Here are examples of a few general printed sources to help get an idea of total trade flows between countries or commodity flows into or out of a single country, but not commodities from one specific country to another specific country. Sources for that sort of detailed data are described in the following sections.
Coding: Several versions of Harmonized System and SITC
Years: Back as far as 1962.
See the help guide for instructions on using this product.
Pros: Can look at trade flows between any two countries. Several choices of commodity codes. Has quantity (weight or unit measure) data as well as value data. Can use anywhere on the web (will require NetID login when away from duke.edu addresses).
Cons: Only has data for member countries, so will lack Taiwan, etc.
International Trade by Commodities Statistics (ITCS)
Available through the SourceOECD database (ITCS link on left side of screen)
Coding: up to 10-digit Harmonised System (1988- ) or up to 5-digit SITC (1961-1988)
Years: 1961- , for most OECD countries
Produced by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).
Pros: Can get data at several levels of aggregation. There are reports for most industrialized countries, with any other country in the world listed as a trading partner. Taiwan is one of included trading partners.
Cons: The Beyond 20/20 software takes a little practice (but works OK once you're used to it). An OECD member nation or one of a few other nations (e.g., China) must be one of the country-to-country partners, so you can't get data where both trading partners are less developed countries.
U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) Trade Database
Coding: up to 10-digit Harmonized System; up to 5-digit SITC
Years: 1989 to present
Cons: The USA must be one of the trading partners.Pros: On the web: can access it from anywhere. Can get very specific or aggregated data. Can get monthly, quarterly, or annual data. Can get value or quantity data. Can download the data in several popular formats to import into spreadsheets.
United States Federal Government Publications
A chart lists major federal trade series in the Library's Public Documents and Maps Department on the 3rd floor of the Bostock Library, the time periods that they cover, their formats (e.g., paper, microfiche, electronic), the numerical commodity code system used by each, and the degree of specificity of the commodities listed in each (the number of digits of the numerical code). Microfiche can be copied to paper in the Microforms area on the 1st floor of the Bostock Library.
Pros: Long time series available for historical research, going back much further than electronic sources, even to the 1940s.
Cons: Not in electronic form. Can be tedious to use. Only US data.
Commodity Trade Statistics
Coding: 4-digit SITC
Years: We have paper issues are 1986-1991; some later editions available in the Index to International Statistics microfiche collection.
Produced by the UN, this is the predecessor of the UN Comtrade database. Paper volumes are in the UN Collection at ST/ESA/STAT/Ser. D/ Use the Lexis/Nexis Statistical database to determine the volume needed. Click "Statistical Searches," then try "title" and type "commodity trade statistics," then Ctrl-F to "Find" the country name you want. This gives the IIS microfiche number (not all years were filmed) and some information (except for volume number) that can help find the paper issue. There is also a "Cumulative Index" at the beginning of the paper volumes, covering the previous two years, which gives you the volume number and fascicle ("Fasc." or issue) number.
Pros: Easy to use once you find the volume with your country. Can handle any country-to-country pair.
Cons: Limited years of coverage. Awkward to find volume with a particular country. Only 4-digit level of detail. In most cases, you will want to use the electronic UN Comtrade database.
Statistics of Foreign Trade: Series C (Title varies)
Coding: SITC, level of detail varies over years
Years: 1950's to recent
Produced by the OECD, this is the paper equivalent to the electronic International Trade by Commodities Statistics. Recent decades give 2-digit SITC level of detail. Older ones may have up to 5-digit level of detail. Found in the Perkins/Bostock stacks at HF1016 .C6665
Pros: Long years of coverage. Lots of partner countries.
Cons: Recent volumes not very detailed. One of partner countries must be an OECD member or one of a few others. Not in electronic form.
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