Merchandise imports from low- and middle-income economies within region (% of total merchandise imports)

Definition: Merchandise imports from low- and middle-income economies within region are the sum of merchandise imports by the reporting economy from other low- and middle-income economies in the same World Bank region according to the World Bank classification of economies. Data are as a percentage of total merchandise imports by the economy. Data are computed only if at least half of the economies in the partner country group had non-missing data. No figures are shown for high-income economies, because they are a separate category in the World Bank classification of economies.

Description: The map below shows how Merchandise imports from low- and middle-income economies within region (% of total merchandise imports) 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 Lao PDR, with a value of 87.82. The country with the lowest value in the world is India, with a value of 0.58.

Source: World Bank staff estimates based data from International Monetary Fund's Direction of Trade database.

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Development Relevance: The relative importance of intraregional trade is higher for both landlocked countries and small countries with close trade links to the largest regional economy. For most low- and middle-income economies - especially smaller ones - there is a "geographic bias" favoring intraregional trade. Despite the broad trend toward globalization and the reduction of trade barriers, the relative share of intraregional trade increased for most economies between 1999 and 2010. This is due partly to trade-related advantages, such as proximity, lower transport costs, increased knowledge from repeated interaction, and cultural and historical affinity. The direction of trade is also influenced by preferential trade agreements that a country has made with other economies. Though formal agreements on trade liberalization do not automatically increase trade, they nevertheless affect the direction of trade between the participating economies.

Limitations and Exceptions: Data on exports and imports are from the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Direction of Trade database and should be broadly consistent with data from other sources, such as the United Nations Statistics Division's Commodity Trade (Comtrade) database. All high-income economies and major low- and middle-income economies report trade data to the IMF on a timely basis, covering about 85 percent of trade for recent years. Trade data for less timely reporters and for countries that do not report are estimated using reports of trading partner countries. Therefore, data on trade between developing and high-income economies should be generally complete. But trade flows between many low- and middle-income economies - particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa - are not well recorded, and the value of trade among low- and middle-income economies may be understated.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual