International trade and balance of payments statistics

International merchandise trade statistics


International merchandise trade plays a crucial role in economic development, binding producers and consumers located in different countries into a global economic system. The availability of timely, high quality international trade statistics is therefore vital for the analysis of production, consumption, employment, etc. at national and global levels. More recently, the rise in globalisation has cemented the role of international merchandise trade statistics at the heart of measuring this phenomenon. 

A prime objective of the OECD International Trade Statistics Programme is to compile core series on international merchandise trade that are comparable between countries, analytically useful, timely and available for the longest period possible. A second objective of the Programme is to reconcile and resolve trade asymmetries at the national level between declaring and by partner countries. A 'balanced' international merchandise trade dataset is a fundamental requirement for both analytical and policy use of international trade statistics. Finally, the "OECD International Trade Statistics Programme" is directly involved in better understanding and measuring globalisation using international trade statistics as a core input. These statistical activities include the joint OECD-WTO Trade in Value Added (TiVA) initiative (which allows better tracking of global production networks and supply chains than is possible with conventional trade statistics) and Trade by Enterprise Characteristics (TEC) statistics (which offer evidence-based insights into the actors who are actually engaged in cross-border trade). 

The OECD makes available monthly and quarterly international merchandise trade statistics for all OECD countries (quarterly by partner trade), G20 economies and relevant zones and aggregates (e.g. OECD Total, G20, etc.). 

In addition, the OECD disseminates TiVA; TEC; and Balanced International Merchandise Trade datasets. The Balanced International Merchandise Trade dataset contains data for 2-digit Classification of Products by Activity (CPA).The TiVA dataset contains a range of indicators measuring the value added content of international trade flows and final demand. The TEC dataset contains international trade in goods statistics broken down by different categories of enterprises. 


Finding international trade data

Access OECD international trade data: 


Quarterly international merchandise trade statistics are sourced from UN COMTRADE

TEC data are collected in co-operation with Eurostat. The TiVA database is a joint initiative with the WTO and a number of OECD Directorates. 


Further reading



 For any queries about international merchandise trade, please write to: [email protected]


Related Documents