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Statistically capturing globalization is not always easy, since statistics are usually tied to national borders. The globalization of the global economy therefore creates new statistical needs, and at the same time, the conditions for creating business statistics are changing. In this regard, the activities of multinational corporations, the outsourcing of activities, direct investment or other forms of foreign engagement are key elements. Eurostat, together with National Statistical Institutes and international organizations, is involved in a number of projects to develop new business statistics on globalization.

Business statistics on globalization

International goods trade

European statistics on international trade in goods measure the value and quantity of goods in trade between EU Member States (intra-EU trade) and in trade of EU Member States with non-EU countries (extra-EU trade). Goods are generally all movable goods including electricity.

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International trade in services

International trade in services covers trade in services in the form of transactions between residents and non-residents in a country. The term 'services' covers a wide range of intangible products and activities that are difficult to define with a simple definition. Services are the result of a production activity that changes the conditions of the consuming units (transformation services) or facilitates the exchange of products or financial assets (services with margin).

Foreign affiliates

Foreign Affiliate Statistics (FATS) record the structure and activity of companies that control other companies abroad (Outward FATS) or are under the control of foreign companies (Inward FATS). In this context, Company A is considered to be controlled by Company B if B - directly or indirectly - controls more than half of the shareholders' voting rights or more than half of the shares.

Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is international investment that unites (direct investor) to acquire a long-term interest in a unit operating in a different economic area than the investor. Long-term participation is assumed if the investment equals at least 10% of the equity of a company.

International procurement

International Procurement statistics cover the transfer of certain operational functions previously performed by a resident company, either internally or domestically as a service, to either unrelated (outsourcing to external service providers) or affiliates (internalisation) overseas. International procurement is often referred to as outsourcing, global sourcing, nearshoring or outsourcing.

Indicators for the globalization of the economy

Reliable indicators - both at European and national level - are essential for shaping policy. In 2014, Eurostat published a series of Globalization of the Economy (EGI) indicators, which provide an overview of the main developments in globalization. They are based on data available in the Eurostat database and are structured to allow for relevant country comparisons. 

There are five groups here:

International trade

Foreign direct investment (FDI)


Research and Development (R & D)

value added

Euro Groups Register

The EuroGroups Register (EGR) is the central statistical register of Eurostat and the statistical authorities of the Member States of the EU and EFTA. It includes multinational enterprise groups operating in Europe. In order to compile the EGR, Eurostat collects data on the members of the group and their relationships as well as information on the groups of companies from the national statistical registers and adds commercial data. Based on this data, the EGR's global structures of multinationals become clear.

The structures and characteristics of the groups are passed on to the producers of national statistics in all EU and EFTA countries. These coordinated populations can serve as a basis for producing statistics at national level that involve or involve multinational groups. 

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