Press releases

Switzerland to promote sustainable trade in Balkan States and Central Asia

1 diciembre 2022
ITC News

The International Trade Centre (joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations) and the Swiss Confederation acting through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) sign a CHF 5 million project to promote trade in Albania, Serbia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with a focus on agribusiness.

(Geneva, Switzerland) Small business exports in the agribusiness sector of Albania, Serbia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will get a global boost through a new joint project of the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Titled “Trade Promotion East: Balkans and Central Asia”, the project will focus on enhancing regional exchanges and help all four countries contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.

To create decent jobs and economic growth in the agribusiness sector, the project will focus on supporting small companies to make the low-carbon transition and tap emerging opportunities in digital trade. These efforts are designed to strengthen the economic resilience of small businesses, including those led by women and youth.

While ITC has been a partner to SECO in Central Asia since 1998, this is the first project to include regional exchanges with Balkan states.


‘Agribusiness forms the backbone of the economies of Albania, Serbia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Supporting small businesses to become more climate-resilient and digitally savvy will not only enhance the competitiveness of the sector, but by promoting exchanges between the countries, also improve food quality and food security for local populations. Thanks to SECO for trusting us to create trade impact for good and making a difference for those who need it most.’

Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre

‘SECO is very content to work with the trusted partners at ITC on this new project. It will benefit Switzerland’s partner countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The project will target two main groups of clients. It will work directly with small companies, while also helping local business support organizations to update and improve their services, thus reaching hundreds of companies. Importantly, the work will address sustainability and digitalization. It will be a priority to make companies greener – including by assisting them in moving towards low – carbon technologies and green trade – and increase their digital presence by linking them to global digital commerce opportunities.’

Martin Saladin, Head of Operations, Economic Development and Cooperation Division, SECO

About the International Trade Centre: The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries to become more competitive in global markets – thus contributing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit Follow ITC on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Flickr

About the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs: The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs takes on specific responsibility regarding economic and trade policy measures, within the framework of Swiss international cooperation. It promotes reliable economic framework conditions and innovative private-sector initiatives.

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Economic Cooperation and Development
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