compiled that are later revised.

The data revision policy and notification of corrections are described in the dissemination policy of Statistics Estonia at https://www.stat.ee/dissemination-policy.

17.2. Data revision - practice Information on the data revision practice.

The published data may be revised if the methodology is modified, errors are discovered, new or better data become available.

The foreign trade data for the current year are revised monthly; the data for the two previous years are revised twice a year (published in March and October).

18. Statistical processing

18.1. Source data Characteristics and components of the raw statistical data used for compiling statistical aggregates.


The population is 33,000 objects. The sample includes 6,000 objects.

The population comprises enterprises which trade in goods with the EU Member States (submit data with the official statistics monthly questionnaire ‟Intrastat”) and with non-Member States (submit customs declaration to the Tax and Customs Board, which are sent to Statistics Estonia for producing foreign trade statistics). Intrastat questionnaires do not need to be filled by enterprises whose turnover is below the statistical threshold; for these enterprises estimates are used based on the data of the Tax and Customs Board.

Data are also collected with the official statistics questionnaire “Exports (sale of fish and crustaceas in international waters and harbours)”.


The following monthly customs statistics are received from the Estonian Tax and Customs Board: exports to and imports from non-EU countries; movements of excise goods (fuel, alcohol and tobacco); data of value added tax returns (form KMD); data of VIES declarations (form VD).


Data about enterprises from statistical activity 20901 “Business register for statistical purposes”

18.2. Frequency of data collection Frequency with which the source data are collected.


18.3. Data collection Systematic process of gathering data for official statistics.

Data are collected and the submission of questionnaires is monitored through eSTAT (the web channel for electronic data submission). The questionnaires have been designed for independent completion in eSTAT and include instructions and controls. The questionnaires and information about data submission are available on Statistics Estonia’s website at https://www.stat.ee/andmete-esitamine (in Estonian).

Data are collected with the official statistics monthly questionnaires “Intrastat. Dispatches”, “Intrastat. Arrivals” and “Exports (sale of fish and crustaceans in foreign waters and ports)”.

The data of the Tax and Customs Board are reveiced via X-Road and an FTP-server.

18.4. Data validation Process of monitoring the results of data compilation and ensuring the quality of statistical results.

Arithmetic and qualitative controls are used in the validation process, including comparison with other data.

18.5. Data compilation Operations performed on data to derive new information according to a given set of rules.

In compilation of data of foreign trade statistics, Extrastat data (customs declarations submitted by the Tax and Customs Board on trade with non-EU countries) and Intrastat data (data collected from enterprises monthly on their trade within the EU) are added.

In the case of Extrastat, there are no data losses, but in the case of Intrastat, an estimate is added for enterprises that were below the treshold or did not respond. This estimate is corrected when additional information is received.

Microdata are aggregated to the level necessary for analysis. This includes aggregation of data according to the classification and calculating various statistical measures, e.g. average, median, dispersion, etc. The collected data are converted into statistical output. This includes calculating additional variables.

18.6. Adjustment The set of procedures employed to modify statistical data to enable it to conform to national or international standards or to address data quality differences when compiling specific data sets.

Not applied

19. Comments Supplementary descriptive text which can be attached to data or metadata.

Not available