UK trade status quo

New reminder: HMRC UK customs and trade statistics

HMRC published customs and trade statistics in a new experimental report. It's another reminder for traders: How do you prepare for future UK trade? Is your import and export filing sorted?

The new experimental statistics released by HMRC in the report “UK trade in goods statistics by business characteristics 2016" offer expanded analyses showing overseas trade numbers by business characteristics, including information about the businesses trading in such goods broken down by industry group, age of business, and size of business (number of employees). A good reminder for traders to prepare for future trade amidst current developments under Brexit. 

The report finds that in 2016, there were 147,000 businesses in the UK exporting goods, with a total employee count of 9.7 million. On the import side, there were 227,000 importing businesses in the UK with a total employee count of 12.6 million in the same time frame.

>> Access the full HMRC report online

The majority of UK businesses engaged in international trade in goods were at least ten years old (63% of exporters and 57% of importers, excluding those where age is unknown). These businesses accounted for 85% of the value of UK goods exports and 83% of imports.

In 2016, the average number of employees per trading business remained approximately the same as in 2015, following a decrease between 2014 and 2015.

To provide the data for this new report, HMRC linked the overseas trade statistics (OTS) trade-in-goods data with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) business statistics sourced from the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR). The linked data provides additional information about the types of business carrying out international trade, such as their industry group, age, and size. These statistics are currently labeled as experimental in order to 

  • allow the new publication to incorporate new methodology that is subject to change, and
  • allow external users to provide feedback on the publication so that enhancements can be made to future releases.

The analysis is presented in four sections: 

  • Total trade: Includes timelines of total trade 2013–2016 with value of UK imports and exports, and number of UK importers and exporters.
  • Trade by industry group: Includes timelines of trade for non-services industries 2013–2016 with value of UK imports and exports, and number of UK importers and exporters; timelines of trade for the services industry 2013–2016 with value of UK imports and exports, and number of UK importers and exporters; analysis of trade by industry group (for 10 industry groups) with value of UK imports and exports, number of UK importers and exporters, and number of employees for UK importers and exporters.
  • Trade by size of business: Includes timelines of trade for large businesses 2013–2016 with value of UK imports and exports, and number of UK importers and exporters; timelines of trade for small and medium-sized businesses 2013–2016 with value of UK imports and exports, and number of UK importers and exporters; analysis of trade by business size (for 5 size categories) with value of UK imports and exports, number of UK importers and exporters, and number of employees for UK importers and exporters.
  • Trade by age of business: Includes analysis of trade by business age (for 6 age categories) with value of UK imports and exports.

Smooth trade depends on efficient border crossings - before and after Brexit: 

Export Filing with AEB

Import Filing with AEB