Economic research

The WTO provides analysis and data on economic and trade policy issues, with the aim of deepening understanding about trends in trade and the multilateral trading system. This page provides access to WTO research, databases, publications, webinars and information on cooperation with other organizations.



Search research output by keyword  

A keyword search function for research work and databases produced by the Economic Research and Statistics Division is available here.

Annual publications

World Trade Report

The WTO's flagship publication on global trade policy focuses on a different theme each year.

World Trade Statistical Review

A detailed analysis of the latest developments in world trade.

Trade Profiles

Country-by-country data on trade flows and trade policy measures.

World Tariff Profiles

Country-by-country data on the “bound” or maximum tariff rates for over 170 economies and the rates they apply in practice.

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Joint publications with other international organizations

The WTO collaborates with other international organizations to focus on specific trade issues. Some of the most recent joint publications include:

See all co-publications

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Research papers

Working papers

Working papers represent research in progress. They reflect the opinions of the authors and are the product of professional research. They do not necessarily represent the views of the WTO or its members. They are circulated for discussion and comment as critical review is an important aspect of WTO research.

Special studies

The special studies make use of economic research to discuss issues of relevance to the WTO and multilateral trade.

WTO discussion papers

The WTO discussion papers are prepared by WTO staff and contributors from other intergovernmental organizations to stimulate discussion on specific issues relating to the multilateral trading system. The opinions expressed are those of the authors.

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Research data and tools

The Economic Research and Statistics Division has created various tools and analytical databases that can be accessed or downloaded free of charge.

Structural gravity

The gravity model is one of the most successful frameworks in economics. Hundreds of papers have used the gravity model to study and quantify the effects of various factors on international trade.

WTO Data Portal

The portal provides access to a wide range of data on international trade, tariffs, non-tariff measures, trade in value added terms and other indicators. This includes data on trade in commercial services broken down by sector and country.

Tariff Data

The Tariff Download Facility contains comprehensive information on WTO members' applied and bound tariffs, mainly for downloading. The data are available for up to six digits of the Harmonized System codes. Tariff Analysis Online shows tariffs on products defined at the highest level of detail (i.e. eight or more digits of the Harmonized System codes). It allows users to compile reports and download data, including on tariffs, tariff quotas, imports and countries' commitments on agricultural subsidies.

I-TIP Database

I-TIP Goods provides information on WTO members' tariff and non-tariff measures affecting trade in goods. I-TIP Services provides information on WTO members'commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services, services commitments in regional trade agreements, measures applied by members, and services statistics.

Global value chain (GVC) statistics

The Trade in Value Added (TiVA) database  provides data on the value-added components of gross exports and the level of GVC participation broken down by economy and industry. The UIBE GVC Indicator Database provides access to the most widely used trade in value added and GVC indicators. The time series are computed from input-output tables released by the Asian Development Bank, the Global Trade Analysis Project, OECD, the World Input-Output Database and other global initiatives.

WTO Trade Cost Index

The Trade Cost Index has been produced by ERSD to complement other statistics the WTO provides on trade costs, such as average tariffs or the number of non-tariff measures. The aim is to give a sense of the degree of restrictiveness of some of these measures, to measure how trade policy barriers compare to other trade costs, and to indicate who bears these costs.

Tariff Bindings Database: 1996-2011

The Tariff Bindings Database provides estimates of WTO members' tariff binding rates — that is, the maximum upper bound rate at which a WTO member could set a tariff under WTO commitments — from 1996 to 2011. The database covers 143 members and 5,128 products at the HS6 level to allow for comparison across countries.

Trade maps

Trade maps display information on trade per capita, trade to GDP ratio, and WTO members' share in world merchandise or services trade.

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WTO Investment related databases

In order to facilitate research and to inform discussions on investment facilitation and more broadly on FDI and trade, the Economic Research and Statistics Division of the World Trade Organization (WTO) provides access to three investment related databases.

Trade Dialogues webinars and lectures

The WTO regularly invites leading experts to share their insights on various trade and economic issues. The webinars and lectures are part of the WTO's Trade Dialogues initiative.


Global Trade Data Portal

Global Trade Data Portal

WTO trade barometers

The barometers provide “real time” information on the trajectory of world trade. The Goods Trade Barometer and the Services Trade Barometer are intended to complement conventional trade statistics and forecasts.

WTO trade barometer

Trade forecasts

The WTO's annual trade forecasts and updates can be found here.


  • Geneva Trade and Development Workshops

    A forum for discussion between academics and researchers working in the area of trade and development. Anyone wishing to present a paper in the workshop should submit it by email to the selection panel: [email protected]

  • WTO Chairs Programme

    The programme aims to help academic institutions in developing and least-developed economies develop courses on trade policy and disseminate research on trade issues.

  • WTO Essay Award for Young Economists

    The award promotes high-quality economic research on trade issues. It carries a prize of CHF 5,000.

  • Support Programme for Doctoral Studies

    The programme allows PhD researchers from developing countries to use a three to six month residency at the WTO to advance the completion of their doctoral thesis.

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