As announced on 26 May 2016, there has been a methodological change to the way our trade-in-goods statistics are compiled. This is due to a change in legislation affecting the way in which goods are declared to Customs.
From the May 2016 month of account our national trade-in-goods statistics have been compiled using the ‘Special Trade’ system. All trade-in-goods statistics prior to May 2016 were compiled using the ‘General Trade’ system. The ‘Special Trade’ system is already used for the trade statistics we send to the EU Commission, and by the vast majority of other Member States (for national purposes).
The key difference between these compilation methodologies is that the ‘General Trade’ system records goods entering a customs warehouse, whereas the ‘Special Trade’ system only captures such goods once they leave the warehouse and enter free circulation or an alternative customs regime. There may be an impact on time series analysis for periods bridging this change. Further information regarding the two methodologies is outlined in the Overseas Trade Statistics Methodology Paper.