Customs and Excise regional trade statistics : a note

Cuthbert, Margaret and Cuthbert, Jim (2003) Customs and Excise regional trade statistics : a note. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 28 (3). pp. 38-42. ISSN 0306-7866

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United Kingdom Regional Trade In Goods Statistics, pro- duced by HM Customs and Excise, (Customs and Excise: Quarterly) provide up-to-date quarterly information on exports and imports and were introduced in 1999 “to support the economic decision-making of the devolved Scottish Parliament, Assemblies, and regional bodies within the UK.” Probing and analysis of the data which we undertook indicated a number of problems with the data, not least the wrongful inclusion in the Scottish data of a “catch all” UK category which for some industrial sectors represented almost 70% of the published Scottish data. The data, produced in the scope of National Statistics and “to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice”2 were therefore unusable for the stated purpose. In July 2003, a new methodology was introduced by Customs and Excise with the purpose of clearing up earlier data problems. This article considers whether the data are now fit for purpose, and concludes that many problems still exist.