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International Trade covers the trade between UK entities and those in the Rest of the World. Trade in goods data are collected from survey and administrative systems. Trade in services information is produced from quarterly and annual inquiries and government administrative records.

Publications

Exporting Northern Ireland Services (Experimental)
Department: Finance and Personnel (Northern Ireland)
Statistics on the value of service exports by key industries in Northern Ireland.
Foreign Direct Investment
Department: Office for National Statistics
Provides a detailed breakdown of UK foreign direct investment flows, positions (stocks) and earnings (both inward and outward), by country, component and industry.
Global Connections Survey
Department: Scottish Government
This bulletin presents statistics on international and rest of UK exports. The figures provide an estimate of the cash value of Scotland¡¯s exports of goods and services, by industry and destination.
International Trade in Services
Department: Office for National Statistics
Detailed product, industry and geographic breakdowns of imports and exports of services, mainly based on data from the International Trade in Services (ITIS) Survey.
International transactions of the UK film and television industries
Department: Office for National Statistics
Covers International Transactions of the film and television industry through a variety of formats.
Manufacturing Sales and Exports (Northern Ireland)
Department: Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
Sales and Exports generated by Northern Ireland manufacturing businesses.
Manufacturing Sales and Exports (Northern Ireland)
Department: Enterprise, Trade and Investment (Northern Ireland)
Sales and Exports generated by Northern Ireland manufacturing businesses.
UK Overseas Trade Statistics - UK Trade with Countries outside the European Union
Department: HM Revenue and Customs
This publication provides details of the overseas trade in goods statistics (OTS) of the United Kingdom (UK) which are published as National Statistics by HM Revenue and Customs. The OTS are a detailed dataset covering the UK's trade in goods at a disaggregated country and product level. These are published separately for Non-EU and EU trade and provide access to both aggregated and detailed data for over 9,000 commodities and 250 partner countries.
UK Overseas Trade Statistics - UK Trade with the European Union
Department: HM Revenue and Customs
This publication provides details of the overseas trade in goods statistics (OTS) of the United Kingdom (UK) which are published as National Statistics by HM Revenue and Customs. The OTS are a detailed dataset covering the UK's trade in goods at a disaggregated country and product level. These are published separately for Non-EU and EU trade and provide access to both aggregated and detailed data for over 9,000 commodities and 250 partner countries.
UK Regional Trade in Goods estimates
Department: HM Revenue and Customs
To meet the needs of devolution, HM Revenue & Customs now provide statistics of international trade in goods for England and its regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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Overview

International trade in goods data detailing trade between the UK and non-EU countries are collected from UK Customs import and export entries made by importing/exporting businesses, predominantly via the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system.

The total value of international trade in goods data from trade between the UK and other member states of the EU is collected from VAT-registered businesses via the VAT return. For those with a larger total value of trade more detail is collected from HM Revenue & Customs¡¯ Intrastat survey, which collects monthly data from businesses whose EU trade exceeds the Intrastat Exemption Threshold.

Trade in services covers the provision of services by UK residents to non-residents and vice versa. Also included in trade in services are any freighted goods for personal use and transactions in goods?that are not freighted out of the country in which the transactions take place. Trade in services are disaggregated into eleven broad categories of services, as defined by the Balance of Payments Manual?Fifth edition (BPM5).

Data are derived from the International Trade in Services (ITIS) survey, along with other sources such as Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Chamber of Shipping (COS), and the International Passenger Survey (IPS). Information on the financial sector is supplied by the Bank of England, the Baltic Exchange and NS surveys. Lloyds of London and Office for National Statistics (ONS) surveys supply insurance data.

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Technical Data

International trade in goods data are published by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as the ¡®Overseas Trade Statistics (OTS) of the UK¡¯. They are based on the United Nation¡¯s International Merchandise Trade Statistics Concepts and Definitions, as interpreted in EU statistical legislation.

OTS is compiled monthly from trade declarations made using commodity codes from the UN Harmonised System and its EU derivative, the Combined Nomenclature. These provide an eight-digit numeric codification for all products traded around the world. For each commodity declared, businesses must provide details of the statistical value in GB Pounds Sterling, the destination country (exports) and country of despatch (imports), and one or two measures of quantity (net mass and/or supplementary unit) depending on the commodity.

In addition to the data collected from detailed import, export and Intrastat declarations, the OTS for trade between the UK and other Member States of the EU include a number of trade estimates. Businesses trading below the Intrastat Exemption Threshold contribute data by completing two boxes on the UK VAT return. All VAT-registered businesses must declare the value of their supplies to and acquisitions from other EU Member States, predominantly on a quarterly basis. These values are allocated to the OTS based upon the patterns of trade of similar businesses trading just above the threshold.

Estimates are also made for the total value of trade missing from Intrastat declarations where businesses have failed to submit all or any of their data by the due date. Since July 2005, an adjustment has also been made for the impact of Missing Trader Intra Community (MTIC) VAT fraud. This quantifies the missing Intrastat Arrival (import) data connected with the fraud, and does not reflect the level of the fraud itself.

Regional Trade Statistics are also produced by HMRC from the OTS dataset. These statistics provide a breakdown of the flows of imports and exports between regions of the UK and the Rest of the World, presented in the standard Government Office Region (GOR) geography.

Trade in services data are a published National Statistic within National Accounts. Data are primarily collected via the Office of National Statistics¡¯ (ONS) statutory (under the Statistics of Trade Act) International Trade in Services (ITIS) survey.

The ITIS survey targets UK private non-financial corporations. Firms are randomly selected from the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) as well as from a filter question on the Annual Business Inquiry (ABI). The ITIS survey collects exports and imports of services data for 51 products by country of origin and destination. A separate annual survey provides data on international trade of the UK film and television industries.

Travel data relating to expenditure on goods and services by UK residents and non-residents travelling abroad for less than one year are collected via the International Passenger Survey (IPS). The IPS is a frontier survey that interviews over a quarter million travellers each year, accounting for roughly 0.3 per cent of travellers. The IPS sample is stratified to ensure that it is representative of mode of travel (air, sea or tunnel), route and time of day. A variety of data are collected on the IPS including expenditure, purpose of visit and nationality of traveller.

Other notable data sources for trade in services data include the Bank of England for data on Monetary Financial Institutions (banks and building societies), ONS inquiries into insurance companies and pension funds and the Civil Aviation Aviation for data relating to international air transportation. It also includes the Chamber of Shipping for sea transportation and information from government departments relating to transactions by embassies, consulates, military units and defence agencies with residents of, for example, staff and military persona in the economies in which they are located.?

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Glossary

  • Arrivals

    Imports to one EU Member State from another, collected by the Intrastat survey.

  • CHIEF

    The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system, used for managing UK Customs authorisation of the import and export of goods.

  • Dispatches

    Exports from one EU Member State to another, collected by the Intrastat survey.

  • EU Member States

    The 27 European countries that together form the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK).

  • Export

    The supply of goods or services to another country from the UK.

  • Import

    The bringing of goods or services into the UK from another country.

  • International trade in goods

    Goods traded between one country and those in the Rest of the World.

  • Intrastat

    The EU survey collecting statistical data, detailing trade between VAT-registered businesses in one EU Member State and entities in the other Member States, administered in the UK by HM Revenue?& Customs (HMRC).

  • Intrastat Declarations

    Monthly statistical declarations from VAT-registered businesses, collected as part of the Intrastat survey. Arrivals (EU imports) and Dispatches (EU exports) data are collected separately.

  • Intrastat Exemption Threshold

    The value of EU trade, which a VAT-registered business must surpass within a calendar year, to become liable to submit monthly Intrastat declarations. This value threshold applies separately to both EU Arrivals (imports) and Dispatches (exports).

  • Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) VAT Fraud

    Missing trader intra-community (MTIC) fraud, also known as carousel fraud, is a sophisticated criminal attack on the VAT system. It involves goods imported VAT-free from other EU Member States being sold through contrived business-to-business transaction chains in the Member State where the fraud occurs, and subsequently exported. The tax loss occurs when the VAT charged on the initial sale of the goods in the member state where the fraud occurs is not paid to the relevant tax authority because the seller disappears.

  • Non-EU

    The countries of the World, excluding the 27 EU Member States.

  • Value Added Tax (VAT)

    Value Added Tax, or VAT, is a tax charged on most business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions in the EU. VAT is also charged on goods, and some services, imported from places outside the EU and on goods and some services coming in from other EU countries. Businesses exceeding a set trade turnover must register for VAT, and in the UK usually account for VAT on a quarterly basis by filling in a VAT return and submitting it to HM Revenue & Customs.

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Contact Details

For statistical enquiries about this topic, please contact:

HMRC Trade Statistics

Email: uktradeinfo@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 1702 367485

Customer Services 3NC Alexander House 21 Victoria Avenue Southend SS99 1AA

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