Merchandise imports (current US$)

Definition: Merchandise imports show the c.i.f. value of goods received from the rest of the world valued in current U.S. dollars.

Description: The map below shows how Merchandise imports (current US$) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is United States, with a value of 2,412,550,000,000.00. The country with the lowest value in the world is Tuvalu, with a value of 12,000,000.00.

Source: World Trade Organization.

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Limitations and Exceptions: The value of imports is generally recorded as the cost of the goods when purchased by the importer plus the cost of transport and insurance to the frontier of the importing country - the cost, insurance, and freight (c.i.f.) value, corresponding to the landed cost at the point of entry of foreign goods into the country. A few countries collect import data on a free on board (f.o.b.) basis and adjust them for freight and insurance costs. Countries may report trade according to the general or special system of trade. Under the general system imports include goods imported for domestic consumption and imports into bonded warehouses and free trade zones. Under the special system imports comprise goods imported for domestic consumption (including transformation and repair) and withdrawals for domestic consumption from bonded warehouses and free trade zones. Goods transported through a country en route to another are excluded. Data on imports of goods are derived from the same sources as data on exports. In principle, world exports and imports should be identical. Similarly, exports from an economy should equal the sum of imports by the rest of the world from that economy. But differences in timing and definitions result in discrepancies in reported values at all levels.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Merchandise trade data are from customs reports of goods moving into or out of an economy or from reports of financial transactions related to merchandise trade recorded in the balance of payments. Because of differences in timing and definitions, trade flow estimates from customs reports and balance of payments may differ. Several international agencies process trade data, each correcting unreported or misreported data, leading to other differences. The data on total imports of goods (merchandise) are from the World Trade Organization (WTO), which obtains data from national statistical offices and the IMF's International Financial Statistics, supplemented by the Comtrade database and publications or databases of regional organizations, specialized agencies, economic groups, and private sources (such as Eurostat, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and country reports of the Economist Intelligence Unit). Country websites and email contact have improved collection of up-to-date statistics, reducing the proportion of estimates. The WTO database now covers most major traders in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, which together with high-income countries account for nearly 95 percent of world trade. Reliability of data for countries in Europe and Central Asia has also improved.

Aggregation method: Gap-filled total

Periodicity: Annual