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Document 32004R0638

Intrastat: statistics relating to the trading of goods between EU countries

This summary has been archived and will not be updated. See 'European business statistics' for an updated information about the subject.

Intrastat: statistics relating to the trading of goods between EU countries



Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 on statistics relating to the trading of goods between EU countries


  • It sets up systems and procedures to simplify the operation of Intrastata system originally established in 1993, to collect information on the intra-European Union (EU) trade of goods.
  • It seeks to ensure that EU countries gather comparable and reliable data for transmission to Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office. The supply of such trading statistics is essential for the development of policies on the EU’s single market and for market analysis.



  • The regulation covers trade in goods. ‘Trading of goods’ means any movement of merchandise from one EU country to another and ‘merchandise’ means all movable property, including electric current.
  • EU businesses that are registered for value added tax (VAT) purposes and whose annual trade amount exceeds a certain threshold must provide details of their transactions with other EU countries. These data relate both to arrivals (acquisitions, purchases or imports) and dispatches (removals, sales or exports). Other businesses are exempt from the requirement.
  • EU countries redefine the threshold value each year and fix a separate value for dispatches and arrivals (allowing for a minimum amount of data to be collected for each trade flow).


Each EU country’s national statistical authorities manage a register of intra-EU operators (i.e. businesses) made up of consignors and consignees.

Data collected for Intrastat

Businesses that are required to submit declarations for Intrastat purposes must provide the following information:

  • their identification number;
  • the reference period;
  • the flow (arrival/dispatch);
  • the commodity concerned (using the eight-digit code of the EU’s combined nomenclature);
  • the partner EU country;
  • the value of the goods in the national currency;
  • the quantity of the goods in net mass (weight excluding packaging) and the supplementary unit (litre, m2, number of items, etc.), if relevant;
  • the nature of the transaction.


A party that provides information may request that their data receive statistical confidentiality. In this case, national authorities must decide whether the statistical results which make it possible to identify the said provider are to be disseminated or are to be amended so that their dissemination does not prejudice statistical confidentiality.

Transmission of data to Eurostat

  • EU countries transmit the monthly results of their statistics on the trading of goods between EU countries to Eurostat.
  • They are responsible for ensuring the quality of the data transmitted in accordance with the standards in force. The statistics must fulfil certain criteria:
    • relevance;
    • accuracy;
    • timeliness;
    • punctuality;
    • accessibility and clarity;
    • comparability;
    • coherence.
  • The European Commission, with the assistance of the European Statistical System Committee comprising EU countries’ representatives, is able to adopt certain technical changes in respect of this regulation.


It has applied since 1 January 2005.


  • Intrastat was set up on 1 January 1993, the date on which the EU’s single market came into effect. It replaced customs declarations as a source of trade data.
  • For more information, see the Eurostat website.


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 (OJ L 102, 7.4.2004, p. 1-8)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 07.11.2016