Established in 1964, the International Trade Centre (ITC) is fully dedicated to supporting the internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing and transition economies. SMEs represent more than 90% of businesses in any country. They account for two thirds of private sector employment, and create the majority of new jobs. ITC enables SMEs to become more competitive and connect to regional and international markets for trade and investment, thus raising incomes and creating job opportunities.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development explicitly recognizes trade as a means to achieve the Global Goals: “International trade is an engine for inclusive economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction, and contributes to the promotion of sustainable development.” ITC directly contributes to 10 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. ITC places particular emphasis on inclusiveness and sustainability, working with women-owned SMEs as well as youth, the poor, displaced persons and marginalized communities. ITC prioritizes support to least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), small island developing states (SIDS), sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), post-conflict countries and small, vulnerable economies (SVEs).
ITC works with developing countries and economies in transition to achieve ‘trade impact for good.’ It provides trade and market intelligence, technical support and practical capacity-building to policymakers, the private sector and organizations that support business — termed trade and investment support institutions (TISIs). ITC delivers integrated solutions around a core set of six focus areas. These focus areas represent a coherent set of interventions with corresponding programmes that are adapted and customized into client-focused solutions.
Providing Trade and Market Intelligence
Access to trade and market intelligence is critical to international business success. The provision of innovative, cutting-edge market information to enable improved business decision-making has been at the heart of ITC’s mandate since its foundation in 1964.
ITC’s work in the area of trade and market intelligence is focused on:
ITC also provides thought leadership in trade promotion and trade information through its flagship publication SME Competitiveness Outlook, through its regular contributions to Aid for Trade at a Glance, and through ITC flagship events (World Export Development Forum, Trade Promotion Organisation Network World Conference and Awards, SheTrades Global, and Trade for Sustainable Development Forum).
Building a Conducive Business Environment
Policy and regulatory choices have a significant impact on SME competitiveness and play a crucial role in determining whether SMEs are able to link to value chains. ITC supports developing countries in fostering a business environment that is conducive to trade growth by facilitating the inclusion of the private sector perspective into the policymaking process. The agency assists in institutionalizing public-private dialogue in the formulation of trade strategy and policies at national and regional levels.
ITC helps developing countries and economies in transition build a more conducive business environment by:
Strengthening Trade and Investment Support Institutions (TISIs)
To deliver trade impact for good, ITC depends on a network of TISIs that are both beneficiaries of the agency’s work and implementing partners. TISIs are local, national and regional organizations that support businesses, such as trade and investment promotion organizations, chambers of commerce, sector associations, enterprise development agencies, supply chain management organizations, and others.
Improving the performance of TISIs to provide more relevant and effective services for improved SME competitiveness is a cornerstone of ITC’s mission. ITC’s approach to TISI strengthening is as follows:
• Through the Assess Improve Measure (AIM) for Results approach, assessing the organizational effectiveness of TISIs against industry practices and benchmarks, and helping to improve their managerial, operational, service delivery and business advocacy performance through comprehensive and customized multi-year performance improvement plans. Under this programme, ITC also focuses on helping TISIs to measure the results of their activities with a view to taking corrective actions.
Connecting to International Value Chains
Around 80% of world trade takes place within or in relation to value chains, and around 60% of world merchandise trade is in intermediate goods. Integration into value chains enables SMEs from developing countries to benefit from participation in global trade.
ITC renders SMEs more competitive through improving sector value chains and enhancing the ability of enterprises to meet market requirements and operate sustainably. Focusing on agro-processing, light manufacturing and services, including tourism, interventions improve the environment in which SMEs operate at each step of the supply chain, from market strategy through to managerial and organizational capabilities and building connections to international buyers. ITC takes a market-led approach to sector development, emphasizing diversification, improved linkages to higher value-added segments of global and regional value chains, promoting investment and ensuring the capacity of local institutions to provide relevant business support services. The solutions offered are modular in nature and customized to suit client needs. Main elements are:
E-solutions and e-platforms play an important role in expanding linkages to markets, and can also support other steps in the value chain.
Promoting and Mainstreaming Inclusive and Green Trade
Increased trade alone is not sufficient to improve livelihoods. The benefits of trade growth do not necessarily reach vulnerable groups such as women, young people or marginalized communities and excessive costs may be placed on the environment. ITC works with its clients to integrate sustainable development objectives into all its trade development programmes, while maintaining its focus on demand-led initiatives. The agency implements specific programmes focused on the economic empowerment of women, promotion of youth entrepreneurship and green trade, as well as the connection of poor communities to value chains. ITC also integrates environmental sustainability and gender objectives across its entire portfolio.
Supporting Regional Economic Integration and South-South Links
Emerging markets have played a leading role in recent global economic growth and are becoming increasingly important markets for intermediate and final goods from other developing countries. Their role as sources of foreign direct investment and technology is also on the rise. The past decade has also witnessed an increased pace of regional economic integration in all regions of the world, presenting new opportunities for companies in low-income countries.
In order to strengthen South-South business links, ITC works with emerging economies such as Brazil, China, India, Turkey and others to promote value-added trade, investment and technology transfer among these markets and other developing countries, including LDCs.
ITC helps contribute to stronger regional economic integration and South-South links through:
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only international organization dealing with the global rules on trade between nations. Its main objective is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly and predictably as possible.
It does this by:
The WTO trained more than 18,600 individuals in 2016 (mainly government officials of developing and LDC WTO Members), through around 270 technical cooperation activities held online, in its headquarters in Geneva or in the field. The WTO dedicates annually approximately one-third of its resources to technical assistance (TA), which became over the recent past one of the main pillars of the Multilateral Trading System.
An external evaluation of the WTO TA for 2010-15 conducted in 2016 found that, overall, the TA provided by the WTO had been effective in contributing to the development of beneficiaries' capacity to work with the multilateral trade rules and negotiations. The WTO was considered to be highly relevant to beneficiaries' needs. The evaluation found proof of the impact of the WTO TA on human and institutional capacities of beneficiaries in the field of trade policy making and strong evidence of impact on Members' more effective participation in the multilateral trading system.
Established in 1964, UNCTAD promotes the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy. UNCTAD has progressively evolved into an authoritative, knowledge-based institution whose work aims to help shape current policy debates and thinking on development, with a particular focus on ensuring that domestic policies and international action are mutually supportive in bringing about sustainable development.
As the focal point within the United Nations for the integrated treatment of trade and development and the interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment, and sustainable development, UNCTAD´s technical cooperation activities address these issues in a mutually complementary fashion.
The thrust of UNCTAD´s technical cooperation is capacity development in the four main areas of its work:
UNCTAD provides high-quality and evidence-based policy analysis that feeds international, regional and national policies. Based on such analysis, UNCTAD's technical assistance builds the capacities needed in developing countries and countries with economies in transition for equitable integration into the global economy and to improve the well-being of their populations.
UNCTAD overall technical assistance is presented in a comprehensive document titled "UNCTAD Toolbox Delivering Results" which include a detailed presentation of UNCTAD main products including UNCTAD TCB specific related Programmes.
For more information:
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is the specialized United Nations agency promoting sustainable, private sector-led industrial development in developing and transition economies with a special focus on least developed countries (LDCs) and sub-Saharan Africa. UNIDO helps countries to meet the challenge of sustainable industrial development through technical assistance and capacity building, so that they will be better equipped to compete in the global marketplace. UNIDO has sharpened its technical cooperation activities by focusing on three themes, which directly respond to international development priorities:
To improve standards of living through industries that are both internationally competitive and environmentally sustainable, the Organization has created a large portfolio of projects related to trade capacity building.
UNIDO’s activities and programmes in Trade Capacity Building enhance the capacity of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to participate in global trade and hence increase their economic growth. To effectively address the many factors underlying successful industrial exports and trade, UNIDO has adopted a holistic approach to trade capacity building structured around three key imperatives, the need to:
On the supply side, UNIDO supports enterprises in their efforts to offer competitive, safe, reliable, cost-effective and compliant products on the world markets, by improving manufacturing competitiveness and resourceuse efficiency, by upgrading existing enterprises, promoting technology management and diffusion, roadmapping and foresight, and by supporting the creation of clusters and export consortia. UNIDO provides such technical support services by building local capacity and through regional and national productivity centres, and sector-specific technology advisory centres. The activities are mainly targeted at strengthening institutional capacity through expert knowledge and best practices, training programmes, study tours, equipment supply, development of tools and methodologies, and undertaking pilot demonstration projects for replication. UNIDO also designs and implements national and regional commodity-based trade capacity building programmes, in cooperation with international partner agencies such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), International Trade Centre (ITC) and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
With respect to conformity issues, UNIDO assists developing countries, and also those that have recently acceded to WTO, or are in the accession process, to develop their conformity infrastructure that will allow the implementation of WT§O rules and agreements such as on technical barriers to trade (TBT) and on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. Since globally-recognized conformity assessment infrastructure and services are a pre-condition for effective trade participation, UNIDO develops capacities of standards bodies, metrology/calibration and testing laboratories, inspection bodies, enterprise system management certification bodies, accreditation services and traceability schemes.
UNIDO also supports the strengthening of business advisory services to better enable companies to comply with standards such as Food Safety, Corporate social Responsibility (CSR), Environmental Impact, etc. In terms of market connectivity, UNIDO supports enterprises and exporters to enter global supply chains, develop business and trade partnerships. Where needed, UNIDO secures other services from partner agencies.
In addition to developing national capacities, UNIDO has also been increasingly developing regional traderelated compliance infrastructure and services. UNIDO is building-up regional trade capacity infrastructure in the Andean community, Central America, East African Community, West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Mekong regions, with a main emphasis on harmonization of standards and technical regulations, and conformity assessment schemes and procedures within a regional quality infrastructure. UNIDO also supports the development of International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC)/International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Multilateral Recognition Agreements (MRAs).
The IDB Group is composed of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF). The IIC focuses on support for private sector businesses, while the MIF promotes private sector growth through grants and investments, with an emphasis on microenterprises.
Inter-American Investment Corporation: http://www.iic.int/home.asp
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) works to improve lives in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Through financial and technical support for countries working to reduce poverty and inequality, the Bank helps improve health and education, and advance infrastructure and regional integration. The aim is to achieve development in a sustainable, climate-friendly way. With a history dating back to 1959, today the Bank is the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). It provides loans, grants, and technical assistance; and conducts extensive applied development research. The IDB maintains a strong commitment to achieving measurable results and the highest standards of increased integrity, transparency, and accountability.
The Bank´s current focus areas include three development challenges: social inclusion and inequality, productivity and innovation, and economic integration – and three cross-cutting issues: gender equality and diversity, climate change and environmental sustainability; and institutional capacity and the rule of law.
In the area of capacity building in trade, the Bank, mainly through its Integration and Trade Sector (INT), performs research, provides policy advice and technical assistance, and carries out financial operations through grants and loans with the objective of strengthening the capacity of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
IDB operations in the areas of integration and trade help countries benefit from an open trade and investment regime and pursue proactive regional and global economic integration agendas. The operations provide support for negotiating and implementing trade and investment agreements, promoting exports and attracting investment, strengthening trade facilitation practices and customs modernization, building productive capacity for regional and global integration, ensuring appropriate adjustment measures to advance the process of economic integration, and deepening regional integration and cooperation through the provision of regional public goods.
As part of its research program in the areas of trade and integration, the IDB generates state-of-the-art research, and knowledge relevant to policy making; translates policy research into effective investments, policy reforms and capacity building mainly through assessed e-learning; evaluates the results and impacts of relevant projects and disseminates best practices; and develops specialized databases and modelling services for assessing the impact of trade and integration.
Specifically, INT provides financing through loans and non-reimbursable technical cooperation in the following areas:
INT also supports trade and integration initiatives to strengthen LAC sub-regional, regional, hemispheric, extra-regional (Europe and Asia), and global integration. This includes supporting regional infrastructure initiatives such as the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), and the Mesoamerican Integration and Development Project.
In 2016, the IDB merged the topics of two multidonor trust funds: the Aid for Trade Fund (AfT) and the Regional Infrastructure Integration Fund (RIIF) into the new Regional Integration Fund (RIF). The RIF covers challenging and emerging aspects of LAC’s regional and global integration agenda, i.e., implementing and taking advantage of trade agreements, reducing logistics and transport costs, and promoting productive integration while continuing to support intergovernmental platforms and emerging integration initiatives. The RIF has three main areas of intervention:
In coordination with the Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (INTAL), the Bank supports the Capacity Building Program on Integration and Trade, Trade and Integration Policy Research Networks (LAEBA, ELSNIT, RedINT) and key publications and databases (INTRADE; DATAINTAL; INTAL Newsletter; Integration and Trade Journal).
INTAL, a unit of the Integration and Trade Sector of the IDB, seeks to generate and disseminate knowledge on the benefits of integration processes, the trade dynamics of the region and the impact of new technologies on trade strategies. Every month, INTAL publishes the INTAL Connection , where it is shared the latest news on integration. The Integration & Trade Journal contains research carried out by world experts on topics that are key for the regional future. Together with Latinobarómetro , INTAL measure what Latin Americans think of the integration strategies of their Countries. With other initiatives, such as i+i Node , the joint training program with the WTO , and the contribution of publications such as the MERCOSUR Report the Trade Monitor , INTAL keeps the outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean updated. Moreover, since 2000 the INTAL is also the Secretariat of IIRSA Technical Coordination Committee (CCT), within the UNASUR, thus contributing to regional efforts towards a greater physical connectivity.
Institute for the Integration of Latin American and the Caribbean: www.iadb.org/intal
The IDB-INTAL/WTO training programs are for government officials, with the aim of deepening cooperation to provide technical assistance on trade negotiations and capacity-building to the region, taking into account the priorities of the countries in accordance with the Doha Development Agenda, with special emphasis on regional integration.
Training is provided by WTO experts with the participation of specialists from INT in areas such as trade in services, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards, Aid for Trade, WTO rules, trade and development, environment and climate change.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. FAO creates and shares critical information about food, agriculture and natural resources in the form of global public goods. Moreover, FAO plays a connector role, through identifying and working with different partners with established expertise and facilitating a dialogue between those who have the knowledge and those who need it. By turning knowledge into action, FAO links the field to national, regional and global initiatives in a mutually reinforcing cycle. By joining forces, FAO facilitates partnerships for food and nutrition security, agriculture and rural development between governments, development partners, civil society and the private sector.
FAO's activities comprise five main areas:
FAO supports countries’ effective engagement in the formulation of trade agreements that are conducive to improved food security by strengthening evidence on the implications of changes in trade policies, providing capacity development in the use of this evidence, and facilitating neutral dialogue away from the negotiating table. FAO also supports countries with regional trade integration, and preparing for trade negotiations and implementing agreements.
In support of the WTO negotiations on agriculture, FAO has strengthened its programme of technical assistance aimed at enhancing the capacity of Member States - especially developing countries and economies in transition - to participate effectively in the multilateral negotiations and to derive maximum benefit from global trade. FAO’s trade work dates back to well before the Uruguay Round of negotiations and addresses broader policy and market issues of relevance to agriculture, fisheries, and forestry. FAO’s approach is multidisciplinary in that it involves capacity building for trade, including analytical activities as well as operational field activities with a direct impact on supply-side capacities. Broadly, the TCB projects and programmes of the organization aim to:
The World Bank Group has set two goals for the world to achieve by 2030:
The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development. The World Bank Group comprises five institutions managed by their member countries.
Established in 1944, the World Bank Group is headquartered in Washington, D.C. We have more than 10,000 employees in more than 120 offices worldwide. The Bank Group provides low-interest loans, zero to low-interest credits, and grants to developing countries. These support a wide array of investments in such areas as education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture, and environmental and natural resource management. Some of our projects are cofinanced with governments, other multilateral institutions, commercial banks, export credit agencies, and private sector investors.
We also provide or facilitate financing through trust fund partnerships with bilateral and multilateral donors. Many partners have asked the Bank to help manage initiatives that address needs across a wide range of sectors and developing regions.
The Bank is the largest multilateral provider of Aid for Trade. It helps to make the world trading system more conducive to development and also contributes to shaping the growing agenda on regionalism and bilateral agreements, and to integrating trade into the growth strategies of developing countries. The Bank has been rapidly expanding its trade-related activities, which include operations, research and analysis, advocacy, training, and capacity building. Today, research work falls into various areas including poverty impacts of trade and adjustment policies; country competitiveness analyses; analysis of pro-active policies to enhance export supply response; analysis of national trade policies; WTO negotiations; and the design and impact of regional trade agreements.
Increasing trade is key to ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Evidence shows that countries open to international trade tend to grow faster and provide more opportunities to their populations. The World Bank Group helps its client countries improve their access to developed country markets and enhance their participation in the world economy. On the global stage, the WBG supports an open, rules-based, predictable, international trading system.
The trade policy agenda has evolved significantly since the early 1990s when trade liberalization was the focus of the debate. Now, countries world-wide have relatively low import tariffs, and new challenges have emerged. Non-tariff measures have increased sharply, sometimes because governments hope to protect domestic industries. Restrictiveness to trade in services and limited competition in services markets remains pervasive among developing countries, reducing the scope for integration in services. But globalization and technological change have brought new opportunities for developing countries to participate in trade, for example, through regional and global value chains, through trade in services and e-commerce.
Developing countries also face challenges from indirect factors that hinder their access to global markets, such as anti-competitive business practices, regulatory environments that are unfavorable to business growth and investment, or limited infrastructure capacity. These challenges are most intense in fragile, and conflict-affected states. Experts within the WBG’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice are working around the world to help the institution’s clients overcome the obstacles they face.
The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat is a vital interface between global policies in the economic, social, and environmental spheres and national action. The Department works in three main interlinked areas:
Through its capacity development activities, UNDESA assists countries at their request in global advocacy and in trade policy development as part of broader national development strategies. In so doing, it collaborates with the Regional Commissions and UNCTAD, particularly through the UN Development Account and its projects.
The typical impacts are an increased ability of policy-makers to exploit and expand the existing policy space they have in setting trade and other economic and social policies.