Here are examples of a few general printed sources to help get an idea of total trade flows between countries or commodity flows into or out of a single country, but not commodities from one specific country to another specific country. Sources for that sort of detailed data are described in the tight-hand column.
Coding: Several versions of Harmonized System and SITC
Years: Back as far as 1962.
See the help guide for instructions on using this product.
Pros: Can look at trade flows between any two countries. Several choices of commodity codes. Has quantity (weight or unit measure) data as well as value data. Can use anywhere on the web (will require NetID login when away from duke.edu addresses).
Cons: Only has data for member countries, so will lack Taiwan. Interface can be awkward.
International Trade by Commodities Statistics (ITCS)
Available through the OECD iLibrary database (ITCS link on left side of screen)
Coding: up to 10-digit Harmonised System (1988- ) or up to 5-digit SITC (1961-1988)
Years: 1961- , for most OECD countries
Produced by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).
Pros: Can get data at several levels of aggregation. There are reports for most industrialized countries, with any other country in the world listed as a trading partner. Taiwan is one of included trading partners (not included in most IGO data sources).
Cons: An OECD member nation or one of a few other nations (e.g., China) must be one of the country-to-country partners, so you can't get data where both trading partners are less developed countries.
U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) Trade Database
Coding: up to 10-digit Harmonized System; up to 5-digit SITC
Years: 1989 to present
Pros: On the web: can access it from anywhere. Can get very specific or aggregated data. Can get monthly, quarterly, or annual data. Can get value or quantity data. Can download the data in several popular formats to import into spreadsheets.
Cons: The USA must be one of the trading partners.
Coding and Years depend on the specific dataset, which are mostly provided as ASCII delimited files.
Scroll down to the section on "International Trade Data" for a variety of digital datasets (most related to U.S. trade), some with data back to 1958.