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21.10.    Foreign affiliates statistic (FATS). Figures on total and intra-group exports and imports of goods and services by foreign affiliates are currently produced by a limited number of countries. However, more countries are expected to begin the compilation of such data following the recommendations on FATS adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission and published in Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services 2010 (MSITS 2010, chapt. IV).[34] For example, EU member States plan to improve their FATS in the near future under the EU-level FATS Regulation.[45] Regarding the identification of trade between related parties, it would be good practice to disaggregate exports and imports into a few broad categories where trade with related enterprises could be distinguished from trade with unrelated parties (MSITS 2010, para. 4.60), as such data would be highly useful in the analysis of globalization issues. However, FATS do not include statistics on the parent enterprise, and it appears to be difficult to obtain detailed information on total and intra-group trade at the product level. The practice ofItaly, developed under the framework of the FATS EU Regulation, shows that some interesting figures on total trade by foreign affiliates at the product level can be obtained by merging, at the company level, the list of foreign affiliates with the list of foreign trade operators. 

21.11.    Linking customs declarations with transnational enterprise registers. Although currently, this is mostly a theoretical possibility, linking customs declarations with a transnational enterprise register may become feasible in the future. If countries adopted the model of a seamless integrated data pipeline, it would allow the linkage of export declarations with their corresponding import declarations (see para. 8.8). Further, if the declarations were linked to a transnational business register, it would be possible to identify the exporting and importing enterprise of a trade transaction. The transnational business register would contain the information about the relationships of its entities and thereby allow the identification of intra-firm trade. However, countries will first need to agree and establish a functioning transnational enterprise register, such as the European Union EuroGroups Register.[56] 

21.12.    Conclusions. The objectives of identifying trade between related parties are in general supported by countries.[67] However, there are significant challenges in respect of compilation, which would make obtaining this information in the near term a difficult or unrealistic undertaking for many countries. Requesting an indication of intra-firm trade on the customs declaration, if possible, can be considered best practice (see the example from theUnited States below). Overall, the implementation of this encouragement to identify intra-firm trade might depend on national needs and priorities.


[34] United Nations publication, Sales No. E.10.XVII.14.

[45] Regulation (EC) No. 716/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 June 2007 on Community statistics on the structure and activity of foreign affiliates.

[56Addigional information is available from

[67See United Nations Statistics Division, “Report on the results of the first round of worldwide consultation”, October 2008, p. 9. Available from