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Box XXVI.5

The central role of electronic databases for data dissemination: the case of Brazil

The System of Analysis of Foreign Trade Information, AliceWeb2,a is the most important means of disseminatingBrazil’s foreign trade statistics. It was released in 2001 with the aim of modernizing the means of access to and the systematic dissemination of statistical data onBrazil’s exports and imports. In August 2011, the Secretariat of Foreign Trade in the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC/SECEX) updated the system, incorporating advances in information technology and the experience gained in the 10 years following its launch, and also adding additional variables and periods. Access is free after registration. There are currently over 200,000 registered users from 144 countries. The system is available in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

AliceWeb2 disseminates detailed information onBrazil’s international merchandise trade up to the eight-digit level of the Mercosur Common Nomenclature (NCM) by partner country and economic bloc, by State and municipality, port of loading and unloading, and mode of transport. It provides the trade balance by any of the variables on a monthly basis, and according to the desired periods. The system also enables the generation of files for download in Excel and ASCII format (txt structured) and allows automatic transmission to an email account. The data, which are updated monthly, are obtained from the Integrated Foreign Trade System (SISCOMEX), which managesBrazil’s foreign trade. Data are available as of January 1989 (there are about three terabytes of data), either by month or accumulated.

Trade information is expressed inUnited Statesdollars in terms of FOB (free on board) and net kilogram. When the search includes a commodity, quantity and average prices are also provided. The following information is available, both for exports and for imports:

  • Goods at all levels of the Harmonized System (two-,      four-, six- or eight-digit level of the NCM)
  • Countries of destination or origin
  • Economic blocks of destination or origin
  • MemberStateproducers and importers
  • Municipalities exporters and importers
  • Ports of loading and unloading
  • Mode of transport

Others system features are:

  • Auto-fill function in the search for commodity codes
  • Up to six concurrent periods of monthly and/or      accumulated data
  • Basket products: selection of several NCM,      simultaneously
  • General total: monthly series of one or more variables      combined
  • Trade Balance: monthly export and import trade by      variable
  • Auxiliary tables: all codes/names of the variables used      in the system

Further information is available by contacting

a See


26.31.    Dissemination of trade data to international, supranational and regional organizations. IMTS 2010 (para. 10.15) encourages countries to cooperate with the international, supranational and regional organizations in identifying and applying the most efficient means of dissemination of their trade statistics and related metadata. It is good practice in this regard to review the Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX)[1] format  format for possible use in the exchange and sharing of their data.[23]


[12] The SDMX technical standards and content-oriented guidelines can provide common formats and nomenclatures for exchange and sharing of statistical data and metadata using modern technology. The dissemination of national data and metadata using web technology and SDMX standards is encouraged as a means to reduce the international reporting burden and to increase the efficiency of the international data exchange. For additional information on SDMX, see

[23] See  See the recommendations contained in decision 39/112, adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission at its thirty-ninth session (Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 2008, Supplement No. 4 (E/2008/34),chap. I.B.