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External trade: statistics relating to non-member countries

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External trade: statistics relating to non-member countries

This Regulation establishes a common framework for the production of Community statistics relating to trade in goods with non-member countries.


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.


This Regulation establishes harmonised rules on the production of European statistics relating to trade in goods between the European Union (EU) and third countries.


Trade statistics concern imports and exports of goods *. Pursuant to the Customs Code, this Regulation establishes that:

  • goods leaving the statistical territory of the EU * shall be considered as exports;
  • goods entering the statistical territory of the EU shall be considered as imports.

Certain types of goods or movements of goods (such as industrial plants, aircraft, military goods, waste products or electricity and gas) are subject to specific provisions.

Data source

The customs declaration * for imported or exported goods is considered as the main source for the recording of statistical data.

However, Member States are free to use other data sources to produce their national statistics.

Statistical data

For each monthly reference period, EU countries are to produce statistics relating to external trade in goods. These statistics are expressed in value and quantity, in particular according to:

  • the type of goods;
  • the importing or exporting country;
  • the statistical procedure;
  • the nature of the transaction;
  • preferential treatment on import;
  • the mode of transport.

Each year, EU countries are to establish statistics on external trade in goods, and according to business characteristics, pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 177/2008. Namely in relation to:

  • the economic activity carried out by the enterprise, according to the section of the common statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community (NACE);
  • the number of employees.

Statistics are prepared using data relating to business characteristics and import and export data.

Every two years, EU countries are to compile statistics on trade in imported or exported goods broken down by invoicing currency. These statistics are compiled using a representative sample of records on imports and exports from customs declarations. If the invoicing currency for exports is not available on the customs declaration, a survey shall be carried out to collect the required data.

The compilation by Member States of additional statistics for national purposes may be determined where the data are available on the customs declaration.

Data exchange

Data from records on imports and exports declared to customs authorities must be sent to the national statistical authorities within one month. These records must include a minimum amount of statistical data.

Transmission of external trade statistics to the Commission (Eurostat)

External trade statistics must be sent to the Commission (Eurostat) within 40 days following the end of each monthly reference period. If the statistics are revised, updates must be sent to the Commission.

Quality assessment

Statistics sent to the Commission must be precise, up-to-date, relevant, clear and accessible for users.

Member States shall provide the Commission with a report on the quality of the statistics transmitted. The quality of the latter is assessed by the Commission.


This Regulation is part of an initiative to make the Community statistical system more transparent. Regulation (EC) No 1172/95 is repealed.

Key terms of the Act

  • Goods: all movable property, including electricity.
  • Statistical territory of the EU: the customs territory of the EU as defined in the Customs Code with the addition of the Island of Heligoland in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • Customs declaration: the customs declaration as defined in the Customs Code.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 471/2009



OJ L 152 of 16.6.2009

Last updated: 29.01.2010