Regional Trade Statistics - Metadata


HMRC Trade Statistics produces a regular OTS & RTS Quality Report.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing the business returns that make up the RTS, 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.

Matching to region

In addition to the quality issues relating to data collection there are also issues resulting from the data matching used in compiling the RTS.
RTS data is compiled by merging trade data collected by HMRC with employment data from the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR). A business’ trade is allocated to a region based on the proportion of its employees employed in that region. Where a business is not matched with the IDBR, its trade is matched with Office for National Statistics postcode data to obtain the region in which the Head Office of the VAT registered business (importer or exporter) is based.


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

Data suppressions

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 RTS is subject to our data suppression policy.

Full RTS methodology

The full methodology for the collection and publication of the RTS is available.

National statistics

The RTS has recently been reviewed as part of an assessment made of Overseas Trade Statistics by the UK Statistics Authority. View the report of that assessment.
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