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Background Notes

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Goods Exports and Imports statistics provide data on the movement of goods between countries. The statistics are a combination of Customs-based non-EU trade statistics and data from the Intrastat Survey of Irish traders involved in trade with other EU member states. The collection of trade data is the responsibility of VIMA (a branch of Revenue). The CSO is responsible for processing and disseminating the data.

The data for this publication is taken from the same sources as the regular monthly Goods Exports and Imports releases. 

Intrastat System

The Intrastat system has two components. Firstly, the Intrastat survey (conducted by the Revenue Commissioners), in which traders, above the Intrastat survey trade thresholds, make detailed monthly returns giving information on the quantity and value of all exports to or imports from EU countries.

The total number of traders required to make a detailed import return is around 5,200 while around 2,200 must make a detailed export return.

The second component of the Intrastat system is the regular VAT return, on which all traders are required to record the total value of goods imported from and exported to other EU countries. This information provides the basis for determining total EU trade for those traders below the Intrastat survey thresholds. It is also used to maintain the register of EU traders.

Extrastat System

The statistics of trade with non-EU countries are compiled from the documents supplied by importers and exporters to the Customs authorities. The document is the Single Administrative Document (SAD) used for Customs clearance purposes.

The data for this publication is taken from the same sources as the regular monthly Goods Exports and Imports releases. 

For more information on the Intrastat and Extrastat systems, see the Methods page for External Trade statistics on the CSO website. 

Extra-Stat, Collection Of Non-EU Trade Data

Classifications of Goods

The classifications for the individual products detailed in this publication are taken from the Combined Nomenclature (CN) list of codes. This is a systematic list of commodities applied by most trading nations which classifies products at a detailed level. The CN codes are used to classify most goods when they are declared to customs in the EU, and they are also used for intra-EU trade statistics.

For a full list of 8-digit CN classifications, see

While care has been taken to correctly include all goods in this publication to their relevant aggregated product name, there may, on occasion, be minor omissions or exclusions. This should not detract from the overall trends and data published.

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