? WITS - Faqs

Frequently Asked Questions



This section contains questions of general interest to WITS users. Please review them carefully before sending us an e-mail with your question.

Please click on any of the topics below (Basics,Profile (Country Profile), Registration) to display the corresponding FAQ page and click on any question to view the answer. Click here to download the WITS User Manual.

  • What is WITS?
    WITS (World Integrated Trade Solution) is a simple yet powerful tool which:
    • gives access to merchandise trade and tariff related statistical information;
    • includes simulation and analysis tools;
  • Whom is WITS for?

    WITS is useful to anyone involved in merchandise trade and/or tariff related work specifically researchers, policy makers, governments, academia.

  • What is the price of WITS?

    WITS is a free software. However, access to databases can be fee-charging depending on your status. See below for information on each database.

  • Which databases can be accessed with WITS?

    WITS gives access to several major trade flow & tariff databases:

    • the UN Comtrade;
    • the UNCTAD TRAINS;
    • the WTO IDB and CTS;

    In addition WITS provides access to the World Bank and the Center for International Business, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College Global Preferential Trade Agreements Database. Access rights may vary from one user to another either for legal or commercial issues. For more details on each database, see the corresponding FAQ below.

  • Where do I get more information about UN Comtrade database?

    1. The availability of the international trade statistics of UN Comtrade (The United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics database) via the WITS application has been made possible with the permission of the United Nations. UN Comtrade contains annual imports and exports statistics for more than 160 reporting countries or areas, which account for almost all trade worldwide. The trade statistics are detailed giving value and quantity for each commodity broken down by trading partner. These data are copyrighted by the United Nations. They are made available for internal use only and may not be re-disseminated in any form without written permission of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD).

    2. Free unlimited access to UN Comtrade is available for all users on the website of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) at http://Comtrade.un.org/db/default.aspx . A download limit of 100,000 data records per query is applicable for technical reasons. There is no limit on the number of queries. The same free access and limitations apply for obtaining UN Comtrade data via the WITS application.

    3. Institutional users from developing countries and users from International Organizations can request registration at the UN Comtrade website and will be provided with special arrangements (for details see https://unp.un.org/Comtrade.aspx). Those special arrangements would apply also to download of UN Comtrade data via WITS, once registered at the UN Comtrade site.

    4. UN Comtrade offers Premium access, which allows for downloads of more than 100,000 records and for the use of advanced functions of UN Comtrade. Premium access is payable. For details on how to obtain such access see https://unp.un.org/Comtrade.aspx. Premium access to UN Comtrade via WITS can be obtained in the same way.

    5. (a) Use of UN Comtrade data is subject to a license agreement which can be found at http://Comtrade.un.org/db/help/LicenseAgreement.aspx, irrespective whether the data is accessed via free or premium access.

        (b) Users need to acknowledge the disclaimer which is given in the section “Read me first” on the UN Comtrade website at: http://Comtrade.un.org/db/help/uReadMeFirst.aspx.

    6. Additional information on UN Comtrade can be found on the following web pages:

        (a) Further details regarding the free basic data access to UN Comtrade as well as information on premium access options at https://unp.un.org/Comtrade.aspx.

        (b) For information on re-dissemination of UN Comtrade data see the Policy on use and re-dissemination of UN Comtrade data Questions on re-dissemination should be addressed to Comtrade@un.org.

        (c) For metadata see http://Comtrade.un.org/db/default.aspx and also see the UN International Trade Statistics Knowledgebase at http://unstats.un.org/unsd/tradekb/Default.aspx.

    Requests and questions can be sent to :

    United Nations Statistics Division
    IMTS Section
    DC2-1544, 2 United Nations Plaza
    New York, NY 10017, USA
    Fax: 1 (917) 367-5106
    E-mail : Comtrade@un.org

  • Where do I get more information about TRAINS database?

    UNCTAD-TRAINS (Trade Analysis and Information System) is a trade and market access information system combining the database containing data drawn from UN TARMAC, a joint primary data collection with the International Trade Centre, UNCTAD/WTO (ITC), and the WITS software. TRAINS is both a data depository and an analytical tool designed for policy-makers and economic operators engaged in international merchandise trade. It is also a powerful tool for multilateral or bilateral trade negotiations as well as for general research on international merchandise trade.

    TRAINS contains HS-based data for over 1,000 country/years, covering tariff and non-tariff measures as well as imports flows by origin for more than 160 countries and the years since 1988. For tariffs, TRAINS contains not only general applied tariff data but also information on applied preferential tariff including the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and many regional and bilateral preferences.

    TRAINS gives users the possibility of converting the HS data into other internationally recognized nomenclatures such as the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC), the International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC) or the Broad Economic Categories (BEC) etc... It also provides a single market, partial equilibrium trade simulation model (SMART model) with which users may simulate trade, revenue and welfare effects of tariff changes by a single market country.

    The TRAINS database is physically located at the World Bank server where WITS application is running, but is directly maintained by UNCTAD. Neither UNCTAD, nor the World Bank, accepts the responsibility for the accuracy or suitability of the information provided by in TRAINS database. The user assumes, therefore, all risk associated with the use of the data in TRAINS. The designation employed and the presentation of the material in this database do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, group of countries, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

    Access to TRAINS database is free of charge and unlimited. Users need simply to register with WITS and the access is provided automatically.

    Please refer to UNCTAD TRAINS terms of use and dissemination policy. Comments and inquiries about TRAINS may be sent to:

    E-mail: trains@unctad.org
    Fax: (41 22) 917 0044
    Palais des Nations
    1211 Geneva 10

  • Where do I get more information about IDB/CTS Databases?

    The IDB and the CTS databases contain respectively applied customs duties at the tariff line level and WTO Members' commitments on goods (bound tariffs and specific commitments in agriculture). The applied customs duties are furnished to the WTO Secretariat by WTO Member governments on an annual basis and standardized and verified by the WTO Secretariat. The commitments on goods are either prepared by WTO Members themselves or by the WTO Secretariat and are approved by WTO Members.

    The dissemination policy of the databases is defined and administered by the WTO Committee on Market Access. There are certain restrictions on the use and dissemination of the IDB/CTS information that all users must agree to in order to access the database (refer to WTO document G/MA/238 available for downloading at http://www.wto.org or http://tao.wto.org for more information).

    Permission to download information in part or in full from this database is granted for personal or classroom use, without fee and without formal request. Full citation must appear on any information published from this database. Data downloaded from this database in part or in full may not be distributed for profit or commercial advantage. Users expressly acknowledge and agree that any and all use of this information are at their sole risk. Neither the WTO nor any of its staff warrants that access to and use of these data will be free from interruptions or free from errors; nor does it make any warranty as to the accuracy and reliability of results that may be obtained from use of these data.

    Note: The term "country" in this application does not imply an expression of opinion by the WTO Secretariat concerning the status of any country, territory or area or the delimitatation of its frontiers, or the rights and obligations of any WTO Member in respect of WTO agreements. The Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu is referred to in this application as "Taipei, Chinese". On 1 December 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community (done at Lisbon, 13 December 2007) entered into force. On 29 November 2009, the WTO received a Verbal Note (WT/L/779) from the Council of the European Union and the Commission of the European Communities stating that, by virtue of the Treaty of Lisbon, as of 1 December 2009, the European Union replaces and succeeds the European Community. Pre-December 2009 information pertaining to the European Communities can be obtained by selecting the European Union.

    All users may publish IDB and CTS information, or analyses derived from these databases, on the condition that:

    • WTO copyright of the original data is acknowledged;
    • Any conclusions or analyses based on IDB and CTS data are accompanied by a disclaimer stating that they are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the WTO;
    • Any re-dissemination by third parties of IDB or CTS data based on data downloads which goes beyond the purpose of publication of analytical work must be approved by the WTO Secretariat prior to such re-dissemination;

    Requests and questions can be sent to:

    Integrated Data Base Section
    World Trade Organization
    E-mail : idb@wto.org

If you haven't found the answer to your question or problem, feel free to send us an email at wits@worldbank.org.

  • What is Country Profile section?
    The country profile section provides summary trade statistics for various countries across years. This section will help you quickly obtain:
    • total export and import values for the World and individual countries;
    • products exported and imported by countries to various partners and its value in US dollars;
    • Exportand Import trade and tariff detail for a country with partner countries ;
    • top exporters and importers in the World by choosing World as the country
    • top exported and imported products along with effectively applied (AHS) and Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariff;
    • Trade and tariff indicators from WITS and Services Trade indicators from WDI;
    • Development indicators from WDI such as GDP, GNI, Trade Balance and much more;
    The "Summary" tab gives a quick snapshot of all common indicators. The "Country" tab has indicators that are country level and not dependent on additional dimensions such as trading partner,product or trade flow. The "By Partner" tab provides data for export and import of a country with its trading partners. The "By Product Group" tab provides data on various product groups exported and imported by the country.
  • How do I get a list of countries for which Trade Country Profile is available?

    You can browse the list of countries for which summary trade statistics is available in the Data Availability page under the "Country Profile" menu. You can view the metadata for these countries in the Metadata section.

  • What are the lists of indicators available in the Country Profile Section and what are their definitions?

    You can get the list of all indicators in the Metadata page. You can also use the drop down and change the selection from "All" to "Trade", "Tariff" or "Development" to filter relevant indicators.

  • What are the various product groups for which summary data is available and what are these product groups?

    You can get the list of product groups in the Product Groups metadata page along with a description, information on the product grouping and a link to download in excel format the product groups. Product grouping are based on SITC Revision 2, Harmonized System (HS) Sector definition and UNCTAD's Stages of Processing product Grouping.

  • What trade and tariff indicators are available in the various pages pages?

    Trade indicators are distributed based on the associated dimensions like Trade Flow , Product and Partner Countries. Trade Indicators that are a country level and not have any other dependency are available on the "Summary" and "Country" tabs. These indicators include

    • Number of Import Partners
    • Number of Export Partners
    • Number of Products Imported
    • Number of Products Exported
    • Index Of Export Market Penetration
    • Hirschman Herfindahl Market Concentration Index
    Indicators that have an associated partner dimension are available in the "By Partner" tab. These include
    • Number of Harmonized System (HS) products at six digit level
    • Share in Total Products in percentage
    • Partner Share
    Indicators that have an associated product dimension are available in the "By Product Group" tab
    • Product Share
    • Revealed Comparitive Advantage (RCA) applicable for trade flow exports only
    • Country Growth in percentageapplicable for trade flow exports only
    • World Growth in percentage applicable for trade flow exports only
    Tariff indicators are available when the trade flow is import in the " By Partner", and "By Product group" tabs. Note: In the "By Partner" and "Product Group" tabs, not all indicators are displayed in the table by default. You can add additional indicators by selecting indicators from the "Show More Columns"" drop down on the right hand side of the table.
  • How do I look at timeseries (data across years) data?

    Time Series data can be seen one indicator at a time. There are two ways of accessing time series data. The first method is from the "Summary" tab. In the summary page some of the indicator names like Exports (in US$ mil), Imports (in US$mil), World Growth, Country Growth, No. of Tariff Agreements and more, are hyperlinks and clicking on these hyperlinks takes you to the timeseries page for the corresponding indicator. The second method is when you are in "Country" tab or "By Partner" tab or in "By Product Group" tab in the year drop down, year range is available. Selecting a range of year say "2008-2012" will give you time series data after you select the indicator in the "Indicator" drop down.

  • How do I use a particular table/chart in my blog or news article?

    The table/charts that have a scissor icon on the top right hand corner can be embedded in other web pages. Use the scissor icon to get the html embed code for the table/chart and add it to your blog. You can adjust the width and height of the iframe to fit your site/blog's needs.

If you haven't found the answer to your question or problem, feel free to send us an email at wits@worldbank.org.

Please read the "Basics" FAQ before reading this section.

  • What is WITS registration for?
    Registration is mandatory in order to use WITS. Enrollment allows WITS administrators to broadcast any information regarding WITS (updates, upgrades, server maintenance schedule ...) to all its users.
  • Who should I contact to get access to the various included databases?

    We strongly advise you to check if your institution, government or research center is already registered for each database.

    For additional information please visit :

    For more information, please send an email to wits@worldbank.org.

  • I am not able to login?
    • Please check your username (email address with which you registered to WITS).
    • Ensure you are typing in the right password. If you do not remember your password, please use the “Forgot Password” link in the login page
    • Please ensure you have activated your account by clicking the activation link provided in the Registration Confirmation email.
    • If you are not registered, please register in the “Registration Page”. There are no charges for registration.
    • If none of the above answer your question please send an email to wits@worldbank.org
  • Who should I contact for any WITS registration issue?
    Please contact us at wits@worldbank.org.