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International Trade: Government Documents Information

Background Information for Foreign Trade

A Basic Guide to Exporting (U.S. Department of Commerce and Unz & Co., Inc.)
Lockwood Documents US C 61.8:Ex 7/3/998
An introductory guide to exporting that covers business and marketing strategies; contracts; shipping; legal considerations; conducting business abroad; and sources for advice.

Exporters' Encyclopaedia (Dun and Bradstreet International)
Lockwood HF 3011 E9 (1963+; most recent edition in Lockwood Reference)
Contains descriptions of trade and commerce in countries throughout the world.

Language of Trade ( U.S. Department of State. Bureau of International Information Programs)
An online glossary to nearly 1,000 international trade terms and related acronyms.

Reference (U.S. Bureau of the Census. Foreign Trade Division)
Links to FAQs; guides; codes; forms; information papers; and list of trade statistics sources. Information on the Collection and Publication of Trade Statistics at is particularly well-done.

Tradeport (Bay Area Economic Forum and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce)
Novice traders ought to spend time viewing resources provided by this introductory site. Topics deal with how to export; market research; trade leads; transporting goods; and finance. The Export Tutorial discusses how to get started; markets; developing export strategies; and rules of trade. The Trade Library section includes a glossary, data about currency conversion, and geographic resources.

World Trade Organization Resources (World Trade Organization) (WTO)
Resources include an online learning program; the WTO library catalog; and trade glossaries. The following is particularly informative.

Trade Classifications

Understanding trade classification systems is essential for locating foreign trade statistics. Classification systems organize products whereby related items have similar codes. Confusion arises because the classification systems adopted by different organizations sometimes differs. The Harmonized Schedule (HS) system is probably the most often cited. However, students ought to be aware of others as well. Descriptions below cover HS codes, plus selected other popular systems.

Harmonized (HS) Codes for Import Products (Sometimes referred to as the HTS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule)).

Click here for statistical sources based on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.

The Customs Cooperation Council developed the Harmonized Schedule adopted by most nations beginning in 1989. The U.S. International Trade Commission uses a 10-digit HS codes for reporting import statistics. The first 6 digits conform to an international standard harmonized product code. Participating countries can add an additional 4 digits that are unique to its products.

Browse the most recent HS schedule at or search for codes at (searchable by word or number).

The most recent printed copy of the Harmonized Schedule is in Lockwood Documents at US ITC 1.10:year. CD-ROM copies are in the Capen Multimedia Center at US CD-ROM ITC 1.10/ 4 (1997-present) .

Schedule B Codes for Export Products

Click here for statistical sources based on Schedule B

The U.S. Bureau of the Census uses Schedule B codes to classify American exports. The initial 6 digits are identical to those in the HS system. However, the following 4 numbers are similar, but sometimes differs. Schedule B includes approximately 8,000 products.

Browse or search for Schedule B codes at

Standard International Trade Classification (SITC)

Click here for resources which provide statistics based on the SITC codes.

The United Nations mandates that nations use the 5-digit SITC codes when reporting imports and exports. SITC Revision 3 is the most recent version.

Browse SITC Revision 3 at or consult an alphabetic index at A printed copy is at Lockwood Reference at HF1041 C55 1994.

North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS)/Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code

Click here for resources which provide statistics based on NAICS or SIC codes.

The three North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) nations (United States, Canada, and Mexico) classify domestic industries and products by NAICS codes. Prior to the adoption of NAICs in 1997, the U.S. used Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes. Although it is outdated, SIC codes still appear in selected references. Very important, Standard Industrial Classification codes used by Canada in pre-NAICS times and by Great Britain are not comparable to American SIC codes. Also, do not confuse SIC codes with SITC codes used by the United Nations.

The NAICS home page provides access to the 2002, 2007, and 2012 schedules.  ( A printed copies are at: 

  • 1997 edition
    Lockwood Reference HF 1042 N34 1998
    US PREX 26/2: In27/1997
    CAN CS12_501 XPE
  • 2002 edition
    Lockwood Reference HF N6 2002a (revised edition)
    US PREX 26/2: In27/2002E
    CAN CS12_501 2002
  • 2007 edition
    Lockwood Reference HF1042 A55 2007

A printed copy of the Standard Industrial Classification Manual is at Lockwood Reference HF 1041 .S83 1987. Concordances that compare NAICS and SIC codes are at  A printed version of NAICS/SIC Code United States Manual 1997 and its 2002 Supplement is at Lockwood Reference HF1042 .N34

End-Use Codes

Click here for resources which provide statistics based on end-use codes.

End-Use codes summarize the Harmonized codes and Schedule B into six "end-use" categories. These categories are further subdivided into 140 commodity groups.

View a list of end-use codes at

Additional Trade Concordances

Two additional sources concordances compare trade classifications among different systems:

Trade Statistics-United States

Harmonized Schedule (HS) and Schedule B

Click the relevant codes for descriptions of each, Hamonized Schedule and Schedule B.

Strategis Trade Data Online (Industry Canada)
Data covers imports and exports to and from Canada, Canadian provinces, and the U.S. Information provides current year-to-date totals, and 5 year trends. Important, the system defaults to Canadian dollars. When tracking U.S. trade, be certain to change values to U.S. dollars.

U.S. Imports/Exports of Merchandise (U.S. Bureau of the Census)

  • Imports: Capen Multimedia Center US DVD Textual C3.278/2:year/month (December issues 1992+ and current year) (1989-2000 on CD-ROM; 2002-present on DVD)
  • Exports: Capen Multimedia Center US DVD Textual C3.278/3:year/month (December issues 1992+ and current year) (1989-2000 on CD-ROM; 2002-present on DVD)
    Reports monthly data and year to date for the U.S. with trading partners and by entry/exit port.

U.S. Imports/Exports of Merchandise History (U.S. Bureau of the Census)

  • Imports: Capen Multimedia Center US DVD C3.278/2:(1989/1993+; most recent on Lockwood Reference computer) (1989/1993-1997/2001 on CD-ROM; 1998/2002+ on DVD)
  • Exports: Capen Multimedia Center US DVD C3.278/3:(1989/1993+; most recent on Lockwood Reference computer) (1989/1993-1997/2001 on CD-ROM; 1998/2002+ on DVD)
    Reports annual data for the most recent 5 years by country of entry and customs districts.

USA Trade Online (U.S. Department of Commerce. Economics & Statistics Administration) (password protected; see a Lockwood reference librarian for access)
View import and export data to and from the U.S. for the most recent month through ten-year periods. Data reflect U.S. Trade with the entire world, specific countries, specific commodities, and American ports of departure and entry.

USITC Tariff Database (U.S. International Trade Commission)
Search the database to retrieve an HS code, and then view import data by source country; by tariff program; or by customs district.

Standard International Trade Classification (SITC)

Click here for a description of SITC codes

Foreign Trade Highlights (U.S. Department of Commerce. International Trade Administration)
Summarizes U.S. foreign trade for 1, 2, and 3-digit SITC codes.

U.S. International Trade Statistics (U.S. Bureau of the Census)
Presents monthly value of American trade from 1996-present with with trading partners by 1, 2, and 3 digit SITC codes.

Summarized Trade Statistics and Data Based on Multiple Code Scheme Including SIC, NAICS, and End-Use Codes

Country and Product Trade Data (Bureau of the Census. Foreign Trade Division)
Brief reports deal with top trading partners (1998+); trade with U.S. possessions and Puerto Rico (1995+); total trade with specific countries (1985+); and trade in advanced technology products (2003+). (End-Use; NAICS; SITC)

Historical Series (Bureau of the Census. Foreign Trade Division)
Presents annual total trade (1960+); monthly trade totals (1992+); and monthly crude oil imports (1973+). Additional data covers selected End-Use categories (1993+).

TradeStats Express (U.S. Department of Commerce. International Trade Administration)
Create maps and tables that measure exports of products from U.S. regions and states to world areas or specific nations. Data are available from 1989-present. (4 digit HS codes; 4 digit NAICS codes; 3 digit SITC codes)

International Trade in Goods and Services News Release Archive (U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Reproduces current and past monthly news releases published by BEA.

U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services: Current, Prior and Compressed (FT900) (U.S. Bureau of the Census. Foreign Trade Division) (1991-present)
A monthly press release that summarizes American foreign trade. Topics cover total imports and exports; the trade balance (the difference between the value of imports and exports); petroleum; motor vehicles; technological products; and tables organized by NAICS, SITC, and End-Use classifications.

Selected editions of FT 900 from 1964-1981 (titles vary) are available in Lockwood Documents. Do a keyword search for ft 900 in the Libraries Catalog for locations.

U.S. International Trade Statistics [NAICS Codes] (U.S. Bureau of the Census. Foreign Trade Division)
Provides monthly data by 3 and 6 digit NAICS codes from 2000 through the present.

Trade Statistics-States

Note: the Bureau of the Census calculates state export trade based upon the origin of movement (OM). The state of origin is the state from which the goods began their journey to port. For example, consider products manufactured in New York, but housed in a New Jersey warehouse prior to export. New Jersey, not New York, is the state of export or OM. Import data for states are not collected.

State Export Data (U.S. Bureau of the Census. Foreign Trade Division)
Provides state data for the top 25 exports and the top 25 trading partners. Statistics cover 2006-the present.

TradeStats Express

Trade Statistics-Other Countries

International Trade by Commodity (Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development)
Lockwood HF 91 O6723 (1994/1999+; most recent in Reference)
Provides trade statistics for OECD nations and their trading partners by 2 digit SITC codes.

International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO Tables
The "General Trade Data" section provides U.S. dollar value annual totals for approximately 5 years. Retrieve data by product or country for 3 digit SITC codes.

International Trade Statistics Yearbook (United Nations)
Lockwood HF91 .U473 (1983+;most recent in reference)
Provides statistics for all nations measured in U.S. Dollars Organization of volume 1 is by countries and volume 2 by SITC codes.

Market Access Database (European Union)
Promotes trade among EU nations.  Separate sections cover trade barriers; tariffs; how-to export; trade statistics; restrictions about trade in animal and plant products; and research studies.

Strategis Trade Data Online(Canada)

UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (COMTRADE) (United Nations Statistics Division)
Retrieve import and export data for all countries and their trading partners. Database administrators allow free downloads of 1,000 or fewer records per search. Larger downloads require a subscription. UB does not subscribe. (HS, SITC)

World Trade Annual (United Nations. Statistics Office)
Lockwood HF53 .W6 (1963+; most recent in reference)
Provides trade data for 5 digit SITC codes by country and trading partners.

Background Data About Foreign Countries

Countries [Market Analysis Portals (MAPs)] (International Trade Centre)
Links to data measuring trade performance; comparative advantages; import profiles; and imports and exports by product and country. Additional information describes statistical reliability. Coverage includes 184 nations during 5 year periods from 1994/1998+. Depending upon the country, selected variables are unavailable.

Economic Statistics: International Data (State University at Buffalo. University Libraries)
View statistical resources selected by UB librarians relevant to nations throughout the world.

Exporters' Encyclopaedia (Dun & Bradstreet)
Lockwood HF 3011 E9 (1980+; most recent in Reference)
Summarizes requirements business people must meet to import products and services into countries throughout the world. Data include country profiles; communications; key contacts; trade regulations; expected documentation; marketing and advertising; and customs and etiquette.

Foreign Countries & Inter-Governmental Organizations (IGOs) (State University at Buffalo. University Libraries)
View resources selected by UB librarians about socioeconomic and political conditions in countries throughout the world.

Trade Policy Reviews (World Trade Organization)
Reviews trade policies of World Trade Organization members.  Four reports cover policies of individual members.

  • Those prepared by WTO members.
  • Those prepared by the WTO Secretariat.
  • Minutes of trade policy review meetings.
  • Questions and answers about trade policies.

Trade Barriers

National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, annual (U.S. Trade Representative)
Lockwood Documents US PREX9.10:year
Separate chapters deal with individual countries.

Provides background information on barriers to trade for nearly 100 countries. Information can also be obtained for specific products ("sectors") within a country.

Trade Treaties, Laws, and Regulations

Documents Library (Office of the U.S. Trade Representative)
Search selected trade agreements, related fact sheets, and information about trade negotiations in different economic sectors.

Export Administration Regulations (U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS))
Lockwood Documents US C63.23: (current year)
Capen Multimedia Center US CD-ROM C 63.25/ 2: (previous 2 years)
BIS, formally called the Export Administration, regulates trade in products considered sensitive to national security. Examples include computer technologies and defense materials.

NAFTA Secretariat
The NAFTA Secretariat administrators dispute settlement provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement that created free trade among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The Web site includes the NAFTA Treaty; the rules and procedures for dispute settlement; and the texts of decision and reports.

The American and Canadian governments also published the NAFTA Treaty.

  • American Edition
    Lockwood Documents US PrEx 1.2: T 67
  • Canadian Edition
    Lockwood Documents CAN E 74-57/ 1-1993

Trade Agreements (U.S. Trade Representative)
Includes full texts of bilateral, regional, and global trade agreements, as well as press releases, fact sheets, and hearing transcripts.

Trade Negotiations and Agreements (Canada. International Trade Canada)
Contains links to in-depth information about all aspects of trade in Canada including agreements, statistics, social policy, and more.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
Protects and secures U.S. borders for trade and travel.  Links include information about trade and border regulations; and cargo security.

World Trade Organization Trade Topics
A portal to WTO trade agreements ( categorized by topic. The topic pages include summaries and explanations of the legal texts as well as annual and semi-annual reports.


Key Government Agencies Supporting Foreign Trade

Bureau of the Census. Foreign Trade Division (U.S. Department of Commerce)
Describes basics of imports and exports, the Automated Export System (AES) that collects data about exported goods, regulations, reference materials, definitions, Schedule B, and frequently asked questions.
A portal that compiles information produced by agencies concerned with trade.

U.S International Trade Administration (ITA)
Assist U.S. companies selling products and services abroad. ITA provides trade statistics; industry information; country profiles; and legal information. Selected parts of this site require free registration.

U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC)
The USITC is an independent quasi-judicial agency that provides objective trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches of government, determines the impact of imports on U.S. industries, and directs actions against certain unfair trade practices, such as infringements against patents, trademarks, and copyrights. USITC analysts and economists investigate and publish reports on U.S. Industries and the global trends that affect them. The agency also updates and publishes the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. Notable sections of this site include:

  • Interactive Tariff and Trade DataWeb
    Provides import, export and tariff statistics from 1989-present. Users may create custom tables or retrieve pre-defined reports based upon geographic region/partner country.
  • Related Government Links
    Links to other trade-related web sites, including sources for data sets.

U.S. Trade Representative
The Office of the U.S.Trade Representative is responsible for developing and coordinating American international trade, commodity and direct investment policy, and leading or directing negotiations with other countries. Links include trade agreements; news about world regions; trade and development; trade sectors; and the World Trade Organization (WTO).