Market and Trade Information > United Nations Conference
on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Trade analysis and research

Two main types of activities are carried out in the context of trade analysis and research, namely: (i) the maintenance, upgrading and development of new analytical tools and databases, such as TRAINS (Trade Analysis and Information System) / WITS (World Integrated Trade Solution), ATPSM (Agriculture Trade Policy Simulation Model), and AMAD (Agricultural Market Access Database); and (ii) conducting policy-oriented analytical studies on current and emerging issues in international trade of concern to developing countries.

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Trade Analysis and Information System (TRAINS)

TRAINS is an information system intended to increase transparency in international trading conditions. More specifically, it is intended for government officials and researchers by providing them with comprehensive, up-to-date information on market access conditions together with corresponding software tools. One component of the system relates to the Generalized System of Preferences in that it includes information on tariffs, preferential margins, rules of origin and other regulations affecting the export interests of developing countries vis-à-vis the preference-giving countries. A sub-system (TRAINS for the Americas) has been developed in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank for extension of the database with information on bilateral preferential trade agreements, as well as extended coverage of non-tariff measures.

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The World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS)

The WITS computer software has been developed for dissemination purposes. It is a web-based, client-server application, which has been developed jointly with the World Bank. Free and unlimited access to TRAINS is provided to member governments through WITS. TRAINS is available to other parties that make a minimum contribution to the UNCTAD trust fund created for this purpose.

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A pilot project on the collection and quantification of Non-tariff Measures (NTMs)

The purpose of the pilot project is to draw up a systematic methodology of definition and collection on NTMs by drawing information from official sources as well as barriers faced by traders in the pilot countries.

The project will help understanding of how to:

  • Determine the types and sources of non-tariff barriers to trade;
  • Test the feasibility of the preliminary template of NTMs classification;
  • Explore the range of data collection options, such as web-based portal and survey-based study, under the new classification format, to maximise the data coverage;
  • Identify and suggest possible options to increase accuracy and maintain such a complex database;
  • Increase general understanding of NTMs.

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