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Country Guides Information--General

See also the guides for specific countries

Basic Sources

  • Background Notes 
  • Background Notes (prior to Jan 20, 2001)
    Provides information on geographic entities and international organizations. Information includes basic country profile, people and history, government and political conditions, economy, defense, foreign relations, and travel and business information.   From the U.S. Dept. of State.
  • Country Commercial Guides (prior to Jan 20, 2001)
    Presents information about countries' commercial environments. Information is provided on a country's economic trends and outlook, political environment, marketing U.S. products and services, leading sectors for U.S. exports and investments, trade regulations and standards, investment climate, and trade and project financing.    From the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.
  • Exporters' Encyclopaedia  Reference Table 6  HF 3011.E9 
    A comprehensive guide to exporting, containing information on markets, regulation, documents, communications, and many other aspects of exporting.  Provides key contact information, an overview of trade regulations, documentation requirements, foreign investment info, consumer protection, product standards, regulations & requirements, marketing info, labeling & packaging, intellectual property rights, and transportation information. 
  • Lexis-Nexis Country Profiles
    Detailed facts and statistics on a country's geography, population, economy, communications, and armed forces. Government and politics are described briefly, with some historical background.   Select Reference from the main menu, then Country Profiles and enter your
    country's name. 
  • World Factbook
    Gives a good general background of a country, including information on communications, defense, the economy, flags, maps, geography, the people, government, and transportation. 
  • Library of Congress Country Studies 
    The country studies page describes and analyzes political, economic, social, and national security systems and institutions of foreign countries. These  focus on historical setting, society and its environment, education and culture, economic policy and structure, government and politics and national security.  Scroll down to the bottom of the main page to browse the table of contents by country.  
  • Culturgrams  Reference Table 5A
    BYU's Culturgrams provide information on country cultures and customs for the international traveler. For each country there is a description of general attitudes, personal appearance, greetings, gestures, visiting customs, eating habits, lifestyle (family, dating and marriage, diet, recreation, holidays), as well as brief information on history, transportation, communication and health. 

Government Sites

  • The Electronic Embassy 
    Provides links to the Foreign Embassies of Washington D.C.   From there, select a country and find information on doing business in that country plus data on government, trade, unemployment, imports, exports, economic indicators, travel and more. 
  • Country Reports on Economic Policy and Trade Practices
  • Travel Warnings & Consular Information Sheets
  • U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service 
    Market Reports are also in the National Trade Data Bank at Stat-USA. 
    American attaches prepare reports on the market and distribution of agricultural and food products in foreign countries, the most comprehensive are General Market Overviews or Annual Marketing Plan Information Reports.   These overviews look at a country's potential for importing U.S. food products with a review of the macroeconomic situation and influence on customer-ready food products, trade restrictions and barriers, the consumer, U.S. market position, French competition, local market trends and opportunities, marketing strategies, distribution systems (wholesale, retail & hospitality), the domestic food processing sector and food safety. Other market reports cover the market for some specific products and import regulations for select countries. 
  • National Trade Data Bank
    Developed by the U.S. International Trade Administration to help promote U.S. exports.   The NTDB includes Country Commercial Guides, market research reports, and U.S. trade statistics. You can search the entire NTDB or just parts. Country Commercial Guides are usually displayed in about 12 sections; retrieve the table of contents to ensure you have the entire report. The Market Research Reports may include general economic information as well as product and industry reports.    See librarian for password. 
  • Political Handbook of the World  Reference JF 37 .P622
    Describes government and politics of each country: political background, constitution and government, foreign relations, political parties, legislature, cabinet and intergovernmental representation. 

International Organizations


  • Financial Times 
    The Financial Times periodically provides Country Briefs, Industry Briefs, Company Briefs, and surveys on Finance and Investment analyzing economic and market conditions.   Also available via Lexis-NexisChoose General News Topics - Major Newspapers.   Type country name, and in the Additional Terms area type publication(financial times) and section(survey) and headline(country name) 
  • Far Eastern Economic Review  HC1.F219
  • Lexis-Nexis
    The News section of Lexis contains World News, which includes both U.S. and international sources in English, and Non-English Language News, which provides access to news in Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian & German.

International Statistics

    Allows you to view and compare the most up-to-date statistical data for the Member States of the United Nations. You can select and compare up to seven countries. 
  • World Bank World Development Indicators  Reference HC59.8 .W68
  • UNESCO Statistical Yearbook  Reference Table 5B  AZ361.S7
    Detailed comparison tables on education, technology, culture and the media.
  • International Trade Statistics Yearbook  Reference Table 5B  HF91.Y42
  • Energy Statistics Yearbook   Reference HD9502.A1W622 
  • Government Finance Statistics Yearbook  Reference Table 5B   HJ101.G68
  • Bulletin of Labour Statistics  Reference Table 5B   HD4826.B7
  • Year-book of Labour Statistics  Reference Table 5B   HD4826.B74
    Employment by industry and occupation, wages, cost of labour, cpi, etc.


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Updated December 30, 2008 . Please send comments to Ed Hahn
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