Millsaps College
Country Profiles
  • Mergent Online
    Subscription source. Profiles that highlight major industries, population, major stock exchanges and major media outlets.
  • CIA World Factbook
    Brief summary information. An excellent source for quick statistics, such as population, military size and expenditures, and political structure.
  • Background Notes -- US Dept. of State
    Summary information on countries, including politics, history and foreign relations. Also includes archived versions back to 1990.
  • BBC Country Profiles
    Good brief summaries of current politics with links to major media in the country.
  • Business Source Premier (EBSCO)
    Click Country Reports for country economic reports from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Global Insight, ICON Group and CountryWatch.

US Government Sources

Various US Government agencies collect and publish information on many (though not all) countries of the world. Some of the more important series and sources are:

International Sources

General information on countries of the world are also available from other governments and intergovernmental sources, as well as from multinational firms offering business services:

Foreign Governments

International and Intergovernmental Organizations

Commercial Firms

Other Sources

Industry Sectors

Information on specific industrial sectors of various countries are also available from US Government agencies, international organizations, and research centers:

Business Etiquette

Consult the following sources for guides to international business culture and the business etiquette in individual countries around the world.



  • International Statistical Agencies
    The U.S. Census Bureau maintains an extensive list of these agencies.
  • UNdata  
    The UN also maintains a list. Choose "Country data services"Human Development Reports
Trade Data
  • Interactive Tariff and Trade DataWeb
    Imports, exports and tariff data for the US and its trading partners for 1989 -
    Free registration required for access.
  • TradeStats Express
    Offers less detail than the other sources but is more user friendly than the other sources.
  • UN Comtrade
    Commodity level data for countries and their trading partners.
    Free access, but limited to 50,000 records per download
  • UN Comtrade via UNdata
    Commodity level data in dollars and weight. This is a free version and it includes only aggregate data
  • WTO Statistics Database
    The time series section provides the most data elements. Other sections are useful for quick overviews
  • WITS: World Integrated Trade Solution
    Hosted by the World Bank. Gives access to UN Comtrade, UNCTAD-TRAINS (Trade Analysis and Information System) and WTO's tariff databases.
    Access is currently free, but requires registration.
  • European Commission Trade Statistics
    Bilateral data for the EU and its trading partners. Trading partner summaries have details on trade worldwide for the partner country.

    Trade in services is not tracked as extensively as trade in commodities. These are the most useful sources

  • International Economic Accounts
    Compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Detailed statistics for the US.
  • WTO Statistics Database
    Choose Services Profiles
    Covers transportation, telecommunications, finance and insurance
  • OECD Statistics on Trade in International Services
    Part of OECD.Stat. These are the most detailed statistics available for non-US countries but they are limited to the OECD. Choose International Trade, then trade in Services
  • UN Service Trade Database
    Free registration required. Covers 2000 to the present
Historical Data
  • Historical Statistics of the United States
    Level of detail varies. There is some commodity information as well as aggregate statistics.
  • International trade statistics Yearbook.  In the library stacks - HF91 .U473.
Classification Codes

There are two major systems used to classify imports and exports.

The Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) was developed by the UN and has been in use since 1950.
The code can be browsed online at the UN

The Harmonized System or Harmonized Tariff System was created in 1988 and has been revised more frequently. It is maintained by the World Customs Organization. This code is not freely available.

 The US maintains its own codes, which are based on the Harmonized System. These have greater detail than the Harmonized system.

  • The Harmonized Tariff System cover imports and is maintained by the US International Trade Commission.
    Available in print back to 1990, Regenstein Bookstacks, call number XXKF6654.599.U552
  • Schedule B covers exports and is maintained by the Census Bureau.
    Also available in print going back to 1912, Regenstein Bookstacks call number HJ6650.A17
Guide created by Rutgers University and University of Chicago Librarians and edited by Millsaps Librarians.