German chem industry warns against Eurostat reporting changes

03 February 2012 17:35  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--A German chemical trade group is worried that possible changes to the reporting of Eurostat’s data could lead to significant losses of information for chemical producers, it said on Friday.

Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union tasked with providing statistics at a European level that enable comparisons between countries and regions.

Frankfurt-based VCI said the changes to trade data may – in a worst case scenario – lead to the complete elimination of the monthly intra-EU trade data.

“This would result in an enormous loss of information about the most important market for Germany’s chemical industry,” VCI said in a report to its member firms.

Germany’s chemical producers sell more than 60% of their exports to EU member states. At the same time, the industry imports huge volumes of products from within the EU.

VCI also warned that the changes would, if implemented, impose additional burdens on firms as Eurostat was seeking to expand reporting on the services sectors. Chemical producers are thus facing the prospect of higher reporting burdens while suffering a major loss of information, the group said.

Eurostat spokeswoman Julia Urhausen told ICIS that the agency continuously reviews its priorities on user needs and reporting burdens on businesses.

“To this end, there are discussions at a technical level in all statistical areas, including Intrastat,[the intra-EU trade statistics system],” Urhausen said.

However, she said with regard to Intrastat, the European Commission has so far not made a formal proposal about possible changes.

Any Commission proposal would be communicated to all relevant stakeholders, and any decision on a change to statistical legislation would then be taken by the European Council and the European Parliament, she added.

Meanwhile, Germany’s federal statistics office said that changes or simplifications in Eurostat’s Intrastat reporting must not lead to a loss of “data quality”.

In particular, Wiesbaden-based Statistisches Bundesamt said that Germany and other EU member states had reservations about proposals for “single flow” reporting – a procedure that would mean, for example, that only exports are reported, with imports then being estimated on the basis of the export data.

VCI, which represents the interests of 1,650 chemical firms based in Germany, said research showed that single-flow reporting would result in a significant deterioration in Intrastat.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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