Sunday, January 23, 2011

What is UN Comtrade?

UN COMTRADE is the pseudonym for United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database. Over 170 reporter countries provide the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) with their annual international trade statistics data detailed by commodities and partner countries. These data are subsequently transformed into the United Nations Statistics Division standard format with consistent coding and valuation using the UN/OECD CoprA internal processing system.

The UN COMTRADE is the largest depository of international trade data. It contains well over 1.7 billion data records for 45 years and is available on the internet! All commodity values are converted from national currency into US dollars using exchange rates supplied by the reporter countries, or derived from monthly market rates and volume of trade. Quantities, when provided with the reporter country data and when possible, are converted into metric units. Commodities are reported in the current classification and revision (HS2002 in most cases) and are converted all the way down to the earliest classification SITC revision 1. Therefore, if data is received in HS 2002 version, it is converted to HS1996, HS1988, SITC rev. 3, SITC rev. 2, SITC rev. 1 and BEC. The data are permanently stored in the UN COMTRADE database server.

Commodities are classified according to SITC (Rev.1 from 1962, Rev.2 from 1976 and Rev.3 from 1988), the Harmonized System (HS) (from 1988 with revisions in 1996, 2002 and 2007) and Broad Economic Categories (BEC).
Time series of data for reporter countries starts as far back as 1962 and goes up to the most recent completed year. Current data is published annually in the International Trade Statistics Yearbook and can be purchased through the UN Sales Department.

The UNSD holds the copyright to COMTRADE data. All rights reserved. Users cannot disseminate COMTRADE raw data without the express permission of the UNSD.

For further information, see UN Comtrade Manual Sets
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