Trade data plays an important part in global market intelligence initiatives for procurement. The selected open access resources listed below are where you can find data not only on import and export flows based on product and country, but also international demand, alternative and competitive markets, codes and classifications, export regulations and barriers, and which countries compete in specific markets, to name a few.
Use for: properly classifying codes for international trade
Using the Official Harmonized Tariff Schedule, you can access the most recent online versions of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTSA). It provides the applicable tariff rates and statistical categories for all merchandise imported into the United States, and is based on the international Harmonized System, the standardized coding of names and numbers for international trade. Nearly 200 countries, representing 98 percent of world trade, use the code. This schedule is important for procurement professionals to use to avoid problems and higher costs associated with improperly classified products.
Use for: summary of Incoterms rules
Incoterms (an abbreviation for International Commercial Terms) are a set of rules “which define the responsibilities of sellers and buyers for the delivery of goods under sales contracts.” They are published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and are widely used in international commercial transactions. On the ICC Incoterms website are short descriptions of the eleven rules from the Incoterms, 2010 edition (the most recent). Also provided is a link to the full official text of the rules which can be obtained from the ICC Store.
Use for: open access international trade flow indicators on export performance, international demand, alternative markets and competitive markets
Trade Map was developed by the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO (ITC) and provides detailed statistical information on international trade flows. Trade Map provides, in the form of tables, graphs and maps, indicators on export performance, international demand, alternative markets and competitive markets, as well as a directory of importing and exporting companies. Trade Map covers 220 countries and territories and 5300 products of the Harmonized System. The monthly, quarterly and yearly trade flows are available from the most aggregated level to the tariff line level. Trade map provides strategic market information useful for procurement by addressing questions around tariff barriers in specific markets, which countries compete in specific markets, and availability of alternative sources of supply, to name a few examples. The interface is easy to use, data is retrieved quickly, and the charts and graphs are visually pleasing.
Use for: open access visualization tool for international trade data
Based on Alexander Simoes’ Master Thesis in Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, the Observatory of Economic Complexity is a tool that allows users to quickly compose a visual narrative about countries and the products they exchange. The observatory provides access to bilateral trade data for roughly 200 countries, 50 years and 1000 different products of the SITC4 revision 2 classification. All of the product data shown on the site is classified using either SITC (Standard International Trade Classification) or HS (Harmonized System).
Use for: public access international trade statistics data detailed by commodities/service categories and partner countries
UN Comtrade is the United Nations International Trade Statistics Database and it is the largest depository of international trade data, offering public and premium data. Over 170 reporter countries/areas provide the United Nations Statistics Division with their annual international trade statistics data detailed by commodities/service categories and partner countries. These data are subsequently transformed into the United Nations Statistics Division standard format with consistent coding and valuation using the processing system. Commodities are reported in the current classification and revision (HS 2012 in most cases as of 2016) and are converted all the way down to the earliest classification SITC revision 1. To start, on the main UN Comtrade page, select “Get Data.” Don’t be intimated by this page. You will need general background knowledge on the classification codes. When you are in the Desired Data section, know that you click inside the boxes to retrieve a drop down menu of options. The autocomplete feature is handy for determining commodities as you need to type in at least two characters. A good place to start if you are a new user is at the Knowledgebase page.
Use for: open access US export and import statistics, regulations, trade balances,
Foreign Trade is the official source for US export and import statistics and is responsible for issuing regulations governing the reporting of all export shipments from the United States. You can find import or export statistics, information on export regulations, commodity classifications, and other trade-related topics. The Data section provides Trade Highlights (key and current statistics), Balance by Partner Country, Country/Product Trade, and State Trade by Commodity and Country.
Additional and fee-based trade resource listings can be found at ProcureSearch.