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Trade statistics: Financial Times, 29 January 2013

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Letter for publication in response to a reader's letter in the Financial Times, 29 January 2013

Issue date: 31 January 2013
Type: Letter to the Press


In questioning the accuracy of official UK export statistics, Sir Paul Newall claims the relevant data are obtained from the shipping containers on docksides (letters, January 29). In fact the information comes from a very detailed and reliable set of sources.

The vast majority of trade from non-EU countries is measured through customs declarations. In contrast, trade with EU countries is compiled through a survey known as Intrastat. Around 27,000 businesses are required to submit monthly Intrastat declarations. The level of response to the Intrastat survey accounts for almost 95% of the value of our trade with other EU countries, with summary information available for the other 5%.


The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated the resulting figures as National Statistics, which means that they are produced using sound methods and in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Yours faithfully,

Caron Walker,

Head, Collection and Production Directorate
Office for National Statistics,
Government Buildings,
Cardiff Road,
Newport NP10 8XG

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