Compiling foreign trade statistics, which are ordained by the legislators, is based on the principle of compulsory response. The Federal Statistical Office uses the declarations submitted on imports and exports of goods to and from other countries to compile monthly foreign trade statistics.
The subject of foreign trade statistics is Germany's cross-border trade in goods with other countries, meaning that any goods that are physically imported or exported and also electricity are covered and presented. This also applies to the trading of goods that are imported or exported free of charge or for foreign account.
Foreign trade statistics show the monthly and annual volumes of exports and imports, the foreign trade balance, and the year-on-year change rates since 1950.
The country of destination is shown for exports, while the country of origin is indicated for imports. The country of destination is the country where the goods are to be used or consumed, to be treated or processed. The country of origin is the country where the goods were entirely obtained or produced, or where they were substantially processed in economically justified terms.
The data collected and published in the context of foreign trade statistics are based on the eight-digit commodity codes of the Commodity Classification for Foreign Trade Statistics. Chapters 01 to 97 of the Commodity Classification for Foreign Trade Statistics coincide with the European Combined Nomenclature (CN). The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) and its six-digit codes form the basis for both the Commodity Classification and the Combined Nomenclature. For purposes of clarity and comparability of the results, the commodity codes are also related to other commodity classifications. Thus results can be released for different commodity classifications (see: Classifications > Foreign trade).
Against the background of the ongoing globalisation process, the following trade indicators provide information on the importance and development of the German foreign trade activities in both a national and international context. The indicators, which are calculated on the basis of annual values, are regularly updated.
Data on cross-border movements of goods are collected either through the customs authorities (extra-Community trade) or directly from the parties responsible for providing information (intra-Community trade). The IDEV system in place has been designed for this purpose.
For information on online data collection please refer to the online help pages for extra-Community trade and intra-Community trade as well as the Data Collection Portal (only in German). Furthermore we have compiled a list of contacts to assist you with your foreign-trade related questions.
For current press releases on the theme of foreign trade please go to our press pages.
Here you find information on how to report data online.
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© Statistisches Bundesamt, Wiesbaden 2016
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