Standard International Trade Classification Essay

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The Standard International Trade Classification is a classification system maintained by the United Nations Statistics Division. The system is used to provide a standardized classification of imported and exported goods, in order to make it feasible to compare sets of import/export data regardless of country, and to have accurate data about international trade. Although Revision 4 of the classification was written in 2006, Revision 3 remains the standard in international usage. Both versions follow the same essential hierarchy, with each digit adding further detail: the first digit indicates the Section; the second, the Division; the third, the Group; the fourth, the Subgroup; and the fifth, the Item. Zero and two Roman numerals are used in order to create 12 sections with single digits.

The first two levels of the hierarchy begin with the following items:

0: Food and live animals

00: Live animals other than animals of division 03

01: Meat and meat preparations

02: Dairy products and birds’ eggs

03: Fish (not marine mammals), crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic invertebrates, and preparations there of

04: Cereals and cereal preparations

05: Vegetables and fruit

06: Sugars, sugar preparations and honey

07: Coffee, tea, cocoa, spices, and manufactures thereof

08: Feeding stuff for animals (not including unmilled cereals)

09: Miscellaneous edible products and preparations

1: Beverages and tobacco

11: Beverages

12: Tobacco and tobacco manufactures

2: Crude materials, inedible, except fuels

21: Hides, skins and furskins, raw

22: Oil-seeds and oleaginous fruits

23: Crude rubber (including synthetic and reclaimed)

24: Cork and wood

25: Pulp and waste paper

26: Textile fibres (other than wool tops and other combed wool) and their wastes (not manufactured into yarn or fabric)

27: Crude fertilizers, other than those of division 56, and crude minerals (excluding coal, petroleum and precious stones)

28: Metalliferous ores and metal scrap

29: Crude animal and vegetable materials, n.e.s.

3: Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials

32: Coal, coke and briquettes

33: Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials

34: Gas, natural and manufactured

35: Electric current

4: Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes

41: Animal oils and fats

42: Fixed vegetable fats and oils, crude, refined

or fractionated

43: Animal or vegetable fats and oils, processed; waxes of animal or vegetable origin; inedible mixtures or preparations of animal or vegetable fats or oils, n.e.s.

5: Chemicals and related products, n.e.s.

51: Organic chemicals

52: Inorganic chemicals

53: Dyeing, tanning and coloring materials

54: Medicinal and pharmaceutical products

55: Essential oils and resinoids and perfume materials; toilet, polishing and cleansing preparations

56: Fertilizers (other than those of group 272)

57: Plastics in primary forms

58: Plastics in non-primary forms

59: Chemical materials and products, n.e.s.

The first two levels continue with the categories of (6) Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material, (7) Machinery and transport equipment, (8) Miscellaneous manufactured articles, (9) Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere in the SITC, and the categories for gold, which are (I) Gold, monetary, and (II) Gold coin and current coin.


  1. United Nations Statistics Division, Standard International Trade Classification Revision 3 (United Nations, 2006).

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