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The new Comtrade | the United Nations comprehensive global trade data platform
Table of Contents
|Table of Contents|
What is Comtrade?
The UN COMTRADE Database is maintained by the DESA/UN Statistics Division. It provides detailed imports and exports statistics in goods and services reported by statistical authorities of close to 200 countries/areas since 1962. It is considered the most comprehensive online trade database available, with tens of billions of data points.
What’s new about Comtrade? | An overview
- New look and intuitive design
- New data, more parameters
- A more sophisticated and refined search
- Ability to save searches and build custom groupings
- More filtering options
- Comtrade Labs
- Comtrade Trend
- Premium services (see subscription plan below)
- Email notifications for data download completion
- Mobile friendly (transformation of data into cards)
- More powerful data API options
- Single sign-on
- More frequent social media notifications
See more at What's new in UN Comtrade+ - YouTube
Why has the subscription price increased?
This is the first-time subscription increase after more than a decade. The new price also reflects the addition of new state-of-the-art features and functionality that Comtrade customers will enjoy, including: a new look and intuitive design; new data with more parameters; more powerful API options; premium services (bulk and delivery download, access to Data Lake); and single sign-on.
Tell me more about the new features of Comtrade.
- New data: trade value in CIF and FOB, quantity in secondary unit codes, and gross weight. Further, tariffline data are made publicly available.
- More parameters: mode of transport, 2nd partner country, customs procedure codes, more trade flows.
- Premium services: including bulk and delivery download and (forthcoming – additional subscription) access to Data Lake.
- More powerful data API options: Powered by Azure API Management for reliability and scalability. Built-in developer portal.
- Comtrade Trend: real-time analytics of recently released datasets and the data that users are looking for on Comtrade
- Comtrade Labs: innovative and experimental data visualizations by our subscribers using Comtrade data
- Custom Groupings: Summarize the detailed trade data by providing custom groupings
- New saving features: options to save search criteria and parameters for registered users
- Large data sets emailed to your inbox: data extraction runs in the background when a data download is complete, a link to the dataset is sent to subscribers by email notification.
- New mobile-friendly features: the transformation of data tables into data cards for easy viewing and sharing on mobile devices
- Single sign-on: Use selected providers of single sign-on to login to UN Comtrade – no need to create a new account/password
What is the tariffline data?
Tariffline data is the harmonized original data submitted by the countries. The harmonization is applied to all data dimensions except the commodity; therefore, data at the tariffline level (more than 6-digit HS) may be available. Further, the value is converted to USD. The tariffline data do not have the aggregated high-level data (such as a total commodity, partner World), there is no outliers detection nor quantity estimation, and the data are not converted to other classifications such as BEC, SITC. In brief, it is very close to the original data.
What's the download capacity for non-subscription users?
The non-subscription users are categorized into two: anonymous and registered users. In general, the registered users are provided better compute resources and limits. See the available data services for non-subscription users below.
Preview API – unlimited calls/day, up to 500 records per call (registration and API subscription key not required)
Data API – 250 calls/day, up to 250,000 records per call (free registration and API subscription key required)
Data UI – unlimited preview and download (through interface not API) (free registration required, API subscription key not required)
These services are subject to fair usage policy which limits the usage of specific users at peak times so that the performance is not affected for the rest of the group.
And what's the download capacity for subscription users?
The subscription users are categorized into two: individual and pro (organization) users. Both categories can access the premium data services, however pro users have better limits for heavy usages. See the available data services for subscription users below.
- All data services of non-subscription users (see above)
Data API – 2500 calls/day, up to 250,000 records per call (Individual users) and unlimited calls, up to 250,000 records per call (Pro users)
Data UI – unlimited preview and download (through interface not API)
Bulk UI and API – 2500 calls/day for individual users; and unlimited calls for pro users
- Deliver UI and Async API – 2500 calls/day for individual users; and unlimited calls for pro users
Which subscriptions can I choose from?
TYPE OF ACCESS
User Interface (UI) Features
Non-authenticated users (anonymous)
Preview only – limited to 500 records per call
Preview and Data APIs -250 calls/day
Preview, all data, bulk, and async APIs - 2,500 calls/day
Premium Pro I
(not-for-profit and academic institutions)
Preview, all data, bulk, and async APIs - Unlimited calls per day
Premium Pro II
Preview, all data, bulk, and async APIs - Unlimited calls per day
*No discount based on countries' development status or income level
What is Bulk Download?
The bulk file download feature offers a quick download of large amounts of prepackaged datasets in compressed files. Each file consists of data for the combination of goods/services, classification, frequency, country, and period (for example merchandise trade data of Germany March 2022 in HS2022 classification). As of mid-2022, there are around 170,000 datasets in UN Comtrade and the number keeps growing.
What is Data Delivery?
The data delivery (formerly known as batch download) feature sends large dataset (up to 1 million records) to your inbox. Please be aware the data delivery might not be the right tool for some users, for example, when extracting a single commodity code for all reporters for all periods. Meanwhile, a regular download is not suitable because of restrictions up to 100,000 records per query.
What types of data can I find on Comtrade?
At the very least, you can find the detailed bilateral trade data by commodities/service categories. Some countries have more data breakdowns (see question below for more information).
Which new datasets have been added?
Comtrade contains more breakdowns (mode of transport, 2nd partner country, custom procedure codes) and measurements (trade values in CIF and FOB, trade quantity in secondary unit codes, and gross weight) which opens up more granular and targeted data analysis. Please note the availability of these data parameters may vary depending on the national compilation guideline. Further information on the description and limitations are available at https://comtrade.un.org/data/doc/UpgradePlan
The excel file contains description of data variables including their code lists.
View file name ComtradePlus - data items - 17 Mar 2020.xlsx height 150
Where can I learn more about the methodology?
You can read the following the Methodology Guide for UN Comtrade.
How has the search experience for customers been improved?
Users can now refine by mode of transport, 2nd partner, custom procedure code, trade flows, partners, reporters, periods, and commodity/services codes. A registered (free) user can also save these parameters and searches.
How has the data API been improved?
Comtrade has more powerful data API options with which users can save data in new machine-readable formats (CSV and JSON). The API is backed by Azure API Management, offering automatic scalability and reliability during the spike in data demand, thus making the API suitable for production-level data pipelines.
How frequently is the data updated?
The data is continuously updated with the submission from countries. You can check the data availability page to check the latest updates.
What are the data sources for Comtrade?
The data is sourced from the official national agencies mandated to disseminate trade statistics, which may vary in countries due to a variety of national institutional arrangements. The data source can be found in the publication note
Who owns the data on Comtrade? Is it owned by the United Nations?
What are the benefits for data providers?
Data providers will benefit from your institution’s trade data visibility as it will be referenced by many users, such as trade negotiations in WTO, various academic journals, and news articles. The data providers are given complimentary access to UN Comtrade; therefore, they can take advantage of other datasets submitted by other providers (for example, to compare bilateral trade figures)
Can I access Comtrade on a tablet or mobile device?
Yes, the platform is optimized for both desktop and mobile devices. One new feature of Comtrade is the transformation of data tables into data cards on mobile devices for easier viewing and sharing. In addition, the selection criteria user interface is also optimized for mobile devices.
How can I subscribe to Comtrade?
Comtrade subscriptions are available to individual users and for-profit institutions at different rates. Contact your institution or library to see if they already have a Comtrade subscription. Subscription features allow institution-wide use and a large download of the Comtrade data. For more information, contact email@example.com.
My institution has a Comtrade subscription. We are having difficulties accessing the content. What should we do?
Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your subscription information, screenshot, and description of the error message. Our support staff will get in touch to assist you.
Who should I contact if I have data (substantive) or technical questions?
For technical questions about the Comtrade site or data, please contact email@example.com.
Who should I contact about licensing questions?
For questions about licensing Comtrade data, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I receive updates?
Please go to Comtrade | Shop.un.org and click Subscribe (at the bottom page) to sign up for our email updates. You can also subscribe to the UN Trade Statistics Twitter handle at @UNTradeStats for data updates and important announcements.
Can we switch to different languages? What are the limitations?
Users can select English (En), French (Fr), and Spanish (Es). The multi-language support is only applied to the User Interface, and not to the data such as the descriptions of data variables. Please note that we used the automated machine translation of the English text followed by a review by the native speakers.
Why is any large query result incomplete in Preview mode? How to view the complete data?
The Preview returns a maximum of 500 records regardless of the actual results. For a larger limit, please use Download (maximum of 250,000 records) or Deliver (maximum of 1,000,000 records). If you want a complete country-period dataset (such as Germany March 2021 data), please use the Bulk File (no record limitation as it is a complete set). Otherwise, please divide a big query into multiple smaller queries, preferably by period, to optimize extraction algorithms.
When using a Preview button, I received this message "Error: Rate limit is exceeded. Try again in 1 seconds.". What should I do?
It means that the Preview is currently experiencing a high number of data requests. You can do the following options:
- Try again later.
- Use API directly (see https://comtradedeveloper.un.org)
- Login as a free registered user or premium user
How to request for a trial account? What's offered in the trial?
We provide a 15-day free premium trial subscription to prospective users. Kindly fill out the form from https://forms.office.com/r/KJJLKxpazW to request. Application with incomplete information can not be accepted. Please allow 3-5 business days for us to process your trial request.
Trial accounts have the same UI features, customizations, and download capability as premium subscriptions and the access to a limited set of bulk files. The trial for premium APIs with a limited daily quota must be requested separately from the Developer portal once the trial account is set up.
Is there any Python/R package to call the APIs?
As an alternative of calling the APIs directly, the Python package comtradeapicall can be utilized. It is available at the Python Package Index: https://pypi.org/project/comtradeapicall/. Instruction and examples are available at the project site in PyPi and at GitHub https://github.com/uncomtrade/comtradeapicall. The package is provided as is and support for the maintenance and improvement relies on the communityusers.
# Extracting tariffline data into a data frame mydf = comtradeapicall.previewTarifflineData(typeCode='C', freqCode='M', clCode='HS', period='202205', reporterCode='36', cmdCode='91,90', flowCode='M', partnerCode=36, partner2Code=None, customsCode=None, motCode=None, maxRecords=500, format_output='JSON', countOnly=None, includeDesc=True) # Downloading tariffline data to specific folder comtradeapicall.bulkDownloadTarifflineFile(subscription_key, directory, typeCode='C', freqCode='A', clCode='HS', period='2010', reporterCode=504, decompress=True)
Unfortunately, the R package is not available.
Need a guidance on the User Interface? Go to New Comtrade User Guide
FAQ for advanced users can be access here.