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Advanced Query on UN COMTRADE Introduction

The Advanced Query tool gives users the ability to construct sophisticated queries using the data available in UN COMTRADE, TRAINS, and WTO IDB databases.In this module, we are covering the data retrieval from UN COMTRADE database only, TRAINS and WTO IDB being tariff oriented databases and covered in Advanced Query on TRAINS/IDB.

In principle, an Advanced Query works the same way as a Quick Search: you define query parameters and submit your job to see results. However, there are a few differences:

  • Quick Search offers separate tools for working with different databases. Advanced Query is a common tool for querying different databases (UN COMTRADE, TRAINS and IDB). Therefore, you must start any query by specifying the database to be used;
  • Advanced Queries can be saved and reused. This is particularly useful for more complex queries.
  • While a Quick Search deals with only one item for most dimensions (reporter, partner, product, year), you can include several reporters, partners, products and years in a single Advanced Query.
  • Product and country group builder tools allow you to retrieve aggregated results (trade values for a group of products and or countries).
  • UN COMTRADE Quick Search allow for retrieving data only as they are stored in the database: you can only use one of the few native nomenclatures at a time and one Tier. In Advanced Query, you can select and retrieve trade for products defined using several native and derived nomenclatures and mix product categories from different Tiers.
  • While Quick Search are immediately processed, Advanced Queries are queued on WITS server. Compared to Quick Search, Advanced Queries are generally much larger and require more time to be processed. Once you submit an Advanced Query, you can check the status of your job periodically to find-out when results are ready.
  • One main disadvantage of Advanced Query vis-a-vis Quick Search (covered in previous modules) is that maximum level of product details is at 6-digit harmonized system classification whereas in a Quick Search of TRAINS and WTO, output is available at the tariff line level (e.g., 8- or 10-digits.)

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The World Bank, 2010