LFTTD links individual trade transactions to firms in the United States. This dataset has two components. The first, foreign trade data assembled by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Customs captures all U.S. international trade transactions between 1992 and 2005 inclusive. For each flow of goods across a U.S. border, this dataset records the product classification, the value and quantity shipped, the date of the shipment, the destination (or source) country, the transport mode, and whether the transaction takes place at “arm’s length” or between “related parties”. “Related-party”, or intra-firm, trade refers to shipments between U.S. companies and their foreign subsidiaries as well as trade between U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies and their affiliates abroad. For imports, firms are “related” if either owns, controls or holds voting power equivalent to 6 percent of the outstanding voting stock or shares of the other organization (see Section 402(e) of the Tariff Act of 1930).
The second component of the LFTTD is the Longitudinal Business Database (LBD) of the U.S. Census Bureau, which records annual employment, industry (4-digit 1987 Standard Industrial Classification SIC4), and survival information for most U.S. establishments. Employment information for each establishment is collected in March of every year and we aggregate the establishment data up to the level of the firm. Matching the annual information in the LBD to the transaction-level trade data yields the LFTTD. Products in the LFTTD are tracked according to ten-digit Harmonized System (HS) categories. There are 8572 categories for exported products and 22305 categories for imported products.
This data set permits examination of a number of new dimensions of firm activity, including activities of U.S.-based versus foreign-based multinationals or wholesalers versus retailers, how many products firms trade, how many countries firms trade with, the characteristics of those countries, the concentration of trade across firms, whether firms transact at arm’s length or with related parties, whether firms import as well as export, etc.