Classifications

Country classification

General disclaimer

Unless otherwise specified, the designations employed and the presentation of the material on UNCTADstat 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, territory, city or area, or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Economies

In the UNCTADstat Data Center, the term "economy" refers to a country or any other type of a territorial unit. In each UNCTADstat table, UNCTAD tries to disseminate data for the target economies below:

  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatTarget economies

With a few exceptions, the target economies and their numerical codes are conform with the ISO 3166-1 standard and the Standard Country or Area Codes for Statistical Use (M49) of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD). However, in the cases below, the target economies are broader than the territorial units defined in ISO 3166-1 and M49. Data for the economies which are subdivisions of target economies, listed below, are included in some UNCTADstat tables.

  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatSubdivisions of target economies

Each economy is associated with a specific statistical territory. In the case of a significant change in the statistical territory of a country or territorial unit, for example due to a split or a unification, the new country or territorial unit is recorded as a new economy. These cases are presented in the table below, showing also the start and end dates of the validity of the affected economies:

  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatFormer countries

For the following territories, subsumed in the group "other territories", data are not presented individually in any UNCTADstat table. However, if available, they are included in the world total.

  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel format"Other territories"

The table below shows the full correspondence of the territories defined in ISO 3166-1 and M49 to the UNCTAD target economies:

  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatTranscode ISO3166-1/UNCTADstat

Groups of economies

In UNCTADstat, economies are grouped by geographic location, development status, as well as economic and institutional criteria. Their compositions and underlying rationales are described below. Aggregates of groups of economies are compiled as the sums of the values recorded for the associated economies, unless otherwise specified. Although data have been collected or estimated at the level of individual economies as exhaustively as possible, some data gaps could not be avoided. This leads in some cases to a certain underestimation of the aggregates compiled on their basis. These cases are indicated in the table notes. In some cases, the aggregates include data estimated by the UNCTAD secretariat that are not separately reported.

Geographical groups

UNCTAD classifies all target economies by geographical region. The composition of those regions follows the M49 standard of UNSD (see above), according to which the world is divided up into five main regions, Africa (5100), America (5200), Asia (5300), Europe (5400) and Oceania (5500), and their subregions. An exception is represented by Cyprus, as it is considered to be part of Southern Europe in UNCTADstat and not of Western Asia as in M49. Apart from the values of the regions above, the world total also covers the figures of the "other territories" (1900) (see above).

Furthermore, some geographical groups not defined in M49 are provided as memorandum items. These comprise mergers of individual M49 regions often used in reporting on Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (groups 3601-3604), as well as Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa without South Africa (codes 2116 and 2117).

Developing and developed regions

All target economies are also categorized into developing (1400) or developed (1500) economies. This categorization is made on the basis of the distinction between developing and developed regions, until recently embodied in the M49 standard (see above). In the composition applied by UNCTAD, the Republic of Korea is part of the developed country group (in accordance with the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board decision TD/B/68/3).

The classification of economies by development status is intended for statistical convenience and does not express a judgement about the stage reached by a particular country or area in the development process. Since December 2021, the UNSD no longer maintains the categorization of developing and developed regions in M49, but considers that this categorization can continue to be applied.

The developing economies broadly comprise Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia witout Israel, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, and Oceania without Australia and New Zealand. The developed economies broadly comprise Northern America and Europe, Israel, Japan and the Republic of Korea, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Other groups based on development status on UNCTADstat include least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS), where UNCTADstat offers two different categorizations of SIDS: one that is broader (labelled “SIDS (Small island developing States) (UN-OHRLLS)”, code 2250) and follows the formal definition by the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), and one that is more narrow (labelled “SIDS (Small island developing States) (analytical)”, code 2230) and can be used for analytical purposes when stricter criteria are needed concerning size, vulnerability, identification as island, and identification as a sovereign state (see DGFF, 2021).

Groups defined by economic criteria or institutionalized membership

Some groups of economies are defined by UNCTAD with reference to specific economic criteria, to support various types of social and economic analyses. These criteria are provided below:

  • Download in PDF formatComposition criteria of economic groups

UNCTADstat also replicates groups defined by other organizations based on economic criteria. The custodian organization is in these cases mentioned in parentheses at the end of the group label.

A final class of groups of economies is defined based on institutionalized membership, often grounded on a treaty or an association agreement.

Download groups' composition

The tables below show the composition of the various groups of economies available in UNCTADstat.

  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatAll groups composition
  • Download in csv formatAll groups composition (Two levels flat file)

Product classification

Standard international trade classification (SITC) Revision 3

The Standard International Trade Classification which is a statistical classification of the commodities entering external trade. The current international standard is the SITC, Revision 3.

"UNCTAD product groups" are provided for special analytical interest.

The definition of "Manufactured goods by degree of manufacturing" is taken from Trade and Development Report (TDR) 2002 Annexes to Chapter III. Furthermore, some additional works were undertaken to convert the original list in SITC Rev.2 into SITC Rev.3, to extend its coverage to all commodities and to ensure consistency with existing UNCTAD product groups.

  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatStandard International Trade Classification (SITC) Revision 3
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatUNCTAD product groupings and composition (SITC Rev. 3)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatManufactured goods by degree of manufacturing (SITC Rev. 3)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatProduct by technological categories (SITC Rev. 3 based on Lall (2000))

Information and communication technology (ICT) products

The list of ICT goods was defined by the OECD using the 2007 version of the Harmonised System (HS). This definition was revised in 2010 and then adapted to HS 2012 and HS 2017 by UNCTAD in collaboration with UNSD. The most recent list consists of 93 goods defined at the 6 digit level of HS 2017. The original definition of ICT goods categories was defined in the OECD’s Guide to measuring the Information Society 2011.

  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatICT goods categories and composition (HS 1992)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatICT goods categories and composition (HS 1996)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatICT goods categories and composition (HS 2002)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatICT goods categories and composition (HS 2007)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatICT goods categories and composition (HS 2012)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatICT goods categories and composition (HS 2017)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatICT goods categories and composition

Biodiversity-based goods

All products in the Trade and Biodiversity reports are shown in the 2017 edition of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) of the World Customs Organization (WCO), including for trade flows reported in previous editions of the HS.

To convert the value of trade flows reported in previous editions of the HS into HS 2017, in the case of a split of a subheading into more than one, the allocation of value to each product is weighted according to the distribution of value used for the years that the economy reported its trade flows in HS 2017. However, for those cases where no trade flow has been reported yet by an economy in HS2017, an equal distribution is used.

  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatBiodiversity-based goods categories and composition (HS 2017)
  • Download in PDF formatMethodological disclaimer

Ocean products

The Sustainable Ocean Economy sectors for trade in goods and their respective Harmonized System product codes are documented in the files available below.

  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatOcean product categories and composition
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatOcean product categories and composition (HS 2012)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatOcean product categories and composition (HS 2017)
  • Download in PDF formatMethodological note

Plastics products

Plastic trade flows are divided into five life-cycle categories: primary plastics, intermediate forms of plastics, intermediate manufactured plastic products, final manufactured plastic products, and plastic waste.

  • Download in Excel formatPlastics across five stages of the life-cycle - Group composition (HS 2017)

Extracting from this, UNCTAD also compiles selected highlights of plastic trade flows in three topic areas: empty plastic packaging (in bulk intermediate and final forms); synthetic textiles (from primary products to final manufactured products); and synthetic rubber (from primary products to waste).

  • Download in Excel format"Spotlight" on selected topics in plastics trade - Group composition (HS 2017)

In addition, the Data Center includes two categories of ‘associated’ trade flows that are relevant to the life cycle of plastics, namely feedstocks and additives that can be used in plastics.

  • Download in Excel formatPlastics associated trade - Group composition (HS 2017)

Creative products

Given the complexity of making clear distinctions and defining the borderline between a creative good that is exclusive and mass production, between handmade and machine-made, between decorative and functional, etc., this exercise of compiling statistics for creative goods includes all the creative goods with the above characteristics since they fall under the criteria of the UNCTAD classification of "the cycle of creation, production and distribution of a tangible product with creative content, economic and cultural value and a market objective".

  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatCreative product groupings and composition (HS 1992)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatCreative product groupings and composition (HS 1996)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatCreative product groupings and composition (HS 2002)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatCreative product groupings and composition (HS 2007)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatCreative product groupings and composition (HS 2012)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatCreative economy product groupings

Other classifications

Information and communication technology (ICT)

Core indicators on ICT use in business by industrial classification of economic activity are based on ISIC Rev.3.1 or ISIC Rev.4.

  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatInformation and communication technology - Economic activities (ISIC Rev. 3.1)
  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatInformation and communication technology - Economic activities (ISIC Rev. 4)

Commmodity products

Composition of commodity groups published in the free market commodity prices and price indices tables.

  • Download in PDF formatDownload in Excel formatCommodity produtcs, hierarchy

Classification revision history

UNCTADstat Classification is updated once a year.

  • Download in PDF formatClassification update - April 2022
  • Download in PDF formatClassification update - March 2021
  • Download in PDF formatClassification update - April 2020
  • Download in PDF formatClassification update - April 2019
  • Download in PDF formatClassification update - June 2018
  • Download in PDF formatClassification update - June 2017
  • Download in PDF formatClassification update - September 2016
  • Download in PDF formatClassification update - July 2015
  • Download in PDF formatClassification update - July 2014
  • Download in PDF formatClassification update - June 2013 (Revision)
  • Download in PDF formatClassification update - June 2013
  • Download in PDF formatClassification update - July 2012
  • Download in PDF formatClassification update - September 2011