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Data: China-Africa Trade

China-africa trade

SOURCE: UN COMTRADE 2015  (Click to enlarge)

To access China-Africa annual trade data, country by country, for 1992-2015, click here.


CARI has combined and reconciled the trade data from China Statistical Yearbook (CSY) and China Customs to provide an easy to use dataset. All figures are reported in millions of US$, with the most recent data from China Customs and earlier data from CSY. The data is available for download in Excel format.

While Comtrade and Chinese government sources do not report the exact same trade figures, the two sources are very close. A comparison between UN Comtrade and Chinese government data can be found in our trade data set as well. We also included Chinese trade with the world and U.S. trade with Africa and the world for users’ convenience.  CARI only provides data as reported by the Chinese government in order to maintain consistency. Trade reports from African governments are less consistent in both their frequency and reporting standards.

China-Africa Trade Data: Sources

China Customs and China Statistical Yearbooks

The General Administration of Customs of the PRC compiles and reports quarterly and annual bilateral trade statistics on their website at The Customs is the first to report the most updated trade data, and usually does so in both English and Chinese. However, there are several caveats to using their data. First of all, while the figures reported are denominated in US$, they are either in ten thousands of US$ or hundreds of thousands of US$ (wan or yi), instead of the more familiar millions. Secondly, the reports are only available in PDF instead of data-friendly formats such as comma separated values file. Finally, the China Customs’ data only goes back 3 years.

China Statistical Yearbook (CSY) is another source of trade data. CSY receives their information from the China Customs, and their records go back further. Since it is published annually, there is a one year lag in their data, and their data cannot be retroactively updated. Though most of their files are available for download in Excel, the formats of the datasets vary from year to year, including the order of countries.

U.N. Comtrade

U.N. Comtrade’s trade data are based on reports made by individual countries or downloaded by Comtrade from official sources. Comtrade data closely matches that of China Statistical Yearbooks and China Customs.  Comtrade data is continuously updated.