International Trade Center (ITC)

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).

TCB-Related programme

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:

  • Providing trade and market intelligence in form of free, public information sources and databases;
  • Strengthening the skills of local partners in effectively using trade and market intelligence to make business decisions;
  • Working with local TISIs to improve their trade and market intelligence-related portfolio of services;
  • Developing new and innovative approaches to competitive intelligence; and
  • Facilitating evidence-based policy reform, with a focus on addressing non-tariff obstacles to trade in goods and services.

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:

  • Supporting policymakers, TISIs and the private sector to implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement;
  • Supporting public and private sector partners to lead the development of export strategies, and implementation management plans to make these strategies a reality; and
  • Facilitating the development of a stronger private sector voice in policymaking processes, including the WTO accession process.

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.

  • Providing customized services tailored to the individual TISIs’ circumstances, in order to better serve their exporting clients; and
  • Taking a holistic approach at the sector level, to improve the institutional infrastructure related to trade in a country or region. Typically, the methodology is to empower competent TISIs to address bottlenecks along a particular value chain for export competitiveness.

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:

  • Identifying market opportunities and fostering market linkages: Communicating with current and potential customers, identifying adequate distribution channels and modes of entry into foreign markets, identifying and closing sales opportunities, and developing partnerships with larger firms to become part of their supplier base.
  • Logistics and supply chain: Meeting customers’ product or service requirements through effective and efficient production management, operations, procurement, sourcing of materials, inventory management, as well as inbound, outbound and internal logistics.
  • Export marketing: Designing services with differentiated features through marketing, branding, innovative products/services, and packaging design.
  • Meeting technical/quality requirements: Complying with standards, technical regulations, and sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) measures, organizing after-sales services, and achieving internationally recognized certification.

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.

  • ITC’s Empowering Women to Trade Programme contributes to the economic empowerment of women by increasing the participation in trade of women-owned businesses from developing countries, raising the value of their international business transaction and diversifying market access.
  • ITC’s Poor Communities and Trade Programme aims to create sustainable income opportunities for poor, marginalized communities (including refugees and migrants). It helps micro-scale producers, collective and social enterprises to add value to goods and services, and trade through an inclusive business model that connects them with international buyers from fashion and agribusiness to tourism and business process outsourcing services.
  • The Youth and Trade Programme aims to enable young entrepreneurs to internationalize their businesses and increase income and employment opportunities. Through e-learning programmes, roadmaps for identifying constraints and opportunities, and accelerators offering a range of trade-facilitating services to youth-owned start-ups, the programme connects young entrepreneurs to international markets.
  • The Trade for Sustainable Development Programme aims to strengthen the competitiveness of developing country SMEs in green economy markets. Through capacity-building, trade intelligence, and market connections, it uses international demand to create incentives for better environmental practice while improving livelihoods in marginalized rural communities.

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:

  • Assist firms from lower-income countries to integrate into value chains led by emerging market enterprises.
  • Strengthening the institutional infrastructure for regional integration, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Connecting demand and supply between emerging markets and within a region; and
  • Exploring new modes of partnerships to enable growth markets to support trade development in other developing countries.

World Trade Organization (WTO)

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:

  • Administering trade agreements;
  • Acting as a forum for trade negotiations;
  • Settling trade disputes;
  • Reviewing national trade policies;
  • Ensuring coherence in policy-making; and
  • Providing technical assistance and training to developing countries and LDCs.

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.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

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:

  • International finance, globalization and development strategies;
  • International trade in goods and services and commodities;
  • Investment and enterprise development;
  • Technology and trade logistics

TCB-related programme

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:

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

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:

  • Poverty reduction through productive activities, by promoting industry, especially through small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in less developed areas, with a focus on employment creation, income generation and institutional capacity building.
  • Trade capacity building, by helping countries to develop production and trade-related capacities, including their capacity to meet the standards of international markets, and to develop the capacity to prove compliance with those market requirements.
  • Environment and energy, by promoting the green energy concept, in particular through fostering of resource efficiency, industrial energy efficiency and use of renewable sources of energy, particularly in rural areas, and supporting other activities for sustainable industrial development.

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.

TCB-related programme

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:

  • Compete: Developing competitive productive supply capacities;
  • Conform: Developing standards and conformity assessment infrastructure and services to prove compliance with market requirements in an internationally recognized manner;
  • Connect: Enhancing connectivity to markets.

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:

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.

TCB-related programme

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:

  • Export promotion and investment attraction;
  • Customs modernization and trade facilitation;
  • Negotiations and implementation of trade and investment agreements;
  • Regional public goods:
  • Trade adjustment and poverty reduction;
  • Financial and labor integration.

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:

  • Improvement and regional harmonization of legal procedural frameworks on infrastructure, trade, trade facilitation and security, logistics, trade security, energy interconnection, telecommunications and financial integration.
  • Systematic and results-based institutional capacity building for the implementation of free trade agreements (FTAs), adoption of policies and procedures for trade facilitation and security, especially in the framework of the WTO Trade Facilitation (“Bali”) Agreement, trade and investment promotion and country participation in regional or cross-border integration initiatives and value chains.
  • Increased mobilization and leveraging of resources committed to strategic integration and trade projects for LAC countries through Bank loan and grants with support from donors.

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:

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.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

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:

  • Putting information within reach and supporting the transition to sustainable agriculture. FAO serves as a knowledge network. We use the expertise of our staff - agronomists, foresters, fisheries and livestock specialists, nutritionists, social scientists, economists, statisticians and other professionals - to collect, analyze and disseminate data that aid development.
  • Strengthening political will and sharing policy expertise. FAO lends its years of experience to member countries in devising agricultural policy, supporting planning, drafting effective legislation and creating national strategies to achieve rural development and hunger alleviation goals. We advocate for the implementation of these policies and programmes, encouraging sufficient financial resources to be made available, the right organizational structures to be in place, and importantly, ensuring adequate human capacities to develop, implement and review policies.
  • Bolstering public-private collaboration to improve smallholder agriculture. As a neutral forum, FAO provides the setting where rich and poor nations can come together to build common understanding. We also engage the food industry and non-profit entities in providing support and services to farmers and facilitate greater public and private investments in strengthening the food sector. On any given day, dozens of policy-makers and experts from around the globe convene at headquarters or in our field offices to forge agreements on major food and agriculture issues.
  • Bringing knowledge to the field. FAO’s breadth of knowledge is put to the test in thousands of projects on the ground throughout the world. FAO mobilizes and manages millions of dollars provided by industrialized countries, development banks and other sources to make sure the projects achieve their goals. In crisis situations, we work side-by-side with the World Food Programme and other humanitarian agencies to protect rural livelihoods and help people rebuild their lives.
  • Supporting countries prevent and mitigate risks. FAO develops mechanisms to monitor and warn about multi-hazard risks and threats to agriculture, food, and nutrition. We are there to inform countries on successful risk reduction measures that they can include in all policies related to agriculture. When the need arises, we make sure disaster response plans are coordinated and implemented at all levels.

TCB-related programme

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:

  • Strengthen the supply-side capability of the agricultural sector, including fisheries and forestry, so that the sector is competitive and countries can take advantage of trade opportunities;
  • Ensure that trade and trade policies are conducive to overall economic development, agricultural development, and food security;
  • Promote, develop and reinforce policy and regulatory frameworks for food, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry;
  • Improve decision-making through the provision of information and analysis on trade policy and practices.

World Bank Group (WBG)

The World Bank Group has set two goals for the world to achieve by 2030:

  • End extreme poverty by decreasing the percentage of people living on less than $1.90 a day to no more than 3%; and
  • Promote shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40% for every country.

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.

TCB-related programme

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.

Trade-related lending

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.

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)

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:

  • It compiles, generates, and analyzes a wide range of economic, social, and environmental data and information which UN MSs draw on in order to review common problems and to take stock of policy options;
  • It facilitates the negotiations of MSs in many intergovernmental bodies on joint courses of action to address ongoing or emerging global challenges; and
  • It advises interested governments on the ways and means of translating policy frameworks developed in UN conferences and summits into programmes at the country level and, through technical assistance, helps build national capacities.

TCB-related programme

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.