All products that are traded internationally are categorized within a common taxonomy called the “harmonized system” This hierarchical schema consists of 21 sections, 98 (2 digit) chapters, 1250+ (4 digit) product groups, broken down into 6,000+ commodities and products. These identifiers represent the agreed upon common “international language” of product trade. Beyond the above, each country maintains its own unique sub-classifications (8,10,12, 15 digits) which are utilized for organizational, policy and tax (tariff) purposes.
Behind the statistics, analyses and facts about a specific commodity or product category, there is a wealth of valuable related information which can be gleaned and expanded upon about the locales (economic impact on countries, cities, communities) and companies (specifics on the foreign manufacturers, U.S. importers and trade service providers such as ports, carriers and NVOCCs). Over the previous year, we published dozens of trade reports featuring various aspects of this mix including metro, country, product, company and historic trends. Click this link to view a summary of all trade reports written by Isaac Thompson, who interned for WorldTradeDaily.com during this last semester.
So the plan is to report on ALL $2 trillion of product inflows within one year. How this breaks down is as follows. Every 4 digit product group that exceeds $2 billion (representing 1% or more of the total) we will dedicate a specific article to. There are over 160 (out of 1250+) of these. Together they represent over 80% of U.S. Import trade. In addition, we will cover every 2 digit HS chapter along with their corresponding 4 digit product groups under $2 billion. In cases where the trade volume of the 2 digit chapter doesn’t merit individual attention, we will group them together for representation in a section article. Thus, within the 250 – 260 planned week day articles, we should cover all product categories.
Taken together, it will represent a comprehensive portrayal of U.S. import trade, trading partners, and marketplace trends. Hopefully, it will provide significant strategic knowledge with valuable business application, globally. This comprehensive, if complex portrait of U.S. Import Trade is available for download via our Google Docs site
If the project continues beyond the initial year we can develop articles on lower ranked product groups (in the $250 million to $2 billion range) within the U.S. Import Trade flow perspective. We could take an alternate point of view, perhaps focusing globally on products equalling or exceeding a particular value threshold. We could revisit the same product groups by expanding upon the trading partners and supply chain aspects of each. We could increase the specificity (down to the 6 digit HS level) of the articles and address products /commodities of a particular threshold or angle (such as exports by China or BRIC countries). We could cover the several $trillion in global “services” trade. Obviously, our university partner and commercial sponsor together with reader feedback and interest within the context of available resources, will help guide our direction.