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Estimates of EU Trade  

OTS EU trade is collected from VAT-registered businesses via the VAT return. For those with a larger turnover more detail is collected from the Intrastat survey. EU trade data collection and publication methodology requires the following estimation to be conducted: 

Non Response​

Where businesses have failed to provide Intrastat declarations in time for inclusion in the published monthly trade tables, or have provided incomplete declarations, estimates of the total value of such trade will have been included. This is termed the non-response estimate. The non-response estimate reduces for a particular month over time, as more trade data is subsequently received. More information regarding the non-response estimate methodology can be viewed in the Policies and Methodologies area of About OTS .

Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) 

Missing Trader Intra-Community fraud is a systematic criminal attack on the VAT system, which has been detected in many EU Member States. It relies on the VAT-free movement of goods between Member States. In essence, fraudsters obtain VAT registration to acquire goods VAT-free from other Member States. They then make a domestic sale of the goods at VAT inclusive prices and disappear without paying over to the tax authorities the VAT paid by their customers. The trade tends to be in high value, low volume goods.  

An adjustment for the impact of MTIC fraud is made to the published EU Arrivals (EU imports) data in division 99, as part of the monthly non-response estimate. This is an estimate of the missing Arrivals data connected with the fraud and does not reflect the level of the fraud itself. These estimates have been included in the interactive data from March 2007 onward. View a pre-prepared table detailing these estimates.

Further information regarding MTIC VAT fraud and its impact on the OTS can be viewed in the Reports area of 'About OTS'

Below Threshold Trade Allocations (BTTAs)

The total values of EU trade conducted by VAT-registered businesses that are below the Intrastat threshold are collected from their VAT returns. Although detailed data is not available, it has been established that the pattern of trade is similar to that of businesses just above the threshold making detailed declarations. Estimates of detailed allocations of the trade values collected from businesses below the threshold are made on that basis. These figures are added to the OTS EU data at SITC division (2-digit) level.

An aggregate table showing the most recent EU Dispatches / Arrivals (EU export / import) estimates of BTTAs and non-response (including MTIC VAT fraud). 

Net Mass Estimation Factors

From January 2010, HMRC estimates for missing net mass declarations​ in all EU commodity codes where this is a voluntary data element. This is done using a series of factors created annually by Eurostat.
For further information please refer to the Methodology paper for the Overseas Trade Statistics in the Policies and Methodologies area.