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International Trade Statistics : A Guide to Selected Resources

Multinational Trade Data - Notes

Sources in this section cover many nations. Data is often fairly general but may be the only place to find data for non-developed countries. More specific data related to the OECD, European Union, United States, and other select nations can be found in the rest of the guide.

Throughout various periods of time, certain countries have not been recognized by the United Nations or have not been members of major international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund. Other "countries", such as Hong Kong, are actually territories and, as such, their data is either included with its "parent" country or in their own statistical publications. Availability of data changes vastly over time.

Multinational Trade Data - Main Sources

If looking for totals and not bilateral trade or trade by the specific commodity, then start with World Development Indicators.  It includes some large regional breakdowns as well as broad breakdowns for areas such as goods and services, arms, fuel, and agricultural raw materials.  Be careful regarding how each variable is measured.

Direction of Trade Statistics:

  • Reports total import & export values in U.S. dollars by trading partners.
  • Data is from 1948+
  • Available through Global Insight and Data-Planet Datasets.
  • Many series cumulated in Direction of Trade Statistics Yearbook [HF1007.D631; Current Volume in DSS].
  • For methodology, see the periodic report Guide to Direction of Trade Statistics.
  • Prior to 1960, data was contained in International Financial Statistics.

UN Comtrade Database

  • 1962+
  • Selected trade series for all available countries & areas recognized by the United Nations. For a listing of countries and commodities along with definitions and sources, see the knowledgebase from UN Comtrade.
  • Also available in World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS)
  • Available in paper and microfiche as Commodity Trade Statistics. (United Nations) 1951-1998. Title varies. Each annual volume covers the imports and exports of one country. 1949-1950 data can be found in Summary of World Trade Statistics (HF91.U55). For 1951-1961, see HF91.U5.  Also see HF1.U56.  International Trade Statistics Yearbook. (United Nations) 1950-Present. Volume I. Trade by Country. For individual countries, values of imports/exports by principal trading patterns or by commodity categories. Volume II. Trade by Commodity. For commodity categories, imports/exports by country. Commodity Matrix Tables: quantity and value for all commodity classes by major trading partners. Values in U.S. dollars. Annual data. Use SITC to determine classification codes.  

Correlates of War Project.  International Trade, 1870-2014. Tracks total national trade and bilateral trade flows between states.

CEPII - BACI. World trade database at a high level of product disaggregation.  Original data are provided from COMTRADE. BACI is constructed using an original procedure that reconciles the declarations of the exporter & the importer. This harmonization procedure enables to extend considerably the number of countries for which trade data are available, as compared to the original dataset.  Provides bilateral values and quantities of exports at the HS 6-digit product disaggregation, for more than 200 countries since 1995. Updated annually. Users have to testify that their organization has an active UN Comtrade subscription to download BACI.

UN Comtrade Database - Services
2000+. The current scope of UN ServiceTrade is resident to non-resident trade in services and some related data series, broken down by EBOPS category and partner country on an annual basis.  Free registration is required.

WiserTradeInternational trade database which includes 4 U.S. state level export series, U.S. exports and imports by customs district & by individual port, as well as EU, Canadian (by province and port), Chilean and Colombian (by region, port, and country of procurement), Chinese (by province), South African (by district and port), Taiwanese, and Japanese trade statistics.

World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS)
World Bank and UNCTAD data on trade, tariffs, and non-tariff measures. Requires registration. 

Collects and organizes shipping manifests and customs records from government agencies & private companies to enable company & product level analysis for ocean freight shipments into U.S. ports.  Also documents shipping in & out of Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, European Union, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.  Dates differs by country but some data back to 2004.  

Services Trade Restrictions Database.   World Bank database that provides comparable information on services trade policy measures for 103 countries, 18 service sectors (covering telecommunications, finance, transportation, retail and professional services) and key modes of service supply.

OECD Maritime Transport Costs.  Use in conjunction with the paper Clarifying Trade Costs in Maritime Transport which outlines methodology, data coverage and caveats to its use.  1991+

Multinational Trade Data - Additional Sources

World Trade Analyzer: (Statistics Canada. International Trade Division ) (Ceased)
Matrix of international trade flows, created from data reported by member countries of the United Nations Statistical Office and broken down by partner country and commodity. Data are annual (1980-2003). For data prior to 1980, see
NBER Trade Data. Note that one will sometimes find trade within a country. For statistical purposes territories are often grouped into the trade of the parent nation. Small neighboring nations sometimes receive the same treatment.  CD-ROM - DSS Study no. 2592

NBER Trade Data
Contains World Trade Database, 1970-1992 and the Compatible Trade and Production (COMTAP) database assembled by the OECD which contains production of manufactured goods in OECD countries and bilateral trade flows between these countries and all their trading partners over 1970-1985. Start with the instructions. Updated on the NBER site.

International Financial Statistics (1948-Present)
Reports values of imports and exports of main commodities in U.S. dollars and national currencies. Data can be found electronically on Global Insight and Data-Planet Datasets (1948-Present) and Datastream International (1970-Present)

Statistical yearbooks, quarterlies, monthlies, web sites, etc.
Princeton University Library has a rich collection of statistical yearbooks, quarterlies, and monthlies from many countries. For current issues of statistical yearbooks, see the collection next to Ready Reference in DR. A backup collection on microfiche can be found in Microforms. To find other publications, perform a Guided Search in the
Main Catalog by searching for "statistics" as a subject in the 1st box and the country as a subject in the 2nd box. Some titles can also be found in Proquest Statistical Insight which contains many citations, under Foreign Trade, to country and International Government Organizations data.

EIU Country Reports. (Economist Intelligence Unit).
Provides analysis of major trends in the economies of the world. Includes forecasts for the upcoming year and evaluation of foreign trade data. Supplements provide background data on economic and political developments in each country. For prior to 1996, see the older issues in Firestone stacks. (titles changed often, use keyword searching in the
Main Catalog)

Provides statistical data relevant to the analysis of international merchandise & service trade, economic trends, foreign direct investment, external financing sources including remittances, population and labor force, commodities, and maritime transport for individual countries and for economic & trade groupings. Data are presented in an analytical way, through the use of rank orderings, growth rates and other special calculations, with a view to facilitate their interpretation. The primary paper equivalent is UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics ((UN) HF91 .H35q).  Each year receives a different Sales number. This title continues Handbook of International Trade and Development Statistics (1964-1995) located at HF91.H35 and also available on microfiche (RECAP) in IIS 4050-S1. 


IIS (4790-S7.2) (Microforms) International Trade Statistics. Detailed data on merchandise & services trade patterns worldwide. Monetary values expressed in U.S. dollars. 2000-Present. Title, format, and issuing agency have changed many times over the years. For 1996-1999, see World Trade Organization Annual Report (HF1371.A56) or (IIS 4790-S7). See HF499.I573 for 1991-1995 data (IIS 3480-S1). See HF497.C76 for 1952-1990 data (IIS 3480-S1).


World Trade Organization. Annual Report. Useful for not only the WTO's activities but summaries of changes in conditions in world trade and regional arrangements.

Annual report of values of agricultural commodity imports & exports by country. Also reports consumption and volume indexes. Values in U.S. dollars. For 1947-1957, see part 2 of its predecessor Yearbook of Food Agricultural Statistics (HD1421.Y4). For 1958-2003, see FAO Yearbook. Trade. (HD1421.Y4) (IIS (3410-S7) (Microforms RECAP)).  For 2004-2006, see FAO Statistical Yearbook   (HD1421.F3667).

Oversize HA41.U59q and (UN) XVII, Series S
IIS (3080-S16) (Microforms RECAP)
Statistical Yearbook. (United Nations) 1948- Present. Section of external trade reports imports & exports by commodity class for selected trading partner, countries, and regions in U.S. dollars. Also includes volume and price indexes. Some data goes back to 1928. Also available on CD-ROM. Ask for DSS Study 5004. This series continues Statistical Yearbook of the League of Nations which covers the period 1926-1944.


Historical Data 1900-1960 on international merchandise trade statistics

Word trade, 1800-1938: a new dataset (Federico and Tena-Junguito)  Contains an amazing bibliography for economic historical statistics.


Exporter Dynamics Database. Provides measures of exporter characteristics and dynamics across 70 countries across all geographic regions and income levels. The Exporter Dynamics Database contains close to 100 measures covering the basic characteristics of exporters, their distribution by size, the diversification in their products and markets, their dynamics in terms of entry, exit and survival, and the average unit prices of the goods they trade1997+.

HC57 .U66 (for issues prior to online availability)
Monthly Bulletin of Statistics. (United Nations) 1947- . Provides total imports and exports for individual countries in U.S. dollars and quantity indexes. Includes conversion tables. Monthly, quarterly, annual data. Preceded by Monthly Bulletin of Statistics (League of Nations) which is shelved in the same location. Some data dates back to 1913.


Lewis Library 8540.922.251 (1932+); RECAP 8540.922.25 (1882-1893, 1900-1931)
Minerals Yearbooks (U.S. Geological Survey)
Annual publication that reviews the mineral and material industries of the United States (including by state) and foreign countries. Contains statistical data on materials and minerals and includes information on economic and technical trends and development. Includes approximately 90 commodities and over 175 countries. Each country report includes sections on government policies and programs, environmental issues, trade and production data, industry structure and ownership, commodity sector developments, infrastructure, and a summary outlook.


World Trade Organization (WTO)
The World Trade Organization is the international organization responsible for administering WTO trade agreements and GATT. It serves as a forum for trade negotiations, handles trade disputes, and monitors national trade policies.

Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA)
Founded in 1984. Fosters international trade by strengthening the role of local, regional, and national associations throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada that have an international mission.

HE561 .S566 (Current volume in DR) 1994+
Shipping Statistics Yearbook.  (Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics)
Reports on the shipping market, shipbuilding, and ports and sea canals.

Trade Costs Database (World Bank)
Estimates of bilateral trade costs in agriculture & manufactured goods for  1995-2014. Built on trade & production data collected in 178 countries. Symmetric bilateral trade costs are computed using the Inverse Gravity Framework (Novy 2009), which estimates trade costs for each country pair using bilateral trade and gross national output.

In addition Northwestern University provides links to many foreign government and international governmental organization homepages.