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3.5. EXTERNAL TRADE

External trade in goods

The methodology (principles, concepts and definitions) of external trade statistics is based on the recommendations of the United Nations Since EU-accession the earlier entirely customs based statistics have two sub-systems, which are to be operated according to EU regulations; rules for statistics relating to the trading of goods between member states (intra-EU trade) were set by the European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) 638/2004 and Commission Regulation (EC) 1982/2004, while for statistics relating to the trading of goods with third counties (extra-EU trade) the European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) 471/2009 is applied.

External trade of Hungary includes trade with both EU Member States and third countries.

Data sources: Concerning intra-EU trade, data are reported directly by traders, while extra-EU trade data are received from the Hungarian Customs and Finance Guard, collected along the customs procedures. Processing of all input data takes place with the supervision of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO).

Coverage of intra-EU trade is not full; enterprises below the assimilation threshold are exempted from their information providing liability. The application of the threshold system is resulting ca. 95-97% coverage. Adjustments based on administrative data and time series are made both for the below the threshold trade and non responses.

Recording methodology: External trade statistics mainly includes transactions conducted between resident and non-resident economic units. The majority of transactions recorded are sale or purchase, but some cases without change of ownership and/or compensation are also included. Accordingly, statistics include operations with a view to and after processing under contract (at the gross values of products in both directions), financial leasing transactions (at the market value of the product without additional expenses), returns of goods, as well as movements of some special goods (e.g. natural gas and electric energy).

In contrast, goods treated as part of trade in services (e.g. repair and operational leasing), direct re-export, fuel sold on the territory of Hungary to foreign motor vehicles and purchased abroad by Hungarian motor vehicles etc. are excluded from the statistics on trade in goods.

Since 2004 external trade statistics has been based on recording of the goods crossing the border of the country's economic territory, with the following restrictions: goods entering to a customs warehouse from a foreign country or leaving a customs warehouse to a foreign country are excluded unless they are goods for inward processing or processing under customs control, while goods moving between the free circulation area and a customs warehouse are included.

Between 1997 and 2004 statistical observation of external trade turnover was based upon the relaxed definition of "special trade" system, which means the observation of goods crossing the country's economic customs border. Trade between inland and the industrial free zones did not belong to the scope of observation, while trade between industrial free zones and foreign markets was taken into account. Trade between inland and customs warehouses or commercial free zones was in the scope, while trade between foreign countries and customs warehouses or commercial free zones was not.

Before 1997 the strict definition of "special trade" system was applied. The difference to the relaxed definition concerns industrial free zones. According to the strict definition trade between inland and industrial free zones is recorded, while trade between foreign countries and industrial free zones is not. Data of 1996 (base year) were adjusted according to the methodological changes, and are available in both versions.

Valuation. The statistical value of imported goods is a c.i.f.-type, while that of exported goods is a f.o.b.-type value. C.i.f.-type values include the market value of imported goods plus freight and insurance expenses incurred in the course of delivery to the border of the importing country (in our case Hungary). F.o.b.-type values include the market value of exported goods plus freight and insurance expenses incurred in the course of delivery to the border of the exporting country (in our case Hungary).

Conversion of values into HUF in the case of intra-EU trade is based on the official medium exchange rate on the day when the contract was fulfilled of the bank named in the accounting policy of the given enterprise. Concerning extra-EU trade the exchange rate is the official rate of the National Bank of Hungary (NBH) valid on the second-last Wednesday of the month preceding the customs clearance of goods. Data expressed in Euros and Dollars are calculated for intra-EU trade at the monthly average exchange rate of the NBH, while in case of extra-EU trade the official rate of the NBH valid on the last but one Wednesday of the month preceding the customs clearance of goods is applied.

Export data of external trade statistics differ from the export sales data under 2.2.2. Section Industry, construction regarding that they comprise direct exports of other branches (e.g. agriculture) and the exports of goods deriving from the trading activity of industrial corporations (of not own produced industrial or agricultural products). Another difference is that external trade statistics takes into account processing by the gross method (processed product + processing fee), while industrial statistics includes only processing fee. In industrial statistics – diversely from external trade statistics – the value of industrial services performed abroad is considered as export sales, and time of accounting may also differ.

Balance of external trade is the difference between the values of exports and imports.

Commodity pattern of external trade is set up according to product groups of the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC Rev. 4) of the UN.

Basic data are collected according to the customs- and statistical product nomenclature (CN) specified by EU legislation which is directly applicable to Member States.

Groups of countries:

EU–15: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden United Kingdom;
New member states: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Croatia (its quarterly data of 2013 is published amongst EU members);

EU–28: the two previous groups together.

EU–27 country group contains data of Bulgaria and Romania from 2007, whereas data of Croatia are part of EU-28 country group from the year of 2013. Other countries are classified according to geographical location.

For data of 2003 and the preceding years country classification was the following:

Developed countries: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, United States, Finland, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Netherlands, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Canada, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Great Britain, Germany, Norway, Italy, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, New Zealand, Vatican.
Central and Eastern European countries: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Yugoslavia.
Developing countries: countries not listed to the above two groups.

Export figures arranged by countries are recorded according to countries of destination. The partner country for imports was the country of origin until 2003. Since 2004 this was replaced by the country of consignment. Base import data of 2003 were due to this change adjusted and are available in both versions.

Volume indices are calculated by using a deflation method as the quotient of value index and price index computed of data measured in HUF.

Methodological sources: Methodology for External Trade Statistics, 2005

International trade in services

This survey is carried out by Regulation (EC) No 184/2005, Regulation (EU) No 555/2012 and Regulation (EC) No 707/2009 (on Community statistics concerning balance of payments, international trade in services and foreign direct investment.)

Data sources:

Travel: Questionnaire No. 1943 on expenditures of foreigners visiting Hungary and questionnaire No. 2007 on Residents travelling abroad.

Transportation and business services: quarterly survey of enterprises by questionnaire No. 1470.
Government services: Quarterly data transmission of Public Administration Bodies, questionnaire No. 2057

Missing information of the quarterly survey was imputed by using administrative data sources.

International trade in services is defined as all transactions based on a private contract, in which a resident of an economy provides services to (exports), or acquires services from a non-resident (imports).

Valuation: Transactions are valued at the actual price agreed by the supplier and the consumer, without VAT. Conversion of values into HUF is based on the official medium exchange rate of the Hungarian National Bank valid at the time at which the transaction occurs.

Date or period of delivery of services: the actual date or period of services transactions between residents and non-residents, namely the date or period when the service was supplied or acquired. This may differ from the time when the payment is made or received.

Services are observed and published by the following groupings of activities and partner countries:

Travel: Expenditures of foreigners in Hungary; Expenditures of Hungarian tourists abroad. In line with international regulations, travel data in the publication titled "International trade in services" do not contain the items of revenues from and expenditures on international transport, and insurances, which, however, are included in the data of the publication titled "International tourism demand", in contrast, they contain items related to illegal services.

Transportation services by mode of transport:

Business services by the following groups:

Government services: Embassies and consulates; Military units and agencies; Other government services.

Partner country: in travel, the country, where the traveller arrives from or the country of destination in case of Hungarians travelling abroad. In transportation services the country of the invoice-payer in exports and that of the invoice-issuer in imports. In case of business services the country in which the non-resident trading partner is domiciled.

Groups of countries:

The Services Trade by Enterprise Characteristics (STEC) data provide information about the export-import turnover of enterprises resident in Hungary acquiring services from abroad or supplying services abroad based on their main characteristics (firm size, ownership, principal activity and type of services). STEC are generally compiled by linking trade in services data to the national business register. The whole turnover of trade in services is accounted for including the turnover of surveyed and also the non-surveyed enterprises engaged in such activities. The estimated part of services trade (of non-surveyed companies) is mainly based on their VAT records. Aggregated values of some types of services like tourism, CIF/FOB adjustment and FISIM cannot be directly linked to individual businesses. In addition, there are items in case of transport services (e.g. use of air passenger transport services by private individuals), which cannot be assigned to an economic entity and therefore not classified according to company characteristics. The value of manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others is estimated based on statistics of international trade of goods. In many instances in case of such transactions, data (imports of raw materials, exports of finished products) are reported by non-residents. Since these legal entities, by definition, only need to produce VAT returns in Hungary and often we have no information about their domestic connections, they were categorized as "unknown" on the basis of company characteristics.


Information on the methodological changes in 2014

More information is available from the menu Metainformation:


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