UN Comtrade Data Fair
Organized by UNSD, WTO
and the Graduate Institute's Centre for Trade and Economic Integration

  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • 25 September 2017


Just preceding the 2017 WTO Public Forum, the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) will organize on 25 September 2017 the first UN Comtrade Data Fair in close collaboration with the World Trade Organization and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. The main objective of this one-day Fair is to explain and demonstrate the latest on international trade data and their analytical use for trade-related research and policies.

The 2017 World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum will take place on 26-28 September, at the WTO's headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. This forum provides a platform for participants to discuss the latest developments in world trade and to propose ways of enhancing the multilateral trading system. The event regularly attracts over 1500 representatives from civil society, academia, business, the media, governments, parliaments, and intergovernmental organisations.

Under the overarching theme of "Trade: Behind the headlines", the 2017 WTO Public Forum will feature debates on the opportunities that trade offers, and the challenges it can bring. At a time when the debate on trade has rarely been as prominent or controversial, the forum offers an opportunity to go beyond the rhetoric and examine in detail the realities of trade.

What Will Happen On This Day?

Throughout the day trade data applications and data visualizations will be demonstrated at a number of exhibition booths.

At lunchtime (from 12:30 until 14:00) a panel discussion will take place in one of the Graduate Institute’s auditoria on the present and future of trade data applications. The World Trade Organization, the International Trade Center, the World Bank, CEPII, Global Insight, SAS and UNSD are invited on this panel.

Special evening event (17:00 – 19:00)
“Trade, Global Value Chains and the unbundling of production and labor”

Robert Koopman, Chief Economist of the World Trade Organization (WTO), will give a keynote presentation on this topic linking it to the overall theme “Trade behind the headlines” of the WTO Public Forum and to the question what these developments mean for trade data and measurement of economic performance. Lead Economists of WTO, ITC and the World Bank, together with academia from The Graduate Institute will subsequently discuss the various issues related to this topic, especially what this new globalization could mean for future workforce developments and negotiations at the WTO.

UN Comtrade

A necessary condition for a fair analysis of the benefits and challenges associated with trade is the availability of high quality trade statistics accompanied by high quality meta-data for a correct interpretation of those data. One of the most frequently used sources of international trade data is the UN Comtrade database, which attracted well over 400,000 users globally in 2016 who collectively executed about 15 million data queries that year. Numerous publications use trade data of which many directly sourced from UN Comtrade.

In recent years UN Comtrade has added more content (with trade in services), more frequency (with monthly data) and more detail (with additional data elements). The trade data have also been used in the development of new indicators, such as those from the WTO/OECD TiVA database or the WIOD database. Thanks to rapid developments in information technology, many data visualization applications have been developed based on Comtrade data.

The latest developments on the measurement of international trade and economic globalization can be found on the website for the Seminar on Accounting for Global Value Chains.

With all these new activities, this UN Comtrade Data Fair should help in explaining and demonstrating the latest developments regarding trade statistics, trade indicators, analytical tools, and data visualizations.


The UN Comtrade Data Fair is intended for users of trade data consisting of civil society, academia, business, the media, governments, parliaments, and intergovernmental organisations, basically everyone who is also interested in the WTO Public Forum.


The objectives of the UN Comtrade Data Fair are three-fold:

  • Explain the latest on the analysis, policy use and availability of trade data
  • Demonstrate the latest analytical and data visualization tools for trade data
  • Share experiences in the analysis and use of trade data


10:00 - 12:30
Data Fair with demonstrations and stands
12:30 - 14:00
Introduction Ronald Jansen, Assistant Director, United Nations Statistics Division, New York
Panel on present and future of trade data and analytical applications
14:00 - 17:00
Data Fair with demonstrations and stands
17:00 - 19:00
Panel discussion on “Trade, Global Value Chains and the Unbundling of Production and Labor”
  • Robert Koopman, Chief Economist of WTO
  • Marion Jansen, Chief Economist of ITC
  • José Guilherme Reis, Manager for Trade in the Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank
19:00 - 20:00
Networking reception

The reception is made possible through generous contributions from Think Blue Data and Connecting Industries

Live Streams


More Information


The Graduate Institute, Maison de la paix in Geneva, Switzerland. The event will take place in the main auditorium of Maison de la Paix (Directions)