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.
In the UNCTADstat Data Center, the term "economy" refers to a country or any other type of territorial unit. In each UNCTADstat table, UNCTAD tries to disseminate data for the target economies below:
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.
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:
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.
The table below shows the full correspondence of the territories defined in ISO 3166-1 and M49 to the UNCTAD target economies:
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.
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" (5900) (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 5702–5706).
Developing and developed regions
All target economies are also categorized into developing (1400) or developed (1500) economies. This categorization is based on a distinction between developing and developed regions that was commonly used in the past (see Hoffmeister, 2020) and is maintained by UNSD with the understanding that being part of either developed or developing region is through sovereign decision of a state (see the M49 website).
The developing economies broadly comprise Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia without 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, the Republic of Korea, 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), as defined by the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).
Groups defined by economic criteria or institutionalized membership
Developing economies are subdivided by UNCTAD not only by geographic region but also by per-capita income class. The underlying criteria are provided below:
A final class of groups of economies is defined based on institutionalized membership, often grounded on a treaty or an association agreement.
Download group compositions
The table below shows the compositions of the various groups of economies available in UNCTADstat.
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.
- Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) Revision 3
- UNCTAD product groupings and composition (SITC Rev. 3)
- Manufactured goods by degree of manufacturing (SITC Rev. 3)
- Product 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.
- ICT goods categories and composition (HS 1992)
- ICT goods categories and composition (HS 1996)
- ICT goods categories and composition (HS 2002)
- ICT goods categories and composition (HS 2007)
- ICT goods categories and composition (HS 2012)
- ICT goods categories and composition (HS 2017)
- ICT goods categories and composition
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.
- Biodiversity-based goods categories and composition (HS 2017)
- All groups composition (Two levels flat file)
- Methodological disclaimer
- Methodological note
The Sustainable Ocean Economy sectors for trade in goods and their respective Harmonized System product codes are documented in the files available below.
- Ocean product categories and composition
- Ocean product categories and composition (HS 2012)
- Ocean product categories and composition (HS 2017)
- Methodological note
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.
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).
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.
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".
- Creative product groupings and composition (HS 1992)
- Creative product groupings and composition (HS 1996)
- Creative product groupings and composition (HS 2002)
- Creative product groupings and composition (HS 2007)
- Creative product groupings and composition (HS 2012)
- Creative economy product groupings
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.
- Information and communication technology - Economic activities (ISIC Rev. 3.1)
- Information and communication technology - Economic activities (ISIC Rev. 4)
Composition of commodity groups published in the free market commodity prices and price indices tables.
Classification revision history
UNCTADstat Classification is updated once a year.
- Classification update - May 2023
- Classification update - April 2022
- Classification update - March 2021
- Classification update - April 2020
- Classification update - April 2019
- Classification update - June 2018
- Classification update - June 2017
- Classification update - September 2016
- Classification update - July 2015
- Classification update - July 2014
- Classification update - June 2013 (Revision)
- Classification update - June 2013
- Classification update - July 2012
- Classification update - September 2011