A database of worldwide economic information used to evaluate trade agreements between nations has been expanded to include data from 15 more countries in an updated version released by Purdue University.
The Global Trade Analysis Project, a global network of researchers and policy-makers who analyze international policy issues, includes data on bilateral trade patterns and production, consumption and intermediate use of commodities and services. It is used by governments, international institutions, the private sector and economists at universities.
The database, constructed by the Center for Global Trade Analysis at Purdue, began 20 years ago with information on 13 countries. With the release of GTAP 8 Data Base this month, it now has data on more than 120 countries. "The new release is significant because it brings in many new countries, including a big part of the Middle East," said Thomas Hertel, executive director of the center and a distinguished professor of agricultural economics. The Middle East countries now represented in the database are Bahrain, Israel, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
Also added is information on Cote d'lvoire, El Salvador, Ghana, Honduras, Kenya, Mongolia, Namibia and Nepal. There also is updated information on 16 other countries, including Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Venezuela. The database is used by nearly 10,000 people in 150 countries. "Every major national and international institution that is a player in international trade and environmental agreements is involved in this," Hertel said. "It's like a snowball effect - once one joins, everyone wants to be part of it. This has become a global phenomenon."
Those who contribute data have free access to the database; otherwise, there is a charge for it. Data include statistics on production, consumption and international trade, as well as economic policies, including export subsidies, trade taxes, and domestic support for agriculture, among other economic information. The data, expressed in United States currency, tracks the dollar flows underpinning the global economic system. It shows, for example, how much foreign steel the U.S. auto industry buys from China, Japan and European countries, how tariffs are paid on that steel and where its products are being sold, whether domestically or exported.
The database also is being widely used to evaluate the impact of biofuels on the global economy. With 30 percent of the U.S. corn crop being used for ethanol production, the database examines the effect that has on global agricultural markets and land use. "This database helps us to understand how everything is connected to everything else in the economic sense," Hertel said.