International Business

Know it Now!

Background Notes are frequently updated publications from the U.S. State Department for virtually every country in the world. Each section includes topics such as the following:

  • Geography
  • Population and notes
  • History and political conditions
  • The economy and recent economic trends
  • Foreign relations
  • Relations with the United States
  • Travel and business information

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This comprehensive and frequently updated resource includes detailed data for every country in the world. Each country profile includes background, geographic data, demographic data, information about the government, economic data, communications data, transportation data, military data, and a section on transnational issues.

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The State Department is responsible for foreign relations and diplomacy for the United States. The official site is a resource for information about foreign affairs, travel, diplomacy, and world events.

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"The Treasury Department is the executive agency responsible for promoting economic prosperity and ensuring the financial security of the United States. The Department is responsible for a wide range of activities such as advising the President on economic and financial issues, encouraging sustainable economic growth, and fostering improved governance in financial institutions. The Department of the Treasury operates and maintains systems that are critical to the nation's financial infrastructure, such as the production of coin and currency, the disbursement of payments to the American public, revenue collection, and the borrowing of funds necessary to run the federal government. The Department works with other federal agencies, foreign governments, and international financial institutions to encourage global economic growth, raise standards of living, and to the extent possible, predict and prevent economic and financial crises. The Treasury Department also performs a critical and far-reaching role in enhancing national security by implementing economic sanctions against foreign threats to the U.S., identifying and targeting the financial support networks of national security threats, and improving the safeguards of our financial systems." from web site

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"EUROPA is the portal site of the European Union (http://europa.eu). It provides up-to-date coverage of European Union affairs and essential information on European integration. Users can also consult all legislation currently in force or under discussion, access the websites of each of the EU institutions and find out about the policies administered by the European Union under the powers devolved to it by the Treaties." from web site

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Data products from the U.S. Census Bureau related to foreign trade include Trade Highlights, Country/Product Trade Data, State Export Data, and Historical Series going back as far as 1960.

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"The IDB, established in 1959 to support the process of economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean, is the main source of multilateral financing in the region. The IDB Group provides solutions to development challenges by partnering with governments, companies and civil society organizations, thus reaching its clients ranging from central governments to city authorities and businesses." from Web site

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"Interculturalrelations.com displays the top advertisers for Intercultural Relations, Culture, Entertainment, Corporate Culture, Religion and more. We've taken the confusion out of searching online, allowing you to find what you want in a timely manner." from Web site

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"Welcome to trade.gov, the Web site of the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the Department of Commerce! ITA's mission is to create prosperity by strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promoting trade and investment, and ensuring fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements. Trade.gov provides you access to ITA's valuable information and services regarding U.S. international trade policy." from web site

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"ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. As the development partner for small business export success, ITC’s goal is to help developing and transition countries achieve sustainable human development through exports." from Web site

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The U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library contains more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports. Country Commercial Guides are available to all users. Register as a student/researcher with Export.gov to access market reports.

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"SICE - the Organization of American State's Foreign Trade Information System - centralizes information on trade policy in the Americas. On the SICE Website, you will find the full texts of trade agreements in force for OAS Member States, new and ongoing trade policy developments, information on national trade-related legislation, links to international, regional and national sources of trade policy information and more! SICE, with more than ten years online, strives to provide OAS member states and other users up-to-date and relevant information." from Web site

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TradeStats Express (TSE) has data for national imports and exports, and state exports.

TSE has annual and quarterly data for commodity codes of 2 and 4 digits, and data for trade groups and geographic regions. This is a summarized version of USA Trade Online.

Help page for TSE.

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"The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was set up in 1947 by ECOSOC. It is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations. The others are the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

Its major aim is to promote pan-European economic integration. To do so, UNECE brings together 56 countries located in the European Union, non-EU Western and Eastern Europe, South-East Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and North America. All these countries dialogue and cooperate under the aegis of the UNECE on economic and sectoral issues." from Web site

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"The Statistics Division's main functions are:

  1. the collection, processing and dissemination of statistical information;
  2. the standardization of statistical methods, classifications and definitions;
  3. the technical cooperation programme; and
  4. the coordination of international statistical programmes and activities.
To carry out these functions, it:
  • provides a global centre for data on international trade, national accounts, energy, industry, environment and demographic and social statistics gathered from national and international sources
  • promotes international standards of methods, classifications and definitions used by national agencies
  • assists Member States, at their request, to improve their statistical services by giving advice and training
  • coordinates international statistical programmes and activities entrusted to the Division by the United Nations Statistical Commission and the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA)
  • provides input and secretarial support to the United Nations Statistical Commission
  • facilitates the monitoring of progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by leading the Interagency and Expert Group on MDG indicators and maintaining the global MDG indicator database
  • promotes modern surveying and mapping techniques as a tool for growth and development"
  • from Web site

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The mission of FAS is to link U.S. agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities and global food security. Search trade data, locate information about commodities, learn about trade negotiations and agreements, and learn about selling agricultural products overseas.

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This guide from the State Department links to the official web page, when available, for every U.S. embassy in the world.

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"The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the common sense. We are made up of two unique development institutions owned by 186 member countries—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA)." from Web site

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"The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business."from Web site

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