External trade of goods

Period: Annual
Year: 2018

01. Contact
02. Metadata update
03. Statistical presentation
04. Unit of measure
05. Reference Period
06. Institutional Mandate
07. Confidentiality
08. Release policy
09. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy and reliability
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment

01. ContactTop
01.1. Contact organisation

Statistical Office of Repubilc of the Serbia

01.2. Contact organisation unit

Statistics of External Trade

01.3. Contact name

Mirjana Stankovic

01.4. Contact person function

Methodology and data processing.

01.5. Contact mail address

Milana Rakica 5, Belgrade

01.6. Contact email address


01.7. Contact phone number

+381 11 2412 922 ext.362

01.8. Contact fax number

+381 11 2411 776

02. Metadata updateTop
02.1. Metadata last certified
02.2. Metadata last posted
02.3. Metadata last update

03. Statistical presentationTop
03.1. Data description

Ineranational trade in goods includes all goods that are added to the reserves of material wealth of the country when entering or leaving their economic territory (imports) from exit from it (exports).

The Trade balance is the difference between the total value of the expotred goods and the total value of the imported goods.

The deficite is a negative trade balance, and surplus is a positive trade balance.

international trade in goods is a raw data that, apart from the flows of goods (exports and imports), can be broken by periods (for example, months) and more classification and classification levels.

External  trade statistics represent aggregates of exports and imports by:

  • Months;
  • All levels of the Standard International Trade Classification - SMTK;
  • Nomenclature of External Trade Statistics (NSST);
  • country of origin / last known destination;
  • general economic categories (BEC);
  • economic purposes according to the EU methodology;
  • activities of the European Union (NACE Rev.2);
  • the degree of processing of products;
  • Economic zones;
  • geographical zones,
  • according to the characteristics of the company.

Each of these aggregates on exports or imports can be considered as one indicator.

03.2. Classification system
  • Harmonized system of name and product codes;
  • Combined Nomenclature EU (CN);
  • Standard International Trade Classification - SITC;
  • Nomenclature of External Trade Statistics (NSST);
  • Classification by General Economic Categories (BEC);
  • Classification of economic purposes according to EU methodology (MIG);
  • The Central Product Classification (CPC) and its "European" variant CPA;
  • European Union Classification of Activities (NACE Rev. 2);
  • Classification according to the degree of processing of products;
  • Classification of ISO alpha-2 countries and Geonomenclature.
03.3. Coverage - sector

Economics sector.

03.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

International trade in goods statistics as a result of the total external trade of goods include data on the total goods that are added to the reserves of the material wealth of the country when entering (imports) or leaving the economic territory of the Republic of Serbia  (exports). Goods in transit or temporarily imported (other than goods for internal or external processing) are not included in the results of the general trade. 

The export of goods includes data on goods leaving the statistical territory of the Republic of Serbia, moving towards other countries of the world after being registered in  accordance with the appropriate export customs procedure or the customs procedure for external processing, as well as some specific movements of goods.
The value of the exported goods, based on the WTO Agreement, is expressed according to the FOB value type (free on broad). FOB type, or parity, includes the transaction value of goods to the border of the exporting country.
Imports of goods include data on all goods entering the free circulation area, premises for internal processing, industrial free zones and customs warehouses.

The value of the imported goods on the basis of the WTO Agreement is shown according to the CIF value type (cost, insurance, freight). The CIF type or parity value includes the transaction value of the goods and the value of the services for the delivery of goods from the border of the country exporting to the border of the importing country.
The data on external trade commodity exchange were calculated in a manner that is largely in line with international recommendations, standards and practice, based on the so-called principle of the general trading system (in line with UN recommendations). .


03.5. Statistical unit

Statistical units are comprised of economic entities (enterprises) and customs declarations, which are basic statistical units.

03.6. Statistical population

Full coverage.

03.7. Reference area

Republic of Serbia.

03.8. Coverage - Time

The series covers data from 2007 to 2017.

03.9. Base period

Corresponding data from the same period previous year are used to calculate the index.

04. Unit of measureTop
04. Unit of measure

Considering the fact that this indicator includes a group of indicators, the unit of measure varies depending on the indicators.

All weight indicators are expressed in thousands of kilograms (tons), and are valued in thousands (in a dissemination database) or millions

(in releases and other publications) of RSD, EUR and USD.


05. Reference PeriodTop
05. Reference Period

Calendar year.

06. Institutional MandateTop
06.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of data on the Serbian international trade in goods is based on a set of laws, legal acts and regulations that are passed by the Serbian Assembly and the Government.

The basics documents are:

  • Rulebook on the form, content, method of filing and filling in the declaration and other forms in the customs procedure,
  • Customs Law.

Other significant domestic documents:

  • Unique methodology of statistical research of goods traffic with foreign countries,
  • The Law on Foreign Trade Operations,
  • The Law on Statistical Research,
  • Program of statistical research,
  • Customs Tariff Act.

Apart from the national legislation, international recommendations and legal acts are directly applicable.

Among them, the publications International Merchandise Trade Statistics: Concepts and Definitions (Series M, No. 52, Rev. 2) released in 1998, and IMTS 2010, which was passed on the 41th Commission session held from 23 – 26 February 2010, create the key international standards to be applicable in order to achieve international harmonisation. Our external trade statistics adopted almost all recommendations contained in the subject documents. Another important source of recommendations and acts are those adopted by the EU for external trade statistics with non-member countries (Extrastat basic regulation No. 471/2009 and other accompanying acts), as well as Statistics on the trading of goods – User guide (methods and nomenclatures), European Commission, Eurostat.


06.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

The external trade statistics regularly transmit monthly data to Eurotat, the IMF, WTO, OUN, CEFTA organization, national users such as ministries, the National Bank and others.

07. Confidentiality Top
07.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulations relating to data confidentiality:

  • Rulebook on the manner of using and providing data produced by SORS,
  • Rulebook on Protection of Statistical Data in the SORS.
07.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

The Republic Office of Statistics in the field of external trade data applies passive confidentiality in cases where importers or exporters, state authorities and other institutions require statistical authorities not to publish data that could cause damage to them or for state interests.The exception is military goods and the rule of active confidentiality, which implies that the statistical authorities themselves undertake an initiative to potentially protect data, either because of state interests, or because of the interest of individual economic entities. SORS publishes and submits information on the total statistical value of military goods under the special statistical code 99999399, and in the case of data according to the economic characteristics of the enterprise, a flag is placed, if the number of the enterprise is less than 4 in the corresponding field of activity classification.

08. Release policyTop
08.1. Release calendar

A calendar of publications is available.

08.2. Release calendar access


08.3. Release policy - user access

Data is available to all users simultaneously, by the WEB site.

More detailed information is available to the ministries, the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the National Bank through a web application, which enables the quickly creation of a large number of reports with dynamic inquiries over the External trade  database.





09. Frequency of disseminationTop
09. Frequency of dissemination

Аnnual periodicals.

10. Accessibility and clarityTop
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

Data on import and export of goods for the month and cumultatives from the beginning of the year to the month for which they are published are available on the last working day in the following month in the  Statistical Release ST11, ST12 and ST13 and the Press Release. On the last working day in January, press releases containing preliminary data of the all previous year.

Final data are available in mid-July of the following year (about five months after the preliminary annual data) in the ST11G, ST12G and ST13G  Statistical Releases and the annual Press Release with data of previous year.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

The Statistical Yearbook contains a part with tables referring to International Trade in goods:

  •           External trade balance;
  •           External trade of goods by selected external trade transaction;
  •           Exports and imports of goods by development level of countries;
  •           Exports of goods by countries;
  •           Imports of goods by countries;
  •           Exports and imports by B.E.C ;
  •           Export and import by sections of CN; 
  •           Exports and imports by sections CN;
  •           Value of exports by the classification of activities;
  •           Value of imports by classification of activities;
  •           Exports and imports of the Republic of Serbia by selected areas ;
  •           Exports of goods by sections of the SITC, rev. 4;
  •           Imports of goods by sections of the SITC, rev. 4;
  •           Exports by prevailing activity of exported goods’ producers (selected activities);
  •           Imports by prevailing activity of imported goods’ users (selected activities);
  •           Exports of main articles by countries of destination;
  •           Imports of main articles, by countries of origin.

Monthly statistical bulletin - contains the values of key indicators on exports and imports, as well as on indicators derived from them (value, trade balance deficit or surplus, coverage of import by export, data on the most important partner countries, distribution according to regions of the Republic of Serbia).

Annual bulletin: External Trade of the Republic of Serbia by Enterprise Characteristics  show  the review of external trade according to the characteristics of the company in the form of tables and graphs, with an analysis of the situation in this field of economic activity. Some tables are shown in their entirety, and others, due to their size, are given in the abbreviated version, according to the ranking of the selected features. More detailed data for each of the tables are available within the database of foreign trade statistics, with the possibility of combining according to different criteria.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

The data is available in the online database of the Republic Statistical Office, via the WEB site, using the link:


In the field External Trade, the Database option should be selected, Extenal trade in goods.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

According to the Law on Official Statistics, microdata is not available for any kind of user.


10.5. Dissemination format - other

External trade idata can be obtained by sending a written request to the Department of Foreign Trade Statistics, via e-mail address stat@stat.gov.rs.

10.6. Documentation on methodology

A description of the methodology on External trade commodity exchange is available on the WEB site of the Republic Institute for Statistics, via the following link:


There is a detailed and abbreviated version, intended for the average user of International trade in goods statistics and do not require a high degree of professional knowledge.


The methodology is in line with UN regulations, the most important document of the International Merchandise Trade Statistics: Concepts and Definitions 2010 can be found on the following link:

The manual on the use of international trade statistics is also available on the following link:


This guide describes the basic methodology and sources of data used to collect EU statistics on trade in goods. It also provides some information on the differences between EU statistics and those published by member states and international organizations. The publication is intended for the average user of international trade statistics and does not require a professional understanding.






10.7. Quality management - documentation

The publication in the form of a Quality Report on the Republic of Serbia's External trade statistics is produced at Eurostat's request and has not been published so far on the SORS website. It is planned to publish a quality report on the national website.

11. Quality managementTop
11.1. Quality assurance

The main dimensions of quality measurement in external trade statistics are:

  • relevance,
  • accuracy and reliability,
  • availability,
  • timeliness,
  • coherence i
  • comparability.
11.2. Quality management - assessment

The methodology of External  trade statistics is largely aligned with the Eurostat principles and international recommendations. The development of methods for the further improvement of data quality is unavoidable and is aimed at full harmonization with European statistics.

The estimates of the quality of external trade statistics in accordance with the main dimensions are shown in the Quality Report, which is done at Eurostat's request.

According to the results of the Customer Satisfaction Survey from 2017, conducted by SORS, about 70% of users assess the quality of data as very good and good.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. User needs

The needs of key users of International trade  in goods statistics (ministries, embassies, business entities, state administration and local self-government, international organizations, media, individuals and others) are largely met.

The purpose of using foreign trade information data:

  • determining general economic policy, including tax, monetary, structural and sectoral issues;
  • development of trade policy, including the preparation and monitoring of trade agreements and the balancing of trade disputes;
  • market analysis for exporters and importers, with the aim of defining their commercial strategy;
  •   the establishment of material balances for strategic products, with the aim of controlling the market in the field of agriculture and energy;
  • infrastructure planning;
  • collecting data for traffic statistics;
  • collection of import components for calculations of different types of price index;
  • forecasting and use of data in accounting in the system of national accounts and balance of payments.
12.2. User satisfaction

User ratings and opinions are collected through the User Satisfaction Survey conducted by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia.

Relevance of data can be assessed on the basis of satisfaction satisfaction and frequent informal and formal contact with users.

According to research, about 70% of users assess the quality of data very good and good. In direct contact with users, a very high level of satisfaction with the speed of giving precise answers and the attitude of employees to the Department of External Trade towards customers should be noted.

Dissatisfaction mainly concerns the inaccessibility of microdata.


12.3. Completeness

External trade data are fully compliant with relevant EU and  UN regulations,  recommendations and guidelines.

13. Accuracy and reliabilityTop
13.1. Overall accuracy

The overall accuracy is at a high level, taking into account all concepts and definitions that are in line with international  EU and OUN recommendations. The overall accuracy is influenced by the controls and revisions of the data that are carried out at the monthly and annual level.

13.2. Sampling error

Not available.

13.3. Non-sampling error

The accuracy of the data is influenced by the rules on confidentiality of data, as well as the errors in the calculation of the values and the amount of the unit of measure that are corrected within regular monthly controls.

14. Timeliness and punctualityTop
14.1. Timeliness

Monthly detailed data reveals that about 30 days pass between the reference moment and the moment of availability of data. The delay is shorter than what the UNSD allows (45 days) or prescribes the International Special Data Dissemination Standard (8 weeks).

The SORS has established an independent statistical database and in this way can, if necessary, change the data at the most detailed level. Due to the possibility of revision of the basic customs declarations, the final annual results are available five months after the preliminary annual data.

14.2. Punctuality

Timeliness is high, all publications and press releases are published on time, according to the official calendar of publications.

15. Coherence and comparabilityTop
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Data are produced on the basis of concepts and methods defined in EU and OUN legislation.

15.2. Comparability - over time


Data are produced on the basis of concepts and methods defined in EU and OUN legislation.


15.3. Coherence - cross domain



15.4. Coherence - internal


16. Cost and BurdenTop
16. Cost and Burden

Not available.

17. Data revisionTop
17.1. Data revision - policy

Every month, the data is revised, on the basis of which the indicator is calculated, from the beginning of the year to the month for which data are available, but the revision of the indicators of the total external trade exchange is carried out once a year, five and a half months after the publication of the preliminary values.

17.2. Data revision - practice

Due to the different nature of the data revision, the data of the first and previous revision for the reference year can sometimes be significantly different.

Users were informed of revisions via the SОRS website.

The revision of the published final data of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia is done only in the case of methodological adjustment with the concept and definitions of the UN.

18. Statistical processingTop
18.1. Source data
The basic data source is the Customs Administration. Since 2013, an additional data source on external trade of electricity has been introduced the  Serbian Transmission System and Market Operator  (Elektromreža Srbije).


18.2. Frequency of data collection


18.3. Data collection

The main instrument for compiling external trade statistics is customs declaration (Single administrative document) and for the electricity of the Excel table of the "Elektromreža Srbija". Therefore, statistical information is dependent on customs practice, definitions and policies, and only a few are collected exclusively for statistical purposes. Dependence on customs procedures implies a high level and almost complete coverage of External trade statistics

18.4. Data validation

Controls can be performed on input data (declaration level) or output level (data generated for publication). The Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia carries out all the controls at the level of the declaration.

Controls can be classified as:

Basic controls - include the validation of data and usually relate to all the collected variables. Examples of errors discovered in this type of control can be inaccurate or missing codes, missing values in declarations; inadequate number of digits in the numerically defined field, etc. ...SORS uses reference tables with an automatic process of controlling and detecting the type of error.

Complex controls - include checking the accuracy of data and evaluating all possible data-related errors. The data satisfy the aforementioned control criteria, but are probably incorrect, and can therefore be processed, but if the statistical analysis is excluded. The methods used by the RZS consist of checking one value in relation to another within the declaration or between declarations.

External trade data can also be checked against other sources. For example: balance of payments, data from business registers, VAT data, partner country data, etc. The purpose of these secondary sources is to provide additional information that can be used to verify the authenticity of data or as verification of trader declarations.


18.5. Data compilation

The process of data processing of external trade consists of the following stages:

  • Downloading data from the Customs Administration of the Republic of Serbia and Elektromreža Srbije;
  • Automatic update;
  • Logical control;
  • Initial updating of data that could not be automatically updated;
  • Forming a table with the right material;
  • Creating various tables and reports for users;
  • Updating the SORS dissemination database.
18.6. Adjustment

If necessary and in accordance with the UN concept and definitions, that is, the standards existing in the EU, various methodological adjustments are made.

19. CommentTop
19. Comment

This description covers all indicators of  subfield Internatuional trade in goods, statistical areas External Trade.