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The dataset provides a consolidated and reconciled version of multiple sources of bilateral
trade data. Its advantages over the original source data are that it provides broader
coverage based on mirror flows, reconciliation of aggregate with underlying flows, and
consolidation (allowing for broader coverage than offered by source data). One weakness,
inherent in all available data of this type, is that even with mirror flows, a substantial share
of South-South trade is unreported. As such, while we can recover North-South exports
from mirror flows, we cannot recover all unreported bilateral flows. The scale of the
problem can be gauged by comparing trade with the world with bilateral flows in the
• values are in millions of current US dollars
• Because of the apparent mixing of zero and missing by source agencies, we have opted
to use missing, or “.”, for reported zero and missing flows.
• total with world is the greater of reported total with world, or aggregate of bilateral
• region XWD holds difference between all bilateral flows and global (trade with world)
total. It is the sum of flows with missing partners. This means XWD holds identified
flows without a partner. It does not hold flows that are totally unreported.
• all unreported REP:PAR:BOP:YEAR combinations, meaning that do not even appear in
the dataset, can be safely assumed to be missing. By this, we mean there is no
reported source for these flows, and the countries-product-year combination does
not even occur in any of the underlying source data.