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International Trade Statistics: Database Details

Guidance in selecting sources of foreign trade data.

More about the databases

 

UN Comtrade

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http://comtrade.un.org/db/default.aspx

Why use: Retrieve annual data on a specific commodity, commodity groups, broad economic categories (BEC), or total trade for any country and its trading partners.
Trade classification: Harmonized System 2-6 digit level; SITC 1-5 digit level
Years: 1990- (HS); 1962- (SITC)
Frequency: annual
Countries: 200+ reporting countries; all trading partners
Other groupings: EU, SACU, world
Indicators: value in U.S. dollars and quantity (units vary).

Restrictions: This is "guest user" access which only allows up to 1000 rows of data to be retrieved at a time and only one screen at a time to be downloaded.

Hint: To begin select Data Query - Basic Selection. To retrieve data in the Harmonized System commodity classification: In Step 1 select HS as reported. In Step 2 you search for all HS commodities that include a particular word, e.g., "apparel", and select the ones you want. Be sure to make applicable choices under all the other tabs in Step 2.

OECD iLibrary (GALILEO@UGA)

Why use: Useful for the interactive features. Also useful for downloading large amounts of data for the covered reporting countries and their trading partners.
Trade classification: Harmonized System 2-6 digit level; SITC 1-5 digit level
Years: 1990- (HS, each revision covers different set of years); 1960- (SITC, Rev. 2; Rev. 3 covers 1993-)
Frequency: annual
Countries: 33 reporting countries including OECD members and China; all trading partners
Other groupings: OECD, EU, world, world regions
Indicators: value in U.S. dollars and quantity (units vary).

Download limits: delimited text (maximum 1,000,000 cells); MS Excel (maximum 100,000 cells)

Hint to find the trade statistics database: Go into Statistics. Select International Trade by Commodity Statistics. Choose a specific commodity classification.  Select the Data icon.

Download hint: For users who want to manipulate and analyze the data further use the Text File (CSV) format.  In addition to permitting more data cells to be downloaded in one sweep it outputs all the selected data in one large rectangular file with each row consisting of one numeric data cell plus associated identifier variables rather than preserving the dimensional display of the onscreen table.  The csv file format is easily imported into various statistical packages (as well as MS Excel depending on size). You will be alerted by email after a few minutes delay when the data is ready to download. The output file will be delivered in compressed .gz format. 

Eurostat

Why use: Useful for monthly trade data of European Union countries and their trading partners expressed in Euros instead of US dollars.
Trade Classification: Harmonized System 2-6 digit level; SITC 1-5 digit level; and Combined Nomenclature 8 digit (CN8)
Years: 1995-
Frequency: annual, monthly
Countries: 25 EU reporting countries. All trading partners.
Other groupings: EU 15, EU 25, Eurozone
Indicators: value in Euros, quantity in 100 KG

Download limits: maximum 3000 cells

Download hint: Select “all data in extraction” to download the entire subset of data you retrieved. “Current View Table” will download only the chunk displayed onscreen.

USITC Interactive Tariff and Trade DataWeb

(requires free registration)

Why use: Retrieve the most detailed commodity data for the United States and its trading partners including port/district flows as well as monthly or quarterly totals.
Trade classification: Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) 2-10 digit level; SITC 1-5 digit level; SIC 1-4 digit level, NAICS 2-6 digit level
Years: 1989-1995 historical data; 1996-
Frequency: annual, quarterly, monthly
Countries: 1 reporting country (U.S.); all trading partners
Other groupings: world, world regions, economic regions, trade alliances, U.S. import programs
Indicators: value in U.S. dollars and quantity (units vary); other indicators: percent change

Limits: Maximum 5000 rows per query.

USATrade

New users must first register at site

Why use: Useful for retrieving and downloading moderately large amounts of the most detailed commodity data for the United States and its trading partners including port/district flows as well as monthly totals.
Trade classification: Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) 2-10 digit level; NAICS 2-6 digit level
Years: 1992- annual; 2002- monthly; 2003- port/district level
Frequency: annual, monthly, quarterly ?
Countries: 1 reporting country (U.S.); all trading partners
Other groupings: world
Indicators: value in U.S. dollars and quantity (units vary)

Download limit: 100,000 rows

UNData

Why use: Quickly pull up a fixed range of related commodities showing the value and quantity of exports and imports of each commodity for specific years and reporting countries.
Trade classification: Harmonized System 6 digit level only
Years: 1988- depending on country
Frequency: annual
Countries: 200+ reporting countries; no partners
Other groupings: EU, SACU
Indicators: value in U.S. dollars and quantity (units vary).
Restrictions: Data is downloaded in zipped format.

UNCTADstat

Why use: Useful for aggregated trade data in long time series for numerous regional groupings including trade and economic alliances, regions and development level.
Trade Classification: SITC 1-3 digit
Years: 1948- and later depending on series
Frequency: generally updated annually
Countries: no individual countries; no partners
Other groupings: World, world regions, trade groups, development level
Indicators: Value in U.S. dollars; quantity (units vary); growth; indices & rank

WTO Statistics Database

Why use: Quick access to current trade profiles of WTO member countries as well as time series of total imports and exports, broad commodity groups, overall trade index.
Years: Varies, some series 1980-, some series 1990-, total trade 1948-.
Frequency: annual
Countries: Reporting countries varies by series. Trading partners in few very broad groupings only available for some series.
Other groupings: world, world regions depending on series
Indicators: value, mostly U.S. dollars at current prices

IHS Global Insight (GALILEO@UGA)

UGA users with a WRDS account can also access IHS Global Insight at: http://wrds.wharton.upenn.edu/

Why use: Useful for trade-related time series found in the International Monetary Fund's Direction of Trade, Balance of Payments, and other sources. These series include broad measures such as total trade, sectors, balance of trade, and indices.
Years: Most series provide at least 10 years of data. A few series go back to 1960.
Frequency: annual, quarterly, monthly
Countries: Varies by series. No trading partners.
Other groupings: world, world regions
Indicators: value, some series in U.S. dollars, others in national currency or Euro

 

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John Prechtel
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