ISIC Codes - International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities

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About ISIC Codes

ISIC is a classification structure of economic activities (industries) based on a set of internationally agreed concepts, definitions, principles and classification rules. ISIC is used to classify statistical units, such as establishments or enterprises, according to the economic activity in which they mainly engage.

ISIC has a central position among existing classifications of economic activities, as well as other economic classifications, such as those for products. ISIC provides the internationally accepted standard for categorizing producing units within an economy, which allows for data comparison at the national and international levels. ISIC is a completely separate classification system from SIC Codes.

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Questions & Answers

  • What is the difference between ISIC codes and SIC Codes?

    ISIC is the abbreviation for International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities whereas SIC is the abbreviation for Standard Industrial Classification. - Both are completely different classification systems, and although comparable at certain levels, are entirely independent from one another. SIC Codes predate ISIC codes and were developed by and for the United States. The ISIC Code system is developed and updated by the United Nations and many countries throughout the world rely on it for their industrial classifications. For business targeting purposes in the United States and Canada, the SIC Code system is the preferred and most precise method available.

  • What are some of the agencies and organizations that use ISIC Codes?

    The United Nations, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other international bodies use ISIC when publishing and analysing statistical data. A number of countries have utilized ISIC as the basis for developing their national industrial classifications. Many countries have adapted their national industrial activity classifications based on ISIC. With the fourth revision of ISIC, considerable effort was made in strengthening its relevance and comparability with other classifications; such as the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), the General Industrial Classification of Economic Activities within the European Communities (NACE), and the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).