Skip to Main Content

International Relations *

A guide to databases and scholarly online sources that support conducting research in international relations and comparative politics.

Trade and Commerce Research Resources

Below are links to databases and electronic resources that support the study of international trade and commerce and related areas of research.


Databases that offer multidisciplinary coverage of trade and commerce literature from scholarly and non-scholarly sources.

  • Credo Reference -- comprehensive collection of highly-specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks across all subject areas. Good place to go for succinct definitions, explanations, and analysis of concepts, theories, or topics.
  • Google Scholar -- the scholarly part of the Google empire. To set up Google Scholar with access to full-text journals and databases, go here.
  • JSTOR -- a multidisciplinary archive of scholarly journal articles covering most major disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. Useful for identifying historical research on a topic.
  • Oxford Handbooks Online -- contains in-depth, high-level articles covering a variety of disciplines. Entries offer a thorough introduction to topics and a critical survey of the current state of scholarship, creating an original conception of the field and setting the agenda for new research.
  • ProQuest Multiple -- comprehensive, multidisciplinary database of newspaper, magazine, and scholarly journal articles updated daily. Content is more focused and manageable in locating relevant research than Google Scholar.


Key Databases

  • ABI/Inform -- database that features access to full-text journals, dissertations, working papers, key business and economics magazines and trade journals as well as country-and industry-focused reports and downloadable data. Its international coverage gives researchers a complete picture of companies and business trends around the world. Covers research that examines the international trade and commerce.
  • Columbia International Affairs Online [CIAO] -- provides the full text of a wide range of scholarship books, working papers from universities and research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, and proceedings from conferences.
  • EconLit -- provides thorough coverage of a wide range of economics-related literature derived from journal articles, books, working papers, conference papers, and research reports. Coverage if from the 1880s to the present. This is an important source of research on economic issues related to international trade.
  • Public Affairs Information Services [PAIS] -- indexes selective subjects and bibliographic access to periodicals, books, hearings, reports, gray literature, government publications, Internet resources, and other publications from 120 countries. Includes historical coverage from 1915 to the present.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts -- provides indexing of the international journal literature in political science and its complementary fields, including international relations, law, and public administration and policy. Over 1,700 titles are monitored for coverage and, of these, 67% are published outside of the United States.
  • WTO Documents Online -- provides access to the official documentation of the World Trade Organization. The database contains over 140,000 documents in the three official languages from 1995 onwards and is updated daily. The application provides descriptive records for every document stored in the archive. It is possible to consult all of these documents online and also to download selected documents from the site. All WTO documents are posted in PDF and Microsoft Word format. A complete list of all WTO databases accessing official documents of the WTO's councils and committees is located HERE.

Related Research Resources

  • Commentaries on World Trade Law Online -- an open access e-book from Brill Publishers, this is  a comprehensive, standard reference work on WTO Law. The Commentaries explain the provisions of the WTO Agreements article by article, setting out the interpretation of each article in the case law, in practice and in scholarly writing. The contents are extensively hyperlinked to source documents, cross-referenced and indexed.
  • European Commission Trade -- web site with links to European Union trade negotiations and agreements, EU's trade agreement with the four founding Mercosur states [Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay], EU's role in the World Trade Organization, EU negotiating texts proposals and the latest round reports published since October 2015 related to the EU’s trade agreements and ongoing trade negotiations, data on trade and jobs, and trade rules enforcement on both the EU export markets and on the EU market.
  • Global Trade Alert -- provides timely information on state interventions taken since November 2008 that are likely to affect foreign commerce. It includes state interventions affecting trade in goods and services, foreign investment, and labor force migration. The site focuses on trade policy monitoring and, in particular, coverage of all types of trade-discriminatory and trade liberalizing measures.
  • Index of Economic Freedom -- an annual guide published by The Heritage Foundation that uses analysis of 12 quantitative and qualitative factors, grouped into four broad categories of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, government integrity, judicial effectiveness); Government Size (government spending, tax burden, fiscal health); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and, Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). The Index currently ranks 186 countries.
  • ITC Electronic Document Information System -- searchable repository for all documents filed in relation to an investigation conducted by the United States International Trade Commission. EDIS provides the capability to file documents for an investigation as well as search for documents which have already been submitted to the USITC.
  • International Trade Commission -- an independent, nonpartisan, quasi-judicial federal agency that makes determinations in proceedings involving imports claimed to injure a domestic industry or violate U.S. intellectual property rights; provide independent analysis and information on tariffs, trade and competitiveness; and maintain the U.S. tariff schedule.
  • International Trade Web Resources -- a comprehensive, searchable directory of online resources concerning international trade. The site contains more than 8,000 annotated and indexed links to international trade/import-export websites.
  • HeinOnline Law Journal Library -- full text access to digitized content of more than 2,600 law and law-related periodicals that cover criminal justice, political science, technology, human rights, and more. Coverage for all journals is from first issue and volume through the current issue or volume for most titles.
  • Mergent Intellect -- a web-based application that features an in-depth collection of worldwide business information. The database offers access to private and public U.S and international business data, industry news, facts and figures, executive contact information, the ability to access industry profiles and much more. Useful source for obtaining information about U.S and international companies involved in global trade.
  • SICE: Foreign Trade Information System  -- supported by the Organization of American States, this site provides access to multilateral, free, partial preferential trade agreements, and customs unions [a trade bloc composed of a free trade area with a common external tariff]; trade policy developments and updates; national legislation, national authorities and contact points, and additional information on disciplines contained in trade agreements; and, comparative tables of trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties. 
  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law -- the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. Mission is to further the harmonization and modernization of the law of international trade by preparing and promoting the use and adoption of legislative and non-legislative instruments in a number of key areas of commercial law.
  • United States Court of International Trade -- established under Article III of the Constitution, this court has nationwide jurisdiction over civil actions arising out of the customs and international trade laws of the United States. The court has exclusive subject matter jurisdiction of certain civil actions brought by the United States under the laws governing import transactions, as well as counterclaims, cross-claims, and third-party actions relating to actions pending in the court.


  • Google Dataset Search -- facilitates searching approximately 25 million datasets provided by government, public, and private groups. Users can filter results based on the type of data desired [e.g., images or text]. Data availability is based on the original source being formatted using standards, an open discovery standard for data on the web.
  • National Statistical Offices -- a directory of country-specific statistical agencies maintained and updated by the United Nations Statistics Division. Also included is a list of countries and organizations which includes a brief history of the country's statistical system, legal basis, the statistical program and much more.
  • UNData -- searchable statistical database provided by the United Nations Statistics Division that provides access to current statistics. The database covers a number of different areas such as employment, industry, and trade. A single interface facilitates the creation of customizable tables and the use of various filters and search options to sort and locate specific statistical information.


  • ASEANStatsDataPortal -- first launched in June 2018, this website functions as a repository for Association of Southeast Asian Nations statistical databases, including those related to trade and commerce. The Portal is currently in the public beta version, the data sources in this website are mostly from regularly updated data submitted by the ASEAN Member states, using the ASEAN Statistical Indicators.
  • Design of Trade Agreements (DESTA) Database -- aims to systematically collect data on various types of preferential trade agreements. These may be customs unions, free trade agreements, or partial free trade agreements (economic integration agreements). DESTA works with a list of almost 790 agreements and includes coded design features for more than 620 agreements. These include fine-grained data with information on a large set ranging from market access commitments, flexibility instruments, enforcement tools, to non-trade issues for the time period between 1948 and 2016.
  • Direction of Trade Statistics -- an International Monetary Fund database that presents the value of merchandise exports and imports disaggregated according to a country's primary trading partner. Area and global aggregates are included in the display of trade flows between major areas of the world. Reported data is supplemented by estimates whenever such data is not available or current. Imports are reported on a cost, insurance and freight basis and exports are reported on a free on board basis. The database covers all IMF member states, some non-member countries, the world, and major areas. Monthly and quarterly data are available starting in 1960; annual data are available beginning in 1947.
  • FAO Detail Trade Matrix -- the trade database of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization that includes the following variables: export quantity, export value, import quantity and import value. The trade database provides data concerning all food and agricultural products imported/exported annually by all the countries in the world.
  • Foreign Trade Statistics -- a U.S. Bureau of the Census statistics site that includes trade highlights, product trade data, country data, state export data, and an historical series. Coverage is from 1960 to the present. This is a good place locate detailed statistics on goods and estimates of services shipped from the United States to countries overseas.
  • EuroStat -- official site of the the European Union that provides statistics at European level that enable comparisons between countries and regions. Eurostat's database is updated twice a day. Users can download individual datasets by extracting data directly from the database, by selecting our most popular tables from the homepage, by using our bulk download facility or via our web services. Trade data includes the value and quantity of goods traded between the EU Member States and goods traded by the EU Member States with non-EU countries, and, statistics on international trade in services that record services transactions between residents and non-residents.
  • Information System on Integration and Trade [INtrade] -- produced by the Inter-American Development Bank, this site contains several databases that includes in-depth data on the bilateral trade of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, both at the aggregate level and by product up to the 6 digit level of the Harmonized System; annual and quarterly bilateral trade flows in value and volume at the tariff-line level, for each country of the Americas, including transport costs, insurance fees, and duties are available for selected countries; a comprehensive set of indicators defined to assess the trade performance and analyze the trade policies of the countries of the region; and a collection of statistics and indicators for each IDB borrowing member country, providing an overview of its trade performance and trade policies.
  • International Trade and Balance of Payments Statistics Portal -- provides access to four areas of data: international merchandise trade, international trade in services, balance of payments, and trade by enterprise characteristics. Maintained by the OECD International Trade Statistics Programme, the site's mission is to compile core series on international merchandise trade that are comparable between countries, to reconcile and resolve trade asymmetries at the national level between declaring and by partner countries, and to be directly involved in better understanding and measuring globalization using international trade statistics as a core input.
  • International Trade by Commodity Statistics -- a database of the OECD that includes detailed data from 1961 for imports and exports by commodity in quantity and value between OECD countries and 264 different partner countries. Products are classified according to the Standard International Trade Classification system and Harmonized System. Coverage from 2010 to the present.
  • Maritime Transport Costs -- a database of statistics from the OECD used in conjunction with the paper Clarifying Trade Costs in Maritime Transport and which contains data from 1991 to the most recent available year of bilateral maritime transport costs. Transport costs are available for 43 importing countries (including EU15 countries as a custom union) from 218 countries of origin at the detailed commodity (6 digit) level of the 1988 Harmonized System. Data is available on transport costs of commodities in agriculture, crude oil, manufacturing, and raw materials.
  • Trade Map -- provides in the form of tables, graphs and maps, indicators on export performance, international demand, alternative markets and competitive markets, as well as a directory of importing and exporting companies. The database covers 220 countries and territories and 5300 products of the Harmonized System. The monthly, quarterly, and yearly trade flows are available from the most aggregated level to the tariff line level.
  • UN Comtrade  -- open access database providing detailed global trade data. Serves is a repository of official trade statistics and relevant analytical tables and  contains annual trade statistics starting from 1962 and monthly trade statistics since 2010. The database also includes United Nations Trade Statistics and International Merchandise Trade Statistics by nation. An essential source of global trade data.
  • UNCTADstat -- a product of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, this site provides access to comprehensive statistical time series and indicators essential for the analysis of world trade, development, and interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment and durable development. The statistical series are regularly updated and classified into easy-to-navigate themes. UNCTADstat also offers ready-to-use analytical groupings, with coverage for countries and products with a particular focus on developing and transition economies.
  • WITS TradeStat Database -- developed by the World Bank in collaboration with other NGOs, this database provides the latest international merchandise and commercial services trade data and overview of country and region's imports and exports, tariff and non-tariff measures. View international trade statistics by country or region to obtain country or region's overall exports, imports and tariffs; details of exports and imports with various partner countries along with partner share and Most Favored Nation and Effective Applied Tariff tariffs imposed; details on various products exported and imported globally and with individual partner countries; and. trade indicators like number of export and import partners, trade as percentage of GDP, services exports and imports, taxes on exports, and many more indicators.
  • World Bank Services Trade Restrictions Database -- aims to facilitate dialog about, and analysis of, services trade policies. The database provides comparable information on services trade policy measures for 103 countries, five sectors (telecommunications, finance, transportation, retail and professional services) and key modes of delivery.
  • World Integrated Trade Solution -- provides access to international merchandise trade, tariff, and non-tariff measures data. Browse the Country profile section to obtain countries exports, imports and tariff statistics along with relevant development data. In addition, WITS provides built-in analytical tools that help assess the impact of tariff cuts. Use the Trade Outcomes module to assess competitiveness of countries by calculating and visualizing indicators. Requires registration and log in to WITS to perform custom analysis, using standard and derived product classifications. System is created and maintained by the World Bank in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
  • WTO Data Portal -- contains statistical indicators related to WTO issues. Available time series cover merchandise trade and trade in services statistics, market access indicators (bound, applied, and preferential tariffs), non-tariff information, and other key indicators. Data retrieval functionalities include data selection, display and export, including available metadata. Maps and other graphical representations of selected data are also available.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites