Overseas Trade Statistics - EU MetaData



EU Member States are required by legislation to collect data on international trade. The implementing regulations specify that Eurostat will carry out an annual quality assessment 'based on quality indicators and requirements agreed beforehand with the national authorities.'

The quality indicators are those specified in the DOC MET 1000 document mentioned above. The latest Eurostat assessment of the UK international trade data can be found here.

Eurostat also produce a Summary Quality Report for all EU Member States available here, and an annual EU Quality Report here.

HMRC Trade Statistics also produce a regular OTS & RTS Quality Report based on the GSS guidelines referred to above. The latest report is available here.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing the business returns that make up the OTS, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. While the data published have been checked as far as practicable, they should be regarded as approximate and not necessarily accurate to the last whole number shown in the tables. They are fit to be used for purposes such as trend analysis and for comparing the relative magnitude of components


As with many economic statistics produced by the Government Statistical Service, the OTS are released as provisional figures and are subject to routine monthly revisions in line with our revisions policy

Data suppression

Although we aim to publish as much of the collected, detailed data as possible we are obliged to protect sensitive business and national interests through preventing disclosure where there is a clear requirement to do so. The OTS are subject to passive confidentiality which is detailed in our data suppression policy available here.

Full OTS methodology

The Policies and Methodologies page contains both a summary overview of the OTS methodology and a full OTS methodology paper detailing all aspects of collection and publication.

About OTS

Access to further web information regarding the components of the detailed dataset (data fields, aggregation etc.), all policies, methodologies and related reports, quality assurance and user consultations can be accessed via the About OTS link from the menu. 


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