International trade statistics aren't exactly the most exciting things to look at ... or are they? The table of contents for the "2013 U.S. Import and Export Product Report" issued by Zepol, an Edina, Minn.-based provider of international trade data, market research, and trade compliance software, lists some intriguing topics: "Top products imported and exported"; "The latest and greatest: Fastest-growing products"; "From top-notch to dirt-cheap"; and our personal favorite, the cleverly written "We import THAT?!"
That last category includes such gross-out surprises as sewage sludge (gee, thanks, Canada) and live worms (all the way from Europe, no less).
The report is based on data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Census Bureau. The sample report is free with registration. While you're on the website, check out the company's blog, which is chock-full of interesting articles. Topics go well beyond trade data to include such current issues as customs data and its impact on privacy, and gems like "How many HTS (Harmonized Tariff System) codes are there?" (Answer: 18,986, but only 16,379 have been used in 2013, according to Zepol.)