Examination of Witnesses

Part of Trade Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:02 pm on 16th June 2020.

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George Riddell:

Two initiatives have been undertaken recently. One is that the Office for National Statistics has launched its experimental trade in services datasets, which it is looking to continually improve. Anything that supported that initiative would certainly look good. For the past Trade Bill, in the previous Parliament, a number of organisations, such as TheCityUK, put forward written evidence with more concrete suggestions. I do not have that with me, unfortunately, but I am happy to share it.

Coming to the point on the data being notoriously unreliable, both the US and the UK claim that they have a trade surplus in services with each other. There have been a number of attempts by statisticians on both sides to try to bottom out why that might be the case. It goes to show that, often, trade in services statistics are indicative and a good rule of thumb, but putting too much faith in them is not necessarily a wise move.