ROMANIA: Goods: Illegal Drugs in the International Accounts/Illegal Drugs; Illicit Cigarette/Tobacco Market; Smuggling of Alcohol; and Services: Prostitution


In Romanian national accounts, only estimates for illegal activities have relevance in the external sector statistics. The estimates for illegal activities are performed for:

  • smuggling of tobacco and alcohol products
  • prostitution
  • consumption and trafficking of drugs (including: heroin; cocaine; marijuana; hashish; amphetamine; ecstasy)

The aggregates included in the external sector statistics for illegal activities are:

  • Imports of goods – for smuggling tobacco and alcohol, trafficking of drugs;
  • Exports of services – for prostitution.

Scope, Methodology, Compilation Practices, and Data Sources

The scope of the performed estimates is to improve the exhaustiveness of national accounts, as required by ESA 2010 Regulation, GNI Regulation 1287/2003 and GNI Committee Recommendations. According to these requirements, the non-exhaustiveness adjustments within Romanian national accounts compilation are addressed by seven types (N1-N7), the illegal activities being included in the type N2.

The compilation hypothesis is specific to each type of illegal activity as observed in Romania:

  • For smuggling tobacco and alcohol, there were identified imports, no exports, no domestic output;
  • For prostitution, there were identified internal production, no imports and some exports;
  • For trafficking and consumption of drugs, there were identified only imports, no production, no exports.

The methods involved in the compilation are:

  • supply method for smuggling tobacco and alcohol products
  • supply method for prostitution;
  • demand methods for drugs.

Smuggling tobacco and alcohol products

For smuggling tobacco and alcohol products, the information comes from:

  • Romanian Border Police (seizures by border regions, used to identify the origin markets),
  • market research studies (sale prices on legal market and percentage of smuggled goods in total sales),
  • national media articles (total sales on legal market, prices on origin markets and illegal internal market and payments associated to intermediate consumption).

The repartition by regions of seizures of tobacco products is used to estimate a repartition of total smuggling and in consequence to estimate the value of smuggling, taking into account the different prices on origin markets and on internal market.

The seizures of alcohol products are the starting point in the calculation of total smuggling, using the percentage of smuggling products in total sales on illegal market and the prices on origin market and on internal market.


For drugs, the following data sources are used:

- Yearly Report of Ministry of Internal Affairs -National Anti-Drug Agency of Romania (ANA)

- statistical data on population from National Institute of Statistics

Due to the fact that Romania appears an area mainly of import and consumption, the estimations focused on these components. First step is to estimate the number of drugs users, based on data provided by ANA Report for Bucharest, together with estimates for the rest of country based on the last year (12 months) prevalence rate. The consumption pattern is further deducted - the distinction between regular and occasional users following the other EU countries model. The different prices (at wholesale and in street) are applied, using information from yearly Report of ANA. Quantities of drugs imported is obtained as the ratio of quantities of drugs consumed in the street and coefficient of dilution (obtained as the ratio of purity of imported drugs and purity of drugs sold on street).


For prostitution, only data in press and yearly reports of a Romanian non-profit organization are available for estimation. The stratification is as following: by street, home, hotels, clubs, other. The tariffs are indexed with the index of euro-lei exchange rate. The export is compiled based on the number of arrivals of foreign tourists in the hotels in the main cities of Romania, of which a percentage is considered to access the prostitution services.

Linkages Across Statistical Domains

The applied methodology was developed in the framework of the non-exhaustiveness adjustments for national accounts, with impact in Gross domestic products/ Gross national income. The estimates performed are further incorporated in external sector statistics by adding to the Balance of payments data on imports and exports, the imports and exports obtained for illegal activities in the national accounts framework.

Current Challenges and Conclusions

The main challenges for the compilation of illegal activities are: very few data sources from public authorities with tendency to lessen, the used media sources are very irregular and could not be captured up-to-date; a part of the used hypothesis considered in the estimates could not be verified in practice.

It is almost impossible to run a statistical survey on the illegal activities due to limited resources of National Institute of Statistics of Romania and the high risk for the persons performing inquiries.


The documentation on illegal activities for statistical users, in Romanian language, could be found at the following link: esa/metodologie activitati ilegale.pdf