Intrastat is the system for collecting statistics on the trade in goods between the countries of the EU. It has been operating since 1st January 1993, and replaced Customs declarations as the source of trade statistics within the EU. The requirements of Intrastat are similar in all Member States of the EU.
Trade statistics are an essential part of a country's balance of payments account and are regarded as an important economic indicator of a country's performance.
Government departments in the EU use the statistics to help set overall trade policy and generate initiatives on new trade areas. The volume of goods moving is also assessed to allow the planning of future transport infrastructure needs.
The commercial world uses trade statistics for their own county (e.g. to gauge import penetration) and in other EU countries (e.g. to assess new export markets).