Even though the API v.1 is still on production, it's no longer being improved. It is replaced by API .v.2: https://comtrade.un.org/data/dev/portal/
Data Structure Definition of Global Trade SDMX (based on SDMX version 2.1) is available at https://comtrade.un.org/sdmx/
Please refer to these articles for general information about Comtrade SDMX (based on SDMX version 1.0), Web Services (API ver.1) and Data Exchange:
UN Comtrade SDMX
Data Extraction Using Comtrade Web Service
Data Exchange Suite (DES)
You can get the SDMX format by clicking the SDMX download in any of query result pages (for an example at http://comtrade.un.org/db/dqBasicQueryResults.aspx?cc=62&px=BE&r=251&p=705&rg=2&so=6)
The SDMX key families and simple power point presentation about Comtrade SDMX are attached to this article: UN Comtrade SDMX.
Security & Authentication
Comtrade Web Services use IP authentication. A user must have premium access service account in UN Comtrade and Web Service access right is granted.
Depending on access right, the following data can be obtained:
Comtrade Data, Tariff Line Data, Total Trade, Annual Totals, Processed Data or Original Data. The latest three are restricted for data exchange between UN and OECD.
Click here to check your access rights: http://comtrade.un.org/ws/CheckRights.aspx
There is no need to use special tool to access Comtrade Web Service. Data can be obtained via web browser by providing the right url (see example below).
However, there are many limitations with web browser: limited data download size and difficulty to create url string.
ComtradeTools was developed to help user downloading data with synchronization and DTS engine built-in (it is possible to import data to SQL Server directly).
For an example, if you want to download new data for EU25 countries, you just need to specify a project in ComtradeTools and run it. The next time you run it again, it will only download the latest addition.
Note: ComtradeTools is a command line program. Step by step instruction can be found at http://comtrade.un.org/ws/comtradetools.aspx
Reminder: ComtradeTools is not required tool. Anybody can make its own download tool.
Country code : 381 = Italy
Classification : H1 = HS1996
Years : 2002 and 2003
Country code : 36 = Australia
Classification : S2 = SITC Rev.2
Year : 2004
Here is the example of 2005 data for reporter country Albania (no. 8 of UN code) for the HS1996. The attached zipped file holds the XML original file plus the CSV converted file, which will be used for loading to SQL via DTS. The link from the Web below will give you the same information in a Web-Service format.