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ResourceTrade. Earth - a new website offering comprehensive and accessible data and insights into the dynamics of global resource trade, including agricultural, fishery and forestry products

Chatham House has recently released https://resourcetrade.earth - a new website offering comprehensive and accessible data and insights into the dynamics of global resource trade, including agricultural, fishery and forestry products, fossil fuels, metals and other minerals, and pearls and gemstones.

The website’s interactive visualizations allow users to interrogate resource trade flows between more than 200 countries and territories since the year 2000, by monetary value and by weight. Starting with data from the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade), resourcetrade.earth reconciles importer and exporter reports of trade in over 1,350 resource products, and reorganizes these in a natural resource hierarchy, permitting users to easily query data at varying degrees of granularity and aggregation.

A range of social and environmental indicators also contextualize the importance of resource trade to sustainable development trajectories, and where possible we provide an assessment of the land, water, and carbon dioxide embodied in particular trade flows.

Additionally, expert analysis and insights on different facets of resource trade and its interdependencies will increasingly feature on the site.

Global food trade

Since the Second World War, and especially in the last three decades, the global trade of goods has rapidly increased. Food is no exception to this, and with over $1.1 trillion of agricultural trade today, the global food system has become highly complex and interconnected. Every country in the world is dependent, to a greater or lesser extent, on trade to fulfil its overall food needs. Examination of the networks of trade in the major commodities reveals multifaceted interdependencies, with production concentrated in a handful of countries exporting to many, some of which in turn export it onwards.

The scale of resource trade

The volume of natural resources traded globally has increased over 60 per cent since the turn of the century, reflecting and reinforcing new economic and geopolitical realities and bringing new environmental and social challenges – as well as opportunities. During the commodities boom of the first 13 years of the 21st century, rising demand from emerging markets coupled with increasing concerns about the long-term availability of natural resources drove an increase in both the value and volume of resource trade. Recently the growth in resource trade has slowed, even declined in value terms. Although this is largely a result of slower global, particularly Chinese, economic growth, there are also hopes that it represents an increase in the decoupling of economic expansion from resource use. Despite volumes, and particularly prices, having fallen in recent years, natural resource trade volumes remain historically high and of great importance to the global economy, geopolitical relationships, and environmental and social sustainability.

See more at: 

Chatham House (2017), ‘resourcetrade.earth’, http://resourcetrade.earth/