Answered By: Sarah Morehouse
Last Updated: Apr 16, 2015     Views: 18

There are three kinds of country information that you may be interested in:

  1. economic information about doing business in a country
  2. tax and legal information relevant to doing business in a country
  3. cultural information about doing business in a country

We'll address them separately.

But first, I should mention that in addition to searching for data and reports in these mostly government web sites, you can also search for Newspaper Articles in our database Regional Business News or in the Wall Street Journal. Or you could search for articles in business magazines such as ForbesThe Economist, and Fortune. Or you could search for Journal Articles in databases like Business Source Complete and ProQuest Research Library.

Here is some information about how to keyword search: http://subjectguides.esc.edu/researchskillstutorial/conceptchart and http://subjectguides.esc.edu/researchskillstutorial/boolean.

You may just want to try "afghanistan" AND ("doing business" OR "business conditions") to begin with. 

 

Country Profiles

CIA World Factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/) has country profiles that talk about geography, communication networks, and transportation as well as economic and demographic information.

UN Data: Country Profiles (http://data.un.org/CountryProfile.aspx)

Economic information

Industries and Economic Indicators

GlobalEdge (http://globaledge.msu.edu) will help you answer questions about economic trends and trade information. You can research by country or one of 11 major trading blocks (EU, NAFTA, APEC, etc.) You can also research by industry. You can rank countries based on economic indicators, compare countries based on exports, GDP, or other indicators, and use their "Diagnostic Tool" to help you evaluate a business decision.

World Bank Data (http://data.worldbank.org) provides data sets on cultural, demographic, economic, environmental, and health data since 1960. 

UNData (http://data.un.org) provides statistics about economic data that are grouped so you can search them by keyword. You can also go to any country's own data service.

OFFSTATS (http://www.offstats.auckland.ac.nz) is another way to get to any country's official source of data and statistics.

Demographics, population, etc. 

World Bank Data (http://data.worldbank.org) provides data sets on cultural, demographic, economic, environmental, and health data since 1960. 

UNData (http://data.un.org) provides statistics about economic data that are grouped so you can search them by keyword. You can also go to any country's own data service.

OFFSTATS (http://www.offstats.auckland.ac.nz) is another way to get to any country's official source of data and statistics.

Population Reference Bureau (http://www.prb.org/DataFinder.aspx) lets you create custom reports on different companies based on multiple different indicators. 

International Businesses

Check out the Fortune Global 500 (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/) a directory of the world's largest companies and the countries in which they're headquartered. 

HSBC Global Connections (https://globalconnections.hsbc.com/us/en) - formerly known as Business Without Borders - offers information on different industries and business environments for businesses that want to expand internationally. 

Imports and Exports

US International Trade Commission for Import Data (http://dataweb.usitc.gov) has import and export data. In order to search, you need to know the tariff code for your product. Here's where you look that up: http://hts.usitc.gov/

Trade Stats Express for Export and Import Data (http://tse.export.gov) has quick import and export data, but it's not as detailed as the US ITC data.

Foreign Relations, Security, and Conflict

State Department Country Background Notes (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/) check out the US Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets and the Country Commercial Guides.

Developing Countries

World Bank Development Indicators (http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/world-development-indicators) statistical tables on energy, the environment, the economy, etc. for developing nations. Updated annually. 

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (http://www.oecd.org) has trade data and macroeconomic data by country. Not all of their resources are free. 

International Monetary Fund (IMF) (http://www.imf.org) has financial and economic data by country. Not all of their resources are free. 

World Bank E-Library (http://elibrary.worldbank.org) has annual Global Financial Development Reports and other reports that talk about risk and opportunity for business in different countries.

Infrastructure and Energy

CIA World Factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/) has country profiles that talk about geography, communication networks, and transportation as well as economic and demographic information.

World Bank Data: Infrastructure (http://data.worldbank.org/topic/infrastructure) look up indicators and see them mapped, such as internet users, number of air carriers, number of mobile phone users, electrical power consumption, etc. 

World Bank Transport Data and Indicators (http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTTRANSPORT/0,,contentMDK:21762317~menuPK:337135~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:337116,00.html) a number of databases having to do with transportation and logistics. 

International Energy Agency: Statistics - (http://www.iea.org/statistics/) country by country statistics on production and consumption of energy - oil, natural gas, coal, renewables, etc. Also carbon emissions. 

Law and Taxes

World Bank Doing Business Law Library (http://www.doingbusiness.org/law-library) allows you to search the law codes of all different countries. You can narrow it down by type of law (labor, tax, environmental, criminal, etc.)

HSBC Global Connections (https://globalconnections.hsbc.com/us/en) - formerly known as Business Without Borders - offers information on different industries and business environments for businesses that want to expand internationally. 

Etiquette, customs, protocol, and cultural information

Center for Intercultural Learning: Country Insights (http://www.intercultures.ca/cil-cai/countryinsights-apercuspays-eng.asp) has information on etiquette, communication styles, how to dress, how important is punctuality, managerial style, appropriate display of emotion, conflict management, etc. in different countries. 

Kwintessential (http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/etiquette/) is a UK translation company that provides concise guides to etiquette and cultural norms in different countries.

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