Exploring Trade Data

A place to showcase innovative and experimental uses of UN Comtrade data. Explore visualizations of huge volume of data and metadata, cutting-edge data extraction tools, and alternative dissemination platforms.



Data Visualization Seminar at the 46th UN Statistical Commission
4 March 2015, United Nations, New York

New cutting-edge authoring tools, data visualization designs and techniques, and the use of Internet in recent years have made it possible to visualize huge volume of data and metadata in an interactive way to wider audiences. Graphs, tables, illustrations, pictures are no longer static and are intended only for aesthetic of web pages or printed publication, but, now, they can serve as data exploration tools and visual narrative for storytelling. Furthermore, visualizing big data is no longer a possibility, but it is a reality.

Whereas traditional data visualization consists of visual methods on low volume of data such as line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, etc., advanced data visualization enables creation and development of new graphics such as treemap, world cloud, chord diagram, dendrogram, motion charts, etc. that have many times the data density or complexity.

This morning seminar will focus on examples of data visualization initiatives on international trade statistics and other statistical domains including MDGs and an attempt to visualize data revolution.

The seminar is open and time will be made available for questions and answers.

Presentations on:
  • UN Comtrade Labs
    by Mr. Ronald Jansen, Chief of Trade Statistics Branch, United Nations Statistics Division
  • SAS Visual Analytics for UN Comtrade
    by Mr. I-Sah Hsieh, Global Manager, International Development, SAS Institute, Inc.
  • Data Visualizations for the Data Revolution
    by Mr. Lambert Hogenhout, Chief Analytics, Partnerships and Innovation, UN OICT
  • UN Data and the Millennium Development Goals Database
    by Mr. Abdulla Gozalov, Chief of Global Data Services Unit, United Nations Statistics Division

For more information see the event website.

Data Visualization




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Trade Data Visualization Provided by World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS)

World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) provides both simple and detailed visualizations analysing country, product and tariff trade flows. WITS also offers an additional visualization, "Openness to Trade", which presents the relationship between trade openness and economic growth.

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SAS Visual Analytics for UN Comtrade Provided by SAS

The UN Statistics Division and SAS have collaborated to provide real-time insights and analytics on 300+ million rows of data from UN Comtrade, unlocking rich insights hidden in its wealth of trade information to policy makers, the business community, research institutions and the general public.

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The Atlas of Economic Complexity Provided by Harvard Center for International Development

The Atlas of Economic complexity is a powerful interactive tool that enables users to visualize a country's total trade, track how these dynamics change over time and explore growth opportunities for more than a hundred countries worldwide. For any given country, The Atlas shows which products are produced and exported; The Atlas can then use this information to suggest products a country could begin manufacturing in order to fuel economic growth. As a dynamic resource, The Atlas is continually evolving with new data and features to help analyze economic growth and development.

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Partner Concentration of Trade, 2013 Provided by United Nations DM/OICT Unite Analytics

The International Trade Statistics Yearbook Volume I - Trade by Country is compiled as an overview of international merchandise trade in the previous year and publication of the available country (area) data. This visualization of Partner Concentration in 2013 is an interactive supplement to Volume I.

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Resources Futures Provided by Chatham House

Resources Futures focuses on the new political economy of resources. It analyses the latest global trends in the production, trade and consumption of key raw materials or intermediate products and explores how defensive and offensive moves by governments and other stakeholders are creating new fault lines on top of existing weaknesses and uncertainties. It also proposes a series of critical interventions to tackle resource price volatility and to improve confidence and coordination in increasingly integrated global resource markets.

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Global Economic Dynamics Provided by Bertelsmann Foundation

The “Global Economic Dynamics” (GED) project of the Bertelsmann Foundation is intended to contribute to better understanding of the growing complexity of global economic developments. By using the latest tools and methods for measuring, forecasting and modeling global economic dynamics, the project is designed to make globalization, its economic effects and its political consequences more transparent and understandable.

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The Observatory of Economic Complexity Provided by MIT

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 Harmonized System and SITC.

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Data Services



UN Comtrade+ Data Extraction Test

Announcing a test of the new UN Comtrade+ interface! We've begun rolling out a new interface for users to access UN Comtrade data. It includes modern browser support, works well on mobile phones and tablets, and is powered by an open API. Keep an eye out for new features being added over the coming weeks as we add monthly data support and respond to your feedback!


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Have you used UN Comtrade data in your own publicly available projects? Let us know!