International Trade in Services: 2013

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

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This is an accredited national statistic.

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Release date:
30 January 2015

Next release:
To be announced

1. Main findings

  • Total UK exports of services (excluding travel, transport and banking) in current prices continued to rise, increasing from £103,828 million in 2012 to £117,193 million in 2013, an increase of 12.9%.
  • Total UK exports of services to Europe witnessed the largest increase in 2013 rising from £51,963 million in 2012 to £57,150 million, an increase of 10.0%. Exports to Germany contributed most towards the increase.
  • The professional, scientific and technical activities sector continued to be the largest sector contributing 27.4% of total UK exports in 2013.
  • Total UK imports of services (excluding travel, transport and banking) in current prices increased by 15.1% rising from £46,399 million in 2012 to £53,387 million in 2013.
  • Imports of services to the UK from the Irish Republic showed the largest growth within Europe rising from £2,597 million in 2012 to £4,084 million in 2013.
  • The information and communication services sector made the largest contribution to UK imports of services in 2013, contributing 25.5% of total UK imports.
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2. Your views matter

The structure of this release has been modified in response to some feedback received from its users. 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

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3. Overview

A detailed breakdown of annual trade in services estimates, analysing data by product, industry and country are provided in the 2013 International Trade in Services (ITIS) publication. These data are sourced from the Office for National Statistics International Trade in Services survey.

The ITIS survey is a key source of UK trade data although it is important to note the survey does not cover the whole of the UK economy. Data for 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 the Office for National Statistics annual Pink Book and monthly UK trade publications. Based on the 2013 estimates the ITIS data contributed approximately 56% and 41% respectively to the total trade in services export and import estimates for the whole of the UK.

The 2013 estimates contained within this publication are the first set of ITIS results that have 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). Implementing the recommendations from the revised BPM6 manual resulted in the ITIS questionnaire being thoroughly reviewed and updated. Changes to the survey included:

  • six deleted questions - for example, 'Reinsurance claims and premiums' were removed from the questionnaire
  • three split questions - for example, 'Other on-site processing services' became 'Manufacturing services on goods owned by others' and 'Maintenance and repair services'
  • 10 new questions - for example, 'Manufacturing services on goods owned by others'. This question aims to collect data on fees charged by foreign businesses for the processing, assembly, labelling, and packing of goods overseas that are owned by a respondents business
  • three merged questions - for example, 'Advertising' and 'Market research and public opinion polling’ merged to become 'Advertising, market research and public opinion polling services'
  • rebranding of the ‘Royalties and licences’ section – This section was re-named ‘Intellectual Property’ and the questions within this section have all been revised and contain two new additional questions
  • questionnaire layout - for example, renumbering of question codes and changes to sections for example, the 'Communications' section has been merged with 'Computer and Information Services' and 'Information services' to create one complete section titled 'Telecommunications, Computer and Information Services'
  • updated wording and guidance – descriptions surrounding what data should be reported against specific questions have been enhanced to clarify to users what information should be reported

As a result of updated wording and guidance data variations at service product level may partly be explained by this. Users should be mindful of this when analysing product level estimates over time.

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

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4. Summary

Total exports of services (excluding travel, transport and banking) from the UK in current prices, increased from £103,828 million in 2012 to £117,193 million in 2013, an increase of 12.9%.

Prior to this, UK exports increased by 9.2% on an annual basis (2001-2012), reaching a peak of £117,193 million in 2013.

Total imports of services (excluding travel, transport and banking) to the UK, in current prices increased from £46,399 million in 2012 to £53,387 million in 2013, an increase of 15.1%.

The ITIS estimates show the UK continued to be a net exporter of services in 2013, meaning more services were exported from the UK than imported. The UK trade balance for services stood at £63,806 million in 2013, an increase of 11.1% when compared to 2012.

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

This section shows key 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 increased from £51,963 million in 2012 to £57,150 million in 2013 and remained the largest area in receipt of UK exports. Switzerland surpassed the Irish Republic to become the main trading partner of the UK within Europe, with UK exports to Switzerland increasing from £6,248 million in 2012 to £7,712 million in 2013. UK exports of services to Germany also increased in 2013 rising from £6,018 million in 2012 to £7,490 million in 2013, an increase of 24.5%. This increase has resulted in Germany becoming the second largest country within Europe in receipt of UK service exports.

The Americas, mainly supported by the USA, remained the UK’s second largest area in receipt of UK exports. Exports to the USA increased in 2013 rising from £22,759 million in 2012 to £26,504 million in 2013, an increase of 16.5%.

Asia remained the third largest destination for UK exports of services with exports increasing from £16,284 million in 2012 to £19,660 million in 2013, an increase of 20.7% Saudi Arabia made the largest contribution to the overall exports total for Asia contributing 27.0%.

An interactive map can be found on the ONS website detailing the UK’s European import and exports of services.

Imports of services

UK imports of services from Europe rose from £24,192 million in 2012 to £29,359 million in 2013 and remained the main import area. Within Europe, Germany remained the main origin for UK imports of services, increasing from £4,102 million in 2012 to £4,736 million in 2013. The Irish Republic was the second largest trading partner of the UK for imports of services increasing from £2,597 million in 2012 to £4,084 million in 2013. UK imports from the Irish Republic more than doubled between 2009 and 2013, with the most notable increase seen in the 2013.

The Americas remained the second largest area that the UK imported services from followed by Asia. There were no compositional changes of countries within these continents from which the UK imported services from.

An interactive map can be found on the ONS website detailing the UK’s European import and exports of services.

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

In this section UK trade in services exports and imports are broken down by product groups. Each group is analysed by continent, making comparisons between 2012 and 2013.

As a result of changes to international regulations the ITIS questionnaire used to collect trade in services data for 2013 was revised. This has improved coverage of ITIS data collection and should be considered when comparing product groupings over time.

The percentage contributions to total UK exports and imports of services of each of the product groupings contained within this section are:

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

The table below shows the service products used to compile the technical, trade related, operational leasing and other business services group across both 2012 and 2013.

Exports

UK exports of technical, trade-related, operational leasing and other business services increased by £6,392 million in 2013 to £17,277 million.

UK exports to Europe almost doubled in 2013 rising from £3,397 million in 2012 to £6,277 million in 2013. Prior to this, exports of services to Europe had been on a broad downward trend before a slight recovery in 2012. Within Europe, UK exports to the Netherlands showed the largest increase from £303 million in 2012 to £997 million in 2013, an increase of £694 million. This was followed by UK exports to both Germany and Norway which increased by £572 million and £377 million respectively.

UK exports to Asia have been on an upward trend since 2009 with the exception of 2011 which showed flat growth. UK exports to Asia increased from £3,140 million in 2012 to £4,566 million in 2013. Within Asia, UK exports to Saudi Arabia showed the largest growth rising from £699 million in 2012 to £1,315 million in 2013. This follows strong growth in recent years, with the 2012 estimate more than doubling in comparison to 2011.

UK exports to the Americas also experienced growth in 2013 rising from £2,573 million in 2012 to £4,237 million in 2013. Within the Americas, UK exports to the USA showed the largest increase rising to £2,773 million and accounted for over half the total export value to the Americas in 2013.

Imports

Imports to the UK of technical, trade-related, operational leasing and other business services has grown at a much more subdued rate since 2011 with imports to the UK rising to £5,675 million in 2013, an increase of £1,349 million.

Imports to the UK from Europe increased from £2,194 million in 2012 to £2,961 million in 2013. Germany made the largest contribution to the overall UK imports total in 2013 with an estimated imports total of £570 million and has been increasing at a steady rate since 2011. France and the Netherlands also made large contributions to total UK imports in 2013, with estimates of £441 million and £321 million respectively.

Imports from Asia increased from £1,102 million in 2012 to £1,426 million in 2013, the second largest contribution to the total UK imports estimate in 2013. Imports from Asia were predominantly sourced from Singapore and the Rest of Asia, with an estimated £347 million and £554 million imported to the UK from these countries respectively. Imports from Saudi Arabia showed a marked increase in 2012 rising to £252 million before returning to pre 2012 levels in 2013.

Imports to the UK from the Americas grew by £324 million rising from £706 million in 2012 to £1,030 million in 2013. The USA was the dominant country within the Americas, which the UK imported these services from, with an overall imports total in 2013 of £692 million.

Professional, management consulting and R&D services

The table below shows the service products used to compile the professional, management consulting and R&D services group across both 2012 and 2013.

Exports

UK exports of professional, management consulting and R&D services continued on an upward trend with total UK exports rising to £29,109 million in 2013, an increase of £4,657 million.

Europe remained the largest export destination and showed growth of 21.4% rising from £13,702 million in 2012 to £16,629 million in 2013. Switzerland remained the largest export destination and showed the largest year on year increase rising from £2,220 million in 2012 to £3,464 million in 2013. Germany, the Irish Republic and the Netherlands also made large contributions to the overall UK exports total, all of which saw notable year on year increases. UK exports to Europe ‘unallocated’ experienced a decline in 2013 falling from £1,033 million in 2012 to £387 million in 2013. Europe ‘unallocated’ comprises of data where the respondent knows the continent services have been exported to but not specifically which country.

UK exports to the Americas increased from £7,089 million in 2012 to £8,182 million in 2013, an increase of 15.4%. This is in contrast to 2012 when the Americas showed flat growth. The USA continued to be the largest trading partner in receipt of UK exports of these services and was also the country which experienced the largest growth within the Americas in 2013.

UK exports to Asia increased by 17.5% in 2013, rising from £2,821 million in 2012 to £3,315 million. UK exports to Japan and the Rest of Asia made the largest contribution to the overall UK exports total in 2013, experiencing growth of £109 million and £126 million respectively.

Imports

Imports of professional, management consulting and R&D services to the UK increased from £12,349 million in 2012 to £15,608 million in 2013.

Imports of these services to the UK were primarily sourced from Europe which increased from £6,800 million in 2012 to £8,536 million in 2013. Imports from Germany and the Irish Republic made the largest contribution to the overall UK imports total for Europe both of which experienced growth in 2013. The time series from 2009 onwards shows that UK imports of these services were driven by imports from Germany and France. In 2013 however, strong growth was experienced in UK imports from the Irish Republic resulting in Irish imports making the second largest contribution to the overall total for UK imports from Europe.

UK imports from the Americas continued to make the second largest contribution to the overall UK imports total. Imports to the UK from the Americas increased by £1,161 million in 2013, from £2,905 million in 2012 to £4,066 million in 2013. Imports of these services were primarily sourced from the USA which made the largest contribution to the overall UK imports total for the Americas, which rose to £3,671 million in 2013.

Merchanting, other trade related and services between related enterprises

The table below shows the service products used to compile the merchanting, other trade related and services between related enterprises group across both 2012 and 2013.

Exports

UK exports of merchanting, other trade related and services between related enterprises showed a decline in 2013 falling from £21,308 million in 2012 to £16,763 million, a decrease of £4,545 million. The time series from 2009 to 2011 shows that UK exports of these services had been increasing at a steady rate before growth started to decline in 2011.

UK exports to Europe continued to decline in 2013, falling from £11,579 million in 2012 to £8,872 million in 2013, a decrease of £2,707 million. Within Europe, UK exports to the Netherlands showed the largest decline falling from £2,189 million in 2012 to £1,189 million in 2013. Exports to Switzerland increased to £1,855 million in 2013, resulting in Switzerland making the largest contribution to the overall UK exports total. Despite showing a decline in 2013, the Netherlands continued to make a notable contribution to the overall UK exports total to Europe.

UK exports to the Americas also witnessed a decline in 2013, falling from £6,005 million in 2012 to £4,894 million in 2013, a decrease of £1,111 million. Apart from Brazil, the decline in exports of these services to the Americas was broad based, with the USA experiencing the largest decline.

UK exports to Asia declined in 2013, falling from £2,463 million in 2012 to £1,950 million in 2013. Declines were seen across the whole of Asia with the exception of Singapore, Hong Kong and the Rest of Asia which combined increased by £169 million.

The worldwide decline of these services seen in 2013 can in part be attributed to the decline of UK exports of ‘services between related enterprises’ which decreased by £5,646 million. Over recent years the product ‘services between related enterprises’, had become the largest service product contributing to total UK exports. Implementing the recommendations made in the current BPM6 manual resulted in a proportion of the data collected under this service product being reported elsewhere on the ITIS questionnaire therefore contributing to part of the decline seen in 2013.

Imports

UK imports of merchanting, other trade related and services between related enterprises to the UK also saw a decline in 2013, falling from £9,902 million in 2012 to £9,490 million in 2013. The rate of decline seen in UK imports of these services is much more subdued in comparison to the decline experienced in UK exports of these services, which saw a sharp downturn in 2013.

UK imports from Europe experienced marginal growth, rising from £5,407 million in 2012 to £5,502 million in 2013. The Netherlands made the largest contribution to the increase with imports rising to £973 million in 2013, an increase of £604 million. The rise in imports of these services from the Netherlands has resulted in the country making the largest contribution to the UK imports total of these services from Europe, superseding France which made the largest contribution in 2012.

UK imports from the Americas declined in 2013 falling from £2,409 million in 2012 to £2,206 million in 2013. This decline was primarily driven by a reduction in imports of these services from the USA to the UK, which fell by £290 million.

UK Imports from Asia continued to decline in 2013 falling by £299 million. Singapore showed the largest decline falling by £95 million to a total of £202 million in 2013.

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7. Section C: Trade in Services by Products: Industry Analysis

This section illustrates UK trade in services exports and imports detailed by industry and product classification.

Exports

The professional, scientific & technical activities sector remains the largest sector contributing to total UK exports followed by the information and communication sector, with shares of 27.4% and 21.6% respectively. UK exports from this sector experienced a small decline in 2013 of £633 million, falling from £32,724 million in 2012 to £32,091 million in 2013.

The breakdown of this sector by type of service product (Table C5 - 2013) shows that this sector primarily exported ‘business and professional’ type services, which accounted for £16,237 million of the sectors total services exports estimate. Exports of these services from this sector showed a decline of £6,789 million in 2013, which can partly be attributed to the revised layout of the ITIS questionnaire. Research and development services were included under ‘business and professional services’ up to 2012, however, from 2013, research and development estimates have a designated category of their own. Please refer to Table C5 – 2013 to see the revised service product layout.

The service product ‘services between related enterprises’ also showed a marked decline in 2013 falling by £3,302 million. This can also in part be attributed to the redesign of the ITIS questionnaire as values previously reported under this service type by respondents are now reported elsewhere on the questionnaire.

UK service exports from within the manufacturing sector expanded the most in 2013, rising by £3,356 million to a total service exports figure of £12,366 million. This is in contrast to the time series from 2009 which shows exports from the manufacturing sector have gradually been reducing. A large proportion of the increase was driven by exports of ‘manufacturing services on goods owned by others’ and ‘maintenance and repair services’ which had a combined exports figure of £2,558 million. These are new questions as of 2013. UK exports of ‘engineering services’ continued to make the largest contribution to the overall UK exports total for the manufacturing industry in 2013 with an estimated export total of £2,630 million.

Imports

In 2013, the information and communication sector made the largest contribution to total UK imports of services closely followed by the professional, scientific & technical activities sector.

Imports of services to the UK by the information and communication sector increased by £330 million, rising from £13,276 million in 2012 to £13,606 million in 2013. The increase seen in 2013 resulted in the information and communication sector becoming marginally the largest sector responsible for importing services to the UK.

The breakdown of this sector by type of service product (Table C4) shows that telecommunication and computer services are primarily the main types of services imported to the UK by the information and communication sector. Combined, these have a total UK imports estimate of £6,507 million which equates to 47.8% of the total UK imports value for this sector.

Analysing sector level growths between 2012 and 2013 shows that the financial and insurance activities sector expanded the most in terms of importing services to the UK which grew by £2,255 million in 2013, followed by the wholesale and retail sector which increased by £1,610 million.

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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 Release.

    The British Film Institute (BFI) 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 or exported.

    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 in both 2012 and 2013 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 Standard Industrial Classification (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 that follow are found in table 6.

    Earnings from third country trade, for example, from arranging the sale of goods between two 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
    • and 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 Annual Business Survey (ABS). 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 (148.1 Kb Pdf) .

    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.

    By analogy with trade in goods we refer to the type of service traded as a “product analysis” – the products being consistent with the fifth edition of the IMF’s 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 2013 estimates contained within this publication have been collected in accordance with the latest Balance of Payments Manual (BPM6). Implementing the new requirements led to a thorough review of the questionnaire and resulting in a revised layout.

    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, which is compiled primarily from administrative information such as VAT details from HM Customs and Excise and PAYE from the Inland Revenue. 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 & 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 the IDBR. Selection is stratified by employment and 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 2013 to 31 December 2013), 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 FTV Survey Data: The 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 2012 publication. These tables were shown as Tables 4 & 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 businesses. 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 ITIS 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.

    n/a Data not available for this period.

  11. National Statistics

    The 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 Director General of ONS reports directly to the National Statistician who is the Authority's Chief Executive and the Head of the Government Statistical Service.

    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 the Mergers and Acquisitions estimates be designated as National Statistics, subject to ONS carrying out certain requirements. ONS is working hard to meet the requirements set out in this assessment report.

  12. Social media

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  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

    ONS has published commentary, analysis and policy on 'Special Events' which may affect statistical outputs. For full details visit the Special Events page on the ONS website.

  17. 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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9 . Methodology

Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

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