Best Business Web Sites: International Business

best of the best business web sites
Sponsored by the BRASS Education Committee

Monica Hagan
University of California, Los Angeles

For a resource guide about answering basic reference questions related to this topic, see the BRASS Core Resources for Business Reference web page on International Business.

International Business


BBC:  Country Profiles
Find background information and current news on individual countries and regions.  Also included are major media connections.  A unique feature is an audio link to each country’s national anthem.  Site is provided by the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC.

Eldis:  Country and Region Profiles
Organized by country profiles and regional profiles, and subdivided by topic (agriculture, finance, governance, trade, etc.).  Suitable for browsing or keyword searches.  Eldis offers quick links to country briefing services on other websites; Eldis Online has access to online documents by country; and, the Google Custom Websearch searches the full content of 4,000 pre-selected development-focused web sites related to your country or region.

Browse by Country to locate country profiles for the 30 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) member countries (USA, many EU countries, Japan, Mexico, etc.), which produce two-thirds of the world's goods and services and share principles of market economy.  Each profile is subdivided by:  Statistics, Publications & Documents, and Information by Topic.  Some publications require a subscription or online purchase; however, substantial material is freely available from this site.

Portals to the World
Basic country information from the Library of Congress, with annotated links to other web sites (can be in English or the official language of the country).  Choose by country or area arrangement, with the links for each sorted into a wide range of broad categories (besides the Business, Commerce, Economy listing, selected others include:  Culture, Geography & Environment, Media & Communications, Search Engines, and Society).

World Bank:  Countries and Regions
Select the “Countries” tab to browse by region or select a country.  Region and country information is subdivided by:  Data & Statistics, Publications & Reports, News & Events, etc.  Available from this World Bank site are development reports, global economics and trade data, country and regional information, current research projects, and information on international development loans and activities.

World Factbook
Published by the U. S. Central Intelligence Agency, this source contains country profiles with economic, social, and political information, arranged by country or location.  Included are maps and cultural information for international business.  A high-profile link from many resources guides.  Updated bi-weekly.


DataGov:  Governance Indicators Database
Provides publicly available governance indicators by country or by region.  It contains approximately 400 governance indicators grouped within five categories:  Democratic system, market system, public management, rule of law, and socioeconomic indicators.  These indicators are produced by 25 different sources (multilateral organizations, NGOs, private firms, and academic institutions) for a global sample of countries whose coverage depends on the source.  Exportable to Excel.

Web site of the Statistical Office of the European Communities, providing extensive statistical data and publications on EU countries.  Browse or search and download predefined data and tables focused on:  EU policy indicators; general and regional statistics; economy and finance; population and social conditions; industry, trade and services; agriculture and fisheries; external trade; transport; environment and energy; and, science and technology.  Provides PDF access to statistical compendia, including the complete Eurostat Yearbook.

International Trade Administration
An abundance of information for U. S. exporters on trade and industry statistics, market data, and export and import data and procedures.  There are links to ITA services and resources, such as Trade Stats Express (, comprised of National Trade Data (U. S. merchandise exports, imports, and trade balances, annual and quarterly data, 1989-present) and State Export Data (state and regional merchandise exports, annual and quarterly data, 1999-present).

Data and metadata on labor statistics for over 200 countries or territories.  Statistics are arranged by topic, country, or ILO publication.  Country annual statistical data are available from 1999-2008, and include economically active population by industry and occupation, total employment by occupation, unemployment by economic activity, hours of work by economic activity, wages in manufacturing, and much more.  Site is available in English, French, or Spanish, and is managed by the International Labour Office (ILO) Department of Statistics.

OECD Stat Extracts 
Easy access to data and metadata for OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and selected member countries, with four search methods.  Search by:  Keyword (with terms such as:  Education, Finance, GDP, Health, Income, Prices, Population, or Trade), Theme, Country (via selection of key indicators in latest annual, Country Statistical Profiles), or by accessing your saved queries under “Browse Queries.”  Export data to Excel or CSV formats, print your query, or save it for later use in this freely available database.

OFFSTATS:  Official Statistics on the Web 
This site, maintained at the University of Auckland Library since 1998, provides links to official organizations around the world that provide "freely and easily accessible" current statistical data (and some time series).  Arrangement is by country, region, and subject.  Statistical sources cover vital statistics, industries, trade, economics, labor, energy, tourism, health, crime, education, social indicators, and more.

Statistical Abstract of the United States 
Authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States.  For foreign country data, see Foreign Commerce and Aid (Section 28) for statistics on exports & imports, foreign aid, foreign investment, and international transactions; and, International Statistics (Section 30) for comparative international statistics by topic (agricultural production, economy, labor force, trade, vital statistics, and more).  Sources of data include Federal agencies (e.g., the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis) and private organizations.  Published since 1878.

Statistical Resources on the Web 
The University of Michigan’s government documents portal focused on statistical online sources, with annotated links.  Keyword search the sources or filter by sub-topic (Demographics, Finance & Banking, Foreign & International Economics, Foreign Government, Foreign Trade, Government Finances, etc.) for country or regional statistics.

UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD):  Main Publications   
Major reports on economic development, global finances, and investments, with statistical data and key information about countries worldwide.  From UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

UNdata:  A World of Information  
United Nations statistical databases (27 in all!) are accessible through a single entry point.  These databases, tables and glossaries contain over 60 million data points and a wide range of themes, such as Agriculture, Education, Employment, Energy, Environment, Health, Human Development, Industry, Information and Communication Technology, National Accounts, Population, Tourism, Trade, and Millennium Development Goals indicators.  Data may be downloaded in structured (XML) or value separated (colon, semicolon, or pipe) formats and/or printed.

World Inflation  
Develop a customized chart of world inflation at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland site.  Choose a Source (compare up to four countries or regions) and Frequency (monthly, quarterly, or yearly).  View the chart or download data, in Excel or Word format, for 1990-today. 


@Ratings:  Country Risk, Sectorial Risk
Provides country risk for nearly every country of the world and sectorial risk rating assessment for 14 sectors.  Most of these ratings are brief.  Updating is usually twice per year by Coface.  The online version of the source, The Handbook of Country Risk:  A Guide to International Business and Trade. 

Business Environment Snapshots
Designed as a one-stop guide to business environment indicators, laws, and World Bank Group project information for 183 countries.  Each country snapshot provides:  Reform priorities, global indicator rankings (regulatory quality to credit ratings), key data, business environmental laws, World Bank Group publications and reports, and the World Bank Group’s projects and strategy.

Business Planet 
Data are mapped from the four World Bank Group databases (Doing Business, Enterprise Surveys, Privatization Database, and Private Investment in Infrastructure Projects) to cover over 190 economies across issues.  This source addresses questions such as:  How easy it is to do business?, How often firms are expected to bribe tax inspectors?, and more.  Determined by indicator, economies are ranked and assigned one of three color codings indicating the high, middle, and lowest performing economies.  Maps can be filtered by topics, regions and countries, and a toolbar link allows sharing of information with colleagues.

Chamber Directory 
The official global chamber directory, with over 14,000 chambers representing more than 40 million member businesses and boards of trade worldwide.  Keyword search by typing in country name, industry, or product.  From the listed results, selections provide group’s description and activities, plus contact information and web page.

Country Insights
Country culture and business etiquette source, with a Canadian slant.  Select a country or a region, and then link to country facts or cultural information in a Q&A format.  From the Centre for Intercultural Learning, Foreign Affairs & International Trade Canada, the largest Canadian provider of cross-cultural and international training services. 

Doing Business 2010:  Reforming through Difficult Times
The seventh in a series of annual reports by Palgrave Macmillan, IFC, and the World Bank investigating regulations that enhance and constrain business activity.  Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 183 economies.  Data are current through June, 2009.  The 2010 report is 231 pages in pdf, available in English and Arabic; there is also a database profiling and ranking the 183 countries, plus country economic profiles and regional profiles (  Earlier annual reports are also available as downloads.

Embassy World
Comprehensive directory listing of contact resources for all diplomatic offices.  Separate indexes exist for:  Embassies and Consulates, arranged by nation; U. S. Embassies Worldwide, arranged by nation; and, UN Permanent Missions.  The directory is clearly laid out and fully cross-indexed, and is designed to search both host location and hosted embassy from dual query boxes.    Special Search Tools include items such as an international telephone directory; a global reference desk; and, maps of the world, including states and cities.

Europages: The European B2B Search Engine
Search this multilingual directory of 1.5 million companies in 35 European countries by company, product, or business sector.  Filter results by:  Country, activity, workforce, or subject heading.  A Google map of countries shows company locations above results.  Results can include company catalogs, with links to business services such as phone directories, package tracking, converters, bank holidays, calendar, newspapers, and online translators.

Industry Canada
An abundance of Canadian business and industry information from Canada’s Minister of Industry.  Categories include:  Programs and services (business startup, company directories, economic and market research/statistics, financing, infrastructure, regulations, and trade and investment), industrial sector, online forms, resources for business, and resources for consumers.  A well organized site, in English & French, with a bilingual search feature. 

LANIC:  Latin American Network Information Center
LANIC’s plentiful information portal allows for keyword searching or browsing by Latin American country or region.  Country subdivisions related to business:  Economy/Finance, General, Government, History, News/Newspapers, Organizations, Politics, Portals, and Travel/Tourism.  Maintained at the University of Texas at Austin since 1992.
Extensive resources for U. S. individuals and firms wishing to do business abroad, including trade and industry statistics, market data, and exporting and importing data and procedures.  Information is from the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the U. S. Department of Commerce.  Highlighted are ITA programs and services, such as Trade Stats Express (, with National Trade Data (U. S. merchandise exports, imports, and trade balances; annual and quarterly data, for 1989-present) and State Export Data (state and regional merchandise exports; annual and quarterly data, for 1999-present). 


The most comprehensive of international business portals is from the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) at Michigan State University.  It includes links with annotations for individual countries and international business topics (trade information, economic trends, etc.), original articles, and dynamic tables for country comparison.  It also includes foreign-language and fee-based services. 

Globus & National Trade Data Bank, in STAT®-USA™
Note:  Subscription required
The U. S. federal government's most complete collection of information sources for conducting international business is in the Globus and National Trade Data Bank (NTDB) segment of STAT®-USA™.  This includes Today’s Global Business Opportunity Leads, Country Commercial Guides, Market Research Reports, AgWorld Attaché Reports, World Factbook, UN Trade Leads, and U. S Trade Representative reports.  A service of the U. S. Department of Commerce.  STAT-USA has established an outstanding relationship with all Federal Depository Libraries (FDLs), enabling anyone who is physically in a FDL to use STAT-USA services in the library at no charge.

Last updated:  1/12/2010
List originally compiled by Glenda Neely, University of Louisville
List previously maintained by:
Adele Barsh, University of California, San Diego
Glenn McGuigan, Penn State Harrisburg
Sponsored by the BRASS Education Committee

Sponsored by the BRASS Education Committee