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Office for National Statistics launches new International Business Unit

Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today launched a specialist unit that will provide fresh insight on the economic effects of globalisation and multinational enterprises.

The ONS International Business Unit will work with some of the largest multinationals to ensure that their activities are recorded accurately and attributed to the correct countries.

In an increasingly globalised world, changes in the accounting of large multinationals can have a large impact on economic statistics such as gross domestic product (GDP), trade and balance of payments.

Launched at the quarterly ONS Economic Forum in London today, the ONS International Business Unit will focus on:

  • understanding the issues involved with the restructuring of multinationals, particularly where there is the potential for a notable impact on UK economic statistics
  • gaining a better understanding of the scale and extent of globalisation issues, such as contract manufacturing and cross-border use of intellectual property, and the impact that has on important data collected by ONS
  • ensuring that there is consistency and coherency across all the survey and administrative data collected for every multinational in scope
  • ensuring that ONS asks the appropriate questions of the multinationals, tailored to their individual business model, and to reduce the questionnaire burden placed on them

Commenting, Head of the ONS International Business Unit Sarah Eaton said:

“As the economy becomes more globalised, large multinational enterprises are having a pronounced effect on national economies. Policymakers and analysts will benefit from an enhanced understanding of the scale, location and impact of these business giants.

“The commitment of ONS to this important area of research represents another step in the ongoing development of the UK’s official statistics to fully reflect a rapidly changing economic order.”

Other recent ONS developments include the integration of VAT tax data into the national accounts and Europe’s first monthly estimates of GDP.



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