Giving New Meaning to “Trading Blocs”

Sometimes you just want a simple answer without having to dig through a database of thousands of tariff lines – after all, how many of us know what the Harmonized System of product classification is or how to find the product we’re looking for?

(The Harmonized System, used by more than 200 countries, is a common way to identify traded products for the purpose of assessing customs tariffs and to collect trade statistics. Tariff lines are more detailed product codes used at the national level.)

The World Bank offers an easy way to visualize trade flows between countries and regions searching by geography or product using its database, the World Integrated Trade Solution.

The result? You can quickly find out that about 32 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s exports stay in the region, and that Europe and Central Asia are Sub-Saharan Africa’s next largest regional trading partners.