New data from these statistics will be published on the home page of the International trade in goods and services.

Quality description of statistics on international trade in services

1. Relevance of statistical data

1.1 Summary of the information content of statistics

Statistics on international trade in services describe Finnish enterprises' international sales and imports of services both by service type and target country. International trade in services is included in the balance of payments, so the statistics on international trade in services form part of the current account of Finland. Statistics on international trade in services are also utilised in the production of data on the sector "Rest of the world" in national accounts. These data are additionally transmitted to Eurostat (the Statistical Office of the European Communities), the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

1.2 Essential concepts and classifications

The classification used in the compilation of the statistics is the Extended Balance of Payments Services (EBOPS) classification, which is an international classification presented in the Manual on International Trade in Services. The statistics mainly focus on services of the business-to-business type, but also take into account services obtained or offered for personnel training and recreation purposes. Included are also certain immaterial rights, such as royalties and licence fees. The division of trade partners used in the statistics on international trade in services was produced at Statistics Finland and consists of 23 countries (all EU15 countries and Norway, Switzerland, the USA, Canada, Japan, India, China, Russia and Estonia) and the category "Rest of the world".

1.3 Legislation

The present production of statistics is based on an agreement between the Bank of Finland and Eurostat concerning the production of balance of payments data and on the agreement between the Finnish State and the IMF, which follows the recommendations of the IMF's Balance of Payments Manual (5th ed. 1993, BPM5). An EU regulation is being prepared that will give binding stipulations concerning the contents of these statistics and their scheduling. The regulation is due to enter into force concerning the statistical year 2006.

2. Methodological description of survey

The statistical unit in the statistics on international trade in services is an enterprise and the frame population comprises all enterprises in Statistics Finland's Register of Enterprises and Establishments. Apart from data on the population, information is used on enterprises that in the previous inquiry of reported international trade activities in services and/or are included in the Foreign Affiliates Statistics (FATS) for previous inquiry.

The survey frame was divided into three sub-frames: 1) total survey enterprises, 2) small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and 3) small enterprises. The two last sub-frames were divided into strata from which random sampling is made using Bankier's allocation. The data for the sample were projected to the whole population using the Horwitz-Thopmson predictor. The raised total values were divided into country and service items by means of the country and service item distributions of the total survey. The data absent from the enterprises in the scope of the total survey were imputed by means of the previous year's data or the number of personnel in the enterprise.

3. Correctness and accuracy of data

By the used statistical method, the aim is to produce a reliable picture of Finnish enterprises' foreign activities in services. The largest sub-frame, i.e. the total survey frame, included all Finnish enterprises that had had international trade in services or which could be shown by other indicators to most probably have had foreign activities of some scale.

Inquiry surveys always involve possible sources of errors, mainly arising from non-response and over and under-coverage. For the inquiry on international trade in services the response rate is excellent that the impact of non-response inevitably remained small. The coverage of an inquiry survey refers to the correctness of the survey frame in relation to the groups of enterprises the inquiry intends to cover. In this survey under and over-coverage do not produce any significant problems because the majority of the respondent enterprises reported international trade in services. A possible major source of errors in the inquiry on international trade in services is the questionnaire where the problems could arise from the used definitions and the identification of target countries, which are not necessarily analogous with the bookkeeping methods generally used by enterprises.

4. Timeliness and promptness of published data

Statistics on international trade in services are published every year. Preliminary data on international trade in services were submitted to the Bank of Finland's balance of payment statistics in June.

5. Accessibility and transparency/clarity of data

When new preliminary data are completed, a statistical release is published on the Internet site of the statistics is updated. The final data are released in the publication "Internationalisation of enterprises". Special surveys are made in relation to the statistics by customer requests.

6. Comparability of statistics

The first survey concerning international trade in services was conducted in 2000. Statistics Finland's extended data collection powers have improved the possibility to compare the source data of different statistics. As a result of the comparison, the interpretation of the exports of services concept was specified and annual data were revised to correspond to the uniform service definition. Annual data are comparable.

7. Coherence and consistency/ uniformity

The Bank of Finland utilises the data from international trade in services in compiling the balance of payments. In addition to data on international trade in services, the balance of payments service item includes transport services and tourism.


Last updated 22.1.2006

Referencing instructions:

Statistics: International trade in services [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-3525. 2005, Quality description of statistics on international trade in services . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 25.11.2017].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/pul/2005/pul_2005_2006-04-18_laa_001_en.html

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