International Trade in Services: 2014

The UK's imports and exports of services analysed by product, industry and country.

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This is an accredited national statistic.

Contact:
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Release date:
29 January 2016

Next release:
To be announced

1. Main points

  • Total UK exports of services (excluding travel, transport and banking) in current prices continued to rise, increasing from £117,193 million in 2013 to £119,703 million in 2014, an increase of 2.1%.

  • Total UK exports of services to Europe witnessed the largest increase in 2014, rising from £57,150 million in 2013 to £58,711 million, an increase of 2.7%. Exports to the Netherlands contributed most towards the increase.

  • The professional, scientific and technical industrial grouping was the largest in terms of UK service exports in 2014.

  • Total UK imports of services (excluding travel, transport and banking) in current prices increased by 2.0%, rising from £53,387 million in 2013 to £54,455 million in 2014.

  • Imports of services to the UK from Germany showed the largest growth within Europe rising from £4,736 million in 2013 to £5,287 million in 2014.

  • The information and communication services industrial grouping was the largest in terms of UK services imports in 2014.

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2. Your views matter

The structure of this release has been modified in response to your feedback. We are constantly aiming to improve this release and its associated commentary. We would welcome any feedback you might have and would be particularly interested in knowing how you make use of these data to inform your work. Please contact us via email: itis@ons.gov.uk or telephone Michael Hardie on +44 (0)1633 455923.

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3. Overview

The 2014 International Trade in Services (ITIS) publication provides a detailed breakdown of annual trade in services estimates, analysing data by country, product and industry. These data are sourced from our International Trade in Services survey.

The ITIS survey is a main source of UK trade data although it is important to note that the survey does not cover the whole of the UK economy. The travel, transport and banking sectors of the economy are not covered by the ITIS survey, as these data are obtained from other sources such as the International Passenger Survey and the Bank of England. Estimates for the overall level of trade in services, including these industries, are published in our annual Pink Book and monthly UK trade publications. Based on the 2014 estimates, the ITIS data contributed approximately 52% and 37% respectively to the total trade in services export and import estimates for the whole of the UK.

More information on UK trade can be found on our website.

The 2013 edition of this publication contained the first set of ITIS results that had been collected and published according to the agreed international standards set out in the sixth edition of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Balance of Payments manual (BPM6). The recommendations from the revised manual resulted in the ITIS questionnaire being thoroughly reviewed and updated. The data for 2014 was collected and processed in the same manner as 2013, meaning a comprehensive and comparable 2 year time series is now available.

A copy of the ITIS questionnaire is available on the Introduction to ITIS page on our website.

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4. Summary

Total exports of services (excluding travel, transport and banking) from the UK increased from £117,193 million in 2013 to £119,703 million in 2014 in current prices, an increase of 2.1%.

UK exports of services increased by an average annual rate of 9.6% between 2001 and 2013. The rate of growth slowed in 2014 with UK exports increasing by 2.1%, the lowest recorded in over a decade.

Total imports of services (excluding travel, transport and banking) to the UK, in current prices increased from £53,387 million in 2013 to £54,455 million in 2014, an increase of 2.0%.

Imports of services to the UK increased by an annual average rate of 9.2% between 2001 and 2014; although growth of imports has fluctuated more between years than UK exports. The rate of growth in UK imports slowed in 2014 to 2.0%, the lowest recorded growth rate since 2010, when imports to the UK grew by 1.2%.

The ITIS estimates show that in 2014 the UK continued to be a net exporter of services meaning more services were exported from the UK than imported. The UK trade balance for services stood at £65,248 million in 2014, an increase of 2.3% when compared with 2013.

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5. Section A: Total international trade in services (excluding travel, transport and banking) by continent and countries

This section shows geographical findings for total UK international trade in services (excluding travel, transport and banking). The size of the arrows in figures 2 and 3 are proportionate to the size of the continental export and import markets for the UK.

For more detailed geographic information relating to total export and imports of services please refer to table A0 – Total trade in services (excluding travel, transport and banking) analysed by continents and countries.

Exports of services

UK exports of services to Europe continued on an upward trend in 2014, rising from £57,150 million in 2013 to £58,711 million in 2014 and Europe remained the largest area in receipt of UK exports of services. The Netherlands surpassed Switzerland in 2014 to become the main trading partner of the UK within Europe, with UK exports to the Netherlands increasing from £5,584 million in 2013 to £7,580 million in 2014. Switzerland and Germany remained prime destinations for UK exports; although both countries saw small declines in UK exports of £508 million and £319 million respectively in 2014.

The Americas, supported by the USA, remained the second largest area in receipt of UK exports of services in 2014. UK exports of services to the Americas increased from £32,915 million in 2013 to £33,523 million in 2014, of which UK exports to the USA made the largest contribution with exports of £27,821 million in 2014.

As in previous years, Asia remained the third largest destination for UK exports of services and increased marginally in 2014, rising from £19,660 million in 2013 to £19,703 million in 2014. The rest of Asia surpassed Saudi Arabia in 2014 to become the largest destination for UK service exports in Asia in 2014. UK service exports to Saudi Arabia declined in 2014 falling from £5,315 million in 2013 to £4,289 million in 2014.

Imports of services

UK imports of services from Europe showed a decline in 2014, falling from £29,359 million in 2013 to £29,085 million in 2014. The most notable decline was from the Irish Republic where UK imports fell from £4,084 million in 2013 to £3,335 million in 2014. Partly offsetting this decline were increases in UK imports from Germany and France, which rose by £551 million and £312 million respectively. Germany remained the main origin for UK imports in 2014, with UK imports increasing to £5,287 million. France surpassed the Irish Republic to become the second largest origin for UK imports in 2014, rising to £3,586 million in 2014. The decline in UK imports of services from Europe in 2014 is the first recorded since 2011.

UK imports of services from the Americas have increased each year since 2010 and increased further in 2014, from £13,336 million in 2013 to £14,863 million in 2014. The USA remained the largest place of origin for UK imports from the Americas in 2014 and increased from £11,642 million in 2013 to £12,945 million in 2014.

Asia remained the third largest area from which UK imports of services originated, with imports being primarily sourced from India and Singapore in 2014.

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6. Section B: Trade in services products: geographical analysis

This section presents UK trade in services estimates by broad product type, and provides an overview of the changes in the value of exports and imports for these types of services by continent between 2013 and 2014.

The ITIS statistical bulletin provides geographical breakdowns for 3 broad services product types: technical, trade related, operational leasing and other business services; professional, management consulting and research and development (R&D) services; and merchanting, other-trade related and services between related enterprises. The proportions each of these product types contributed to total UK exports and imports of services in 2014 are presented in Table 1.

Technical, trade related, operational leasing and other business services group

Table 2 presents the service products that comprise the technical, trade related, operational leasing and other business services group up to 2012 and from 2013 onwards. Implementing the latest BPM6 recommendations resulted in a change to the grouping from 2013 onwards.

Exports

UK exports of technical, trade related, operational leasing and other business services showed further growth in 2014, rising from £17,277 million in 2013 to £18,094 million in 2014.

UK exports of technical, trade related, operational leasing and other business services to Europe reached £6,841 million in 2014, a £564 million increase compared with 2013. Growth in 2014 appears notably smaller than in 2013, when UK exports of these types of services almost doubled. The Netherlands remained the largest destination for UK services exports in 2014, reaching £1,229 million in 2014, a £232 million increase compared with 2013. Norway remained the second largest destination for UK exports of these types of services within Europe, with the value of exports rising to £1,028 million in 2014, an increase of £158 million compared with 2013.

UK exports of technical, trade related, operational leasing and other business services to Asia increased from £4,566 million in 2013 to £4,748 million in 2014. UK exports to Singapore showed the largest growth, rising from £183 million in 2013 to £821 million in 2014. In contrast to 2013, UK exports to Saudi Arabia almost halved, falling from £1,315 million in 2013 to £713 million in 2014 signalling a return to levels seen in 2012.

The Americas were the third largest destination in 2014 for UK exports of technical, trade related, operational leasing and other business services; however, experienced a decline, falling from £4,237 million in 2013 to £3,926 million in 2014. The decline was driven by the rest of America where exports fell from £424 million in 2013 to £201 million in 2014. Despite experiencing a decline in 2014, the USA remained the largest destination in the Americas for these types of UK services exports.

Imports

UK imports of technical, trade related, operational leasing and other business services increased from £5,675 million in 2013 to £6,383 million in 2014, the third consecutive period of growth since 2011.

Imports to the UK from Europe of technical, trade related, operational leasing and other business services increased from £2,961 million in 2013 to £3,292 million in 2014. Italy made the largest positive contribution to UK imports, rising from £274 million in 2013 to £410 million in 2014. With the exception of 2013, UK imports of these types of services from Italy have increased in each year since 2010. Imports of these types of services to the UK from Germany fell from £570 million in 2013 to £495 million in 2014. Germany remained the largest source of imports to the UK for these types of services from within Europe.

Imports to the UK from Asia of technical, trade related, operational leasing and other business services increased from £1,426 million in 2013 to £1,636 million in 2014. Singapore made the largest contribution to the increase, with imports to the UK more than doubling from £347 million in 2013 to £735 million in 2014. Partly offsetting the rise in imports from Singapore was a decline in imports from the rest of Asia, which fell from £554 million in 2013 to £268 million in 2014.

Imports to the UK from the Americas of technical, trade related, operational leasing and other business services increased from £1,030 million in 2013 to £1,251 million in 2014. The USA remained the largest country within the Americas for these types of imports, accounting for £736 million in 2014.

Professional, management consulting and research and development (R&D) services

Table 3 presents the service products used to compile the professional, management consulting and R&D services group up to 2012 and from 2013 onwards. Implementing the latest BPM6 recommendations resulted in a change to the grouping from 2013 onwards.

Exports

UK exports of professional, management consulting and R&D services showed further growth in 2014, with exports rising from £29,109 million in 2013 to £31,063 million in 2014.

Europe remained the largest destination for UK exports of professional, management consulting and R&D services, and showed continued growth in 2014, rising from £16,629 million in 2013 to £17,291 million in 2014. The Netherlands showed the largest increase in 2014, rising from £1,373 million in 2013 to £1,973 million in 2014. Switzerland remained the largest destination within Europe for these types of UK service exports, despite falling from £3,464 million in 2013 to £3,090 million in 2014. Germany was the second largest destination for exports of these types of services in 2014 and also saw a decline.

UK exports to the Americas of professional, management consulting and R&D services increased from £8,182 million in 2013 to £8,916 million in 2014. The USA remained the largest destination in the Americas for these types of services, rising from £6,847 million in 2013 to £7,783 million in 2014.

UK exports to Asia of professional, management consulting and R&D services increased in 2014, rising from £3,315 million in 2013 to £3,675 million in 2014. Within Asia, Japan remained the largest destination for UK exports of these types of services, reaching £1,014 in 2014, a £137 million increase compared with 2013. Singapore experienced the largest increase in 2014, rising from £268 million in 2013 to £419 million in 2014. UK exports of these types of services to the rest of Asia fell from a peak of £930 million in 2013 to £795 million in 2014.

Imports

Imports of professional, management consulting and R&D services to the UK decreased from £15,608 million in 2013 to £14,610 million in 2014.

Europe was the main source for UK imports of professional, management consulting and R&D services in 2014. The value of UK imports of these types of services from Europe declined in 2014, falling from a peak of £8,536 million in 2013 to £7,953 million in 2014. Small declines in imports to the UK were generally experienced by most countries within Europe; Sweden and Switzerland saw the largest decreases, falling by £246 million and £129 million respectively. Partly offsetting these falls were positive contributions from Germany, where imports rose from £1,581 million in 2013 to £1,723 million in 2014 and the Netherlands, where imports increased from £485 million in 2013 to £574 million in 2014.

The Americas remained the second largest source for UK imports of professional, management consulting and R&D services. Imports of these types of services increased from £4,066 million in 2013 to £4,161 million in 2014. The USA remained the largest country in the Americas for these type of imports, reaching £3,788 million in 2014.

Merchanting, other trade related and services between related enterprises

Table 4 presents the service products used to compile the merchanting, other trade related and services between related enterprises group up to 2012 and from 2013 onwards. Implementing the latest BPM6 recommendations resulted in a change to the grouping from 2013 onwards.

Exports

UK exports of merchanting, other trade related and services between related enterprises showed a decline in 2014, falling from £16,763 million in 2013 to £14,590 million in 2014. UK exports of these types of services had been increasing at a steady rate before growth started to decline in 2012.

UK exports to Europe of merchanting, other trade related and services between related enterprises continued to decline in 2014, falling from £8,872 million in 2013 to £7,885 million in 2014. Within Europe, UK exports to Germany showed the largest decline, falling from £1,180 million in 2013 to £805 million in 2014. UK exports to Switzerland also saw a notable decline, falling from £1,855 million in 2013 to £1,530 million in 2014. Partly offsetting the decline was a rise in UK exports of these types of services to the Netherlands, which increased from £1,189 million in 2013 to £1,437 million in 2014. Switzerland and the Netherlands were the largest and second largest European UK export markets for these types of services in 2014.

UK exports to the Americas of merchanting, other trade related and services between related enterprises also experienced a decline in 2014, falling from £4,894 million in 2013 to £4,458 million in 2014. The USA experienced the largest decline, falling from £4,505 million in 2013 to £4,094 million in 2014.

Imports

UK imports of merchanting, other trade related and services between related enterprises to the UK increased in 2014 rising from £9,490 million in 2013 to a peak of £10,355 million in 2014, the highest recorded value since 2010.

Europe continued to be the main source for UK imports of merchanting, other trade related and services between related enterprises, with a total import value from Europe of £5,154 million in 2014. Despite remaining a dominant area in 2014, UK imports from Europe declined by £348 million to £5,154 million in 2014 compared with 2013. The decline can be attributed to a reduction in UK imports from the Netherlands, which fell from a peak of £973 million in 2013 to £486 million in 2014, signalling a return to pre-2013 levels. Germany and France were the 2 largest sources for these types of UK imports from Europe in 2014, accounting for £951 million and £895 million respectively.

The growth seen in UK imports of merchanting, other trade related and services between related enterprises in 2014 was driven by increased imports from the Americas which increased from £2,206 million in 2013 to £3,237 million in 2014. The increase was mainly from the USA, which increased from £1,940 million in 2013 to £2,838 million in 2014.

UK imports from Asia also grew in 2014, rising from £1,369 million in 2013 to £1,584 million in 2014. India and Japan made the largest contributions to the increase in 2014, with imports to the UK rising by £82 million and £70 million respectively.

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7. Section C: Trade in services by products: industry analysis

This section provides an overview of UK trade in services exports and imports detailed by industry.

Exports

In 2014, the professional, scientific and technical activities industrial grouping remained the largest in terms of UK exports of services, accounting for 28.0% of total services exports; followed by the information and communication services industrial grouping, which accounted for 24.2%.

UK exports from the professional, scientific and technical activities industrial grouping increased from £32,091 million in 2013 to £33,500 million in 2014.

A breakdown of this industrial grouping by type of service product is presented in table C5. The table shows that "business and professional" services accounted for £17,567 million of total UK exports from within this industrial grouping. UK exports of legal services was the largest service product within "business and professional" services. UK exports of legal services increased from £4,015 million in 2013 to £4,552 million in 2014. The service product "services between related enterprises" also made a notable positive contribution to the growth of UK exports of "business and professional" services, increasing from £3,320 million in 2013 to £3,650 million in 2014.

The information and communication sector was the second largest industrial grouping in terms of UK exports of services and expanded the most in 2014, rising from £25,312 million in 2013 to £29,021 million in 2014, an increase of £3,709 million. The breakdown of the information and communication sector by type of service product (table C4) shows that this sector mainly exported "telecommunication, computer and information" type services, which grew from £12,788 million in 2013 to £15,854 million in 2014.

In 2014, the information and communication industrial grouping continued to account for the largest amount of UK imports of services.

UK imports of services by the information and communication industries increased from £13,606 million in 2013 to £14,963 million in 2014. A breakdown of this industrial grouping by type of service product (table C4) shows that telecommunication and computer services were the main types of services imported to the UK within the information and communication industries. Imports of telecommunication services increased from £3,227 million in 2013 to £4,221 million in 2014 whereas imports of computer services experienced a small decline, falling from £3,230 million in 2013 to £2,926 million in 2014.

The professional, scientific and technical activities industrial grouping was the second largest industrial grouping, despite experiencing a decline in 2014. Imports to the UK from this industrial grouping fell from £13,079 million in 2013 to £12,723 million in 2014. This is the second period of decline since 2012 when imports to the UK for these industries reached £13,401 million. The decline in 2014 is driven by a fall in imports to the UK of intellectual property type services (table c5), which fell from £923 million in 2013 to £649 million in 2014.

Imports to the UK by industries related to financial and insurance activities showed a small decline in 2014, falling from £5,625 million in 2013 to £5,562 million in 2014. This is in contrast to the notable increase seen by these industries in 2013, when imports rose from £3,370 million in 2012 to £5,625 million in 2013.

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8 .Background notes

  1. Your views matter

    We are constantly aiming to improve this release and its associated commentary. We would welcome any feedback you might have and would be particularly interested in knowing how you make use of these data to inform our work. Please contact us via email: itis@ons.gov.uk or telephone Michael Hardie on (+44) (0)1633 455923.

  2. Basic quality information

    The Quality and Methodology Information (834.9 Kb Pdf) describes, in detail, the intended uses of the statistics presented in this publication, their general quality and the methods used to produce them.

  3. Relevance to users

    Government and businesses use the International Trade in Services (ITIS) data for economic assessment. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) state that the ITIS survey is the only source of services and product detail for international service trade, and is essential for regional exports analyses. BIS also use the ITIS survey data to monitor the competitiveness of UK businesses and to gain a better understanding of the level of service exports.

    The Scottish Government also show significant interest in the survey results, to supplement Scotland’s Global Connections Survey (GCS), whilst the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) use the ITIS data in one of their main outputs, “The Creative Industries Statistical Bulletin”.

    The British Film Institute use the data to assess the performance of the UK film industry and for providing policy advice to the government and strategic advice to the industry. The data is used in the compilation of the International Trade Statistics yearbook.

    UK ITIS figures are also extensively used for policy, analysis and negotiations by international organisations as well as a number of foreign embassies. More widely the ITIS estimates are utilised by commercial companies, academics and independent researchers.

  4. Guidance on interpreting international trade in services statistics

    ITIS collects data relating to the amounts spent on both the imports and exports of UK businesses and collects geographical information as to where the services have either been imported from or exported to.

    Types of transactions covered

    Product: The statistical output from the ITIS survey covers the value of transactions between the UK and residents in other countries in respect of 52 products. The 2013 ITIS questionnaire has recently been revised in accordance with new international regulations. A breakdown showing the service products collected up to 2012 and from 2013 onwards can be found in table 5.

    Industry: The industry analysis enables estimation for the total international transactions in services by economic classification for well-defined areas of the economy using SIC information. Data from 2009 in this publication have been published in SIC (2007) classification which is an internationally recognised standard industrial classification. This provides a framework for the collection, tabulation, presentation and analysis of data about economic activities. Prior to 2009, SIC 2003 classification would have been used.

    Geographical: Both industry and product information are analysed geographically. The tables within this publication show the countries to which services are exported, and from which services are imported.

    The geographical groupings used in the tables can be found in table 6.

    Earnings from third country trade, that is, from arranging the sale of goods between 2 countries other than the UK and where the goods never physically enter the UK are included. This activity is known as merchanting. Earnings from commodity trading are also included. As with merchanting, the service element is the profit or loss.

    Types of transactions not covered

    The purpose of the ITIS survey is to record international transactions which impact on the UK’s Balance of Payments, hence companies are asked to exclude from their earnings trade expenses such as the cost of services purchased and consumed abroad. Trade in services exports or imports which are invoices for the export or import of goods are excluded as they are already counted in the estimates for trade in goods.

    The ITIS survey currently selects for the whole of the economy, with a number of exceptions:

    • travel
    • transport
    • banking and other financial institutions
    • higher education
    • charities
    • most activities within the legal profession
  5. Coverage

    The figures for the European Union (EU) relate to the 28 member states of the EU from 2013 onwards.

    Trade with EU institutions is also included in the EU totals and excluded from the International Organisations totals.

    Please note that all tables in this publication only include data collected via the ITIS and ABS surveys. Data relating to Travel and Banking are not included.

    The Film and Television (FTV) Industries are included in the published data from 2009 onwards. For 2008, FTV figures were collected via a separate survey and data published in the International transactions of the UK film and television industries Statistical Bulletin 2008.

    The ITIS survey is just one component of the Trade in Services (TIS) estimates. Data for TIS in this report are consistent with the UK Balance of Payments which can be found in Pink Book Chapter 3.

    By analogy with trade in goods we refer to the type of service traded as a “product analysis” – the products being consistent with the sixth edition of the Balance of Payments Manual. The second type of analysis is referred to as the “industry analysis” – covering well defined areas of the economy.

    In the following section both types of tables, industry and product have been analysed on a geographical basis by showing the countries to which services are exported and from which they are imported. Both of these types of analyses are preceded by geographical analysis of imports and exports of total International Trade in Services.

    The industry analysis allows us to estimate the total international transactions in services for well-defined areas of the economy. It also tells us the exporting or importing country in relation to the UK.

  6. Accuracy and errors

    The data was previously classified according to the fifth edition of the Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5), but 2014 data is now classified according to the sixth edition of Balance of Payments Manual (BPM6).

    The results of the Annual and Quarterly Surveys into International Trade in Services (ITIS) provide Trade in Services data which contribute to key components of the measurement of the UK’s Balance of Payments (BoP) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These results are published in detail in the UK Balance of Payments Pink Book.

    The ITIS survey (which consists of a quarterly component addressed to the largest businesses and an annual component for the remainder) covers receipts from the provision of services to residents of other countries (exports) and payments to residents of other countries for services rendered (imports). Residents of other countries are companies, governments and individuals. Although companies classified to the financial auxiliaries sector are included in the ITIS survey, businesses classified to other financial areas are not included in the sample. This does not mean that financial services are not covered as these services can be imported by companies classified outside the financial sector.

    Sampling frame

    The sampling frame used by international trade in services is the Inter Departmental Business Register (IDBR), which is compiled primarily from administrative information such as VAT details and PAYE from HM Revenue and Customs. The register holds business information including turnover, employment and SIC. The IDBR covers businesses in all parts of the economy, missing some very small businesses operating without VAT or PAYE schemes (self employed and those with low turnover and without employees) and some non-profit organisations. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills makes an estimate of the total number of unregistered businesses in its Business Population Estimates for the UK and Regions publication.

    All the data on the IDBR are treated as RESTRICTED COMMERCIAL and are protected by the Code of Practice for Official Statistics and by specific legislation.

    Sample design

    This includes 9,000 businesses randomly selected from IDBR . Selection is stratified by employment and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) 2007. ITIS selects across the whole of the economy with a number of exceptions detailed at point 5 of this document. An additional 5,000 businesses are made up of a fixed panel of known traders and as such are not subject to weighting.

    For the first time in 2007, data was used from the Annual Business Survey (ABS) to improve coverage of the ITIS survey. In total the (ABS) approaches some 65,000 companies. A matching exercise of samples and universes was undertaken to ensure no duplication. Following this quality assurance exercise, data from approximately 9,000 companies were used in the 2013 ITIS results. It should be noted that the (ABS) component only provides total import and export data. The country and product detail are estimated using like companies from the fixed panel of known traders. Like companies are those within the same SIC and employment strata.

    The quarterly survey is a subset of the annual survey, so there is no overlap or duplication between the annual and quarterly surveys. The quarterly sample consists of the largest companies in terms of international trade in services, and the results are used throughout the year to forecast total annual ITIS.

    Respondents are requested to provide figures for the current calendar year (1 January 2014 to 31 December 2014), although some respondents provide figures for their actual accounting year.

    All values for ITIS are at current prices. Current prices, refers to prices as they were at the time of measurement and not adjusted for inflation.

    The measurement of trade in services presents a difficult methodological problem, since the population is large and the occurrence (especially for imports) can be unpredictable and infrequent. Although the sample size of the ITIS survey was increased in 2002, given these measurement problems, it remains relatively modest and the quality of the estimates must be judged accordingly.

    In addition to the imputation of detail for some categories where the data are incomplete, there remains a margin of uncertainty about the accuracy of reported data. The finer the level of detail sought, the greater the likelihood of misallocation. Enterprises reporting data are encouraged to make their best estimates, but as country attribution may not be a crucial aspect of the management information from which details are extracted, a significant degree of approximation is likely to occur.

    Given the conceptual and practical limitations described above, these estimates should be seen as a broad indication of the economic relationships between the UK and international economies. They will be more reliable and more meaningful in terms of broad geographical areas and major partner countries than for smaller partner countries.

    Within this publication, to avoid disclosing data on individual companies the tables have been arranged to remove these disclosive items. This is done wherever possible by suppressing the item so that non-disclosing headings are preserved. However, in some cases it has been necessary to combine headings in order to mask the disclosive data. In addition, some totals or balances may not exactly agree with the calculations on the components. This is due to rounding.

    Response rates

    In addition to the above sample, we also select approximately 9,000 businesses via the Annual Business Survey.

  7. Imputation

    Imputation techniques are used to estimate values for those members of the population where data are not available, either due to the business being outside the sample or a non-respondent. Previously information relating to the imputed proportions of final ITIS estimates was published as part of the statistical bulletin. The methodology used for calculating of these estimates is currently under review and we will look to publish these estimates again in future editions of this publication.

    Non-response bias is a potential issue for all statistical surveys. Non-response bias occurs where the answers of respondents may have differed from the potential answers of non-responders. The risk of non-response bias is minimised by efforts to maximise response rates. Estimation techniques can attempt to correct for any bias that might be present. Despite this, it is not easy, on any survey, to quantify the extent to which non-response bias remains a problem. However, there is no evidence to suggest that non-response bias presents a particular issue for the ITIS surveys.

  8. Standard errors

    Sampling error is the error caused by observing a sample instead of the whole population. While each sample is designed to produce the "best" estimate of the true population value, a number of equal sized samples covering the population would generally produce varying population estimates. Sampling error is affected by a number of factors including sample size.

    Sample surveys are used instead of censuses, because the process would be too lengthy and costly to be viable. Standard errors are an estimate of the sampling error and provide a measure of the precision of the estimate. A low standard error indicates a precise estimate. To aid comparison, the standard error is also expressed as a percentage of the total value. This quantity is called the coefficient of variation and it allows the standard errors to be put into context.

    In addition to sampling errors there is the potential for non-sampling error that cannot be easily quantified. For example, undetected deficiencies may occur in the survey register and errors may be made by the contributors when completing the survey questionnaires.

    The methodology for calculating standard errors is currently under review and we will look to publish standard error estimates in future editions of this release.

  9. Coherence

    Comparison with Quarterly ITIS: In addition, the quarterly sample which is made up of approximately 1,100 survey contributors also feeds into ITIS results. The quarterly survey is a subset of the largest companies, and the results are also used throughout the year to forecast total annual ITIS.

    Comparison with the Film and Television Survey Data: The Film and Television Survey (FTV) is now incorporated into Annual ITIS since 2009. The results from this survey will be included in tables presenting total ITIS; which are tables AO, C0 and C1. Tables showing film industry data and television industry data by geographical area are published as tables D1 and D2 in the Annual ITIS 2013 publication. These tables were shown as tables 4 and 5 in the 2008 International transactions of the UK film and television industries bulletin.

    Comparison with ABS: The ABS survey is made up of approximately 65,000 companies. Following quality assurance exercises to avoid double counting, the ABS survey supplements coverage of the ITIS survey by approximately 9,000 companies.

  10. Notes to tables

    The tables show International Trade in Services through a variety of formats. Some tables compare figures over several years but the majority provide the most recent geographic information by industry or product. The tables provide information in as much detail as possible without disclosing the details of any individual companies. Any disclosive data is replaced by the following symbol throughout the tables “..”. It is important to note that within the geographical tables, amounts are shown against the geographical area from which they were received, irrespective of where they were first earned.

    European Free Trade Association (EFTA) comprises Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

    The sum of constituent items in tables may not always agree exactly with the totals shown due to rounding.

    The following symbols have been used throughout:

    .. Figures suppressed to avoid disclosure of information relating to individual enterprises

    -Nil or less than half the final digit shown

  11. National Statistics

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department which reports directly to Parliament. ONS is the UK government's single largest statistical producer. It compiles information about the UK's society and economy, and provides the evidence-base for policy and decision-making, the allocation of resources, and public accountability.

    The UK Statistics Authority has reviewed this publication in their report: “Assessment of compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics”: Statistics of International Transactions, which was published on 8 December 2011. This review recommended that ITIS estimates be designated as National Statistics on 3 May 2013.

  12. Social media

    Follow ONS on Twitter and receive up to date information about our statistics.

    Like ONS on Facebook to receive our updates in your newsfeed and to post comments on our page

  13. The Government Statistical Service (GSS)

    The GSS is a network of professional statisticians and their staff operating both within the Office for National Statistics and across more than 30 other government departments and agencies.

  14. GSS business statistics

    To find out about other official business statistics, and choose the right data for your needs, use the GSS Business Statistics Interactive User Guide. By selecting your topics of interest, the tool will pinpoint publications that should be of interest to you, and provide you with links to more detailed information and the relevant statistical releases. It also offers guidance on which statistics are appropriate for different uses.

  15. Discussing ONS business statistics online

    There is a Business and Trade Statistics community on the StatsUserNet website. StatsUserNet is the Royal Statistical Society’s interactive site for users of official statistics. The community objectives are to promote dialogue and share information between users and producers of official business and trade statistics about the structure, content and performance of businesses within the UK. Anyone can join the discussions by registering via either of the links above.

  16. Special events

    We have recently published commentary, analysis and policy on "Special Events" which may affect statistical outputs. For full details go to the special events page on our website.

  17. Release policy

    Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gov.uk.

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

  18. Copyright

    © Crown copyright 2016

    You may use or re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/ or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: psi@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk.

    This document is also available on our website.

    Next Publication Date:
    Friday 31 January 2017

    Issuing Body:
    Office for National Statistics
    Government Buildings
    Cardiff Road
    Newport
    NP10 8XG

    Media Contact Details:Telephone: Media Relations Office +44 (0)845 6041858
    Emergency out of hours (limited service): + 44 (0)7867 906553
    Email: media.relations@ons.gov.uk

  19. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Michael Hardie
itis@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455923