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Learn to code for data analysis
Learn to code for data analysis

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1.2 Data that describes the world of trade

A news article from the Guardian announcing a gloomy export outlook for UK manufacturers (see the link below), got me wondering about what sorts of thing different countries actually export.

For example, it might surprise you that India was the world’s largest exporter by value of unset diamonds in 2014 (24 billion US dollars worth), or that Germany was the biggest importer of chocolate (over $2.5 billion worth) in that same year.

National governments all tend to publish their own trade figures, but the UN also collect data from across the world. In particular, the UN’s global trade database, Comtrade, contains data about import and export trade flows between countries for a wide range of goods and services.

An image of a China Shipping Lane cargo ship passing under the San Francisco bridge
Figure 3

So if you’ve ever wondered where your country imports most of its T-shirts from, or exports most of its municipal waste to, Comtrade is likely to have the data.

In the next section, you will find out about the Comtrade data.