Other Countries Have Exporter Data Too??

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By: Ryan Coleman

The process of linking trade data to business statistics is the nuts and bolts of creating our Profile of U.S. Importing and Exporting Companies. You may already be familiar with our Profile (just in case you aren’t: http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/Press-Release/edb/2009/index.html) and the data that are available in it, but did you know that there are equivalent data available for over a dozen other countries too? The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conveniently collects these data from each participating country, but only after each country standardizes them to classifications set by the OECD.

Knowledge Share

The OECD aims to foster international economic development. One of the ways it does this is by providing a forum for governments to knowledge-share. On top of collecting and showcasing data, the OECD hosts multiple conferences every year where participating countries can discuss all the aspects of linking trade data to business statistics. The main topics that are focused on are methodologies of linking the data as well as the best ways that this type of data can be used for the formation of trade policy.

Apples to Apples

An essential way for tools like this to be more effective is to make sure that participating parties have apples-to-apples data to compare. While the OECD offers all sorts of data, which you can look at by clicking the hyperlink at the end of this blog, the exhibit that includes data similar to the Profile is their Trade by Enterprise Characteristics (TEC) tables.

Here’s an example of data from one of these tables:

In the first drop down menu of this exhibit you can see that the industry category is classified by “ISIC sector.” To standardize the data of all the participating countries, the industry classifications in the data are converted to the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities, or, thankfully, just “ISIC.” You will also notice in the screenshot that company sizes in the OECD data are classified differently compared to the Profile data. The last difference is that products are classified in the OECD data by the Central Product Classification (CPC) system. The above screenshot does not contain any product codes, but there is a table in the TEC series that does. As promised, all of OECD’s publicly available data are available here.

If you’d like to take a closer look at the TEC tables, click the “Get real-time data” link, to the right of “Trade by enterprise size class” under the “Trade” section. From there, you will be taken to another page that has all of the TEC tables listed in the column to the left. Open the “Trade by Enterprise Characteristics (ISIC rev.4)” tab to see the tables with U.S. data for 2008 and 2009, as well as the other participant countries.

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