Export Impact For Good – A Year of Steady Progress
The International Trade Centre launches annual report
The work of the International Trade Centre (ITC) in promoting international trade in 2009 was rated more important than ever by its members as they struggled to deal with the global financial crisis and adjust to new realities of climate change, food security and changing markets, according to the organization’s annual report, launched today.
ITC Executive Director Patricia R. Francis said in her introduction to the report: “As the world emerges from the recession, recovery is likely to be uneven and protracted, and countries’ ability to recover depends on the strength of their economies and their international competitiveness.”
She said that expansion of trade and exports needed to be embedded in national development strategies, and warned: “Improved market access through trade liberalization does not guarantee export success. Supply-side constraints prevent many developing countries from expanding their trade.”
The report details ITC’s strategy to promote international trade within the framework of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Aid for Trade agenda. ITC focuses in particular on building the capacity of small and medium-sized private sector enterprises to integrate with the world trading system and on improving the performance of the trade support institutions that support them.
It also works with policy-makers in developing countries, arguing the case for building export strategies on a foundation of public-private partnerships while developing a conducive business environment and facilitating access to global markets.
The report gives details of ITC’s finances, showing that total expenditure in 2009 amounted to US$ 67.5 million an increase from the previous year. It was composed of US$ 32.9 million from the regular budget provided by WTO and the United Nations (UN), and US$ 34.6 million in extra budgetary funding through voluntary contributions from a range of sources. The upward trend in expenditure was expected to continue in coming years.
The increase in funding has been matched by an increase in the delivery of services and a change in emphasis to larger, multi-country and multi-stakeholder programmes and projects, such as the Programme for Building African Capacity for Trade (PACT II) and the Enhancing Arab Capacity for Trade (EnACT).
At the same time, ITC is committed to giving top priority to the world’s poorest countries, its total extrabugetary expenditure was US$ 34.6 million, of that US$ 15.2 million was spent on least developed countries (LDCs), land-locked developing countries (LLDCs), small island developing states (SIDS) and sub-Saharan Africa.
The structure of the annual report has been refined in 2009 to give greater clarity on the status of projects within the planning and delivery cycle, and the link between programme delivery and the objectives of the Strategic Framework and Strategic Plan. Performance indicators quantify the organization’s success in delivering its programme against its three strategic objectives.
The report details the results of the 2009 ITC Client Survey, which generated a record 2,472 responses. The overall approval rating for the organization reached 56%, compared to 43% in 2008 and 38% in 2007. The services gaining the highest approval rating were ITC’s market-analysis tools, its capacity-building programmes in both market analysis and trade information and its work with countries on export strategies.
The report also describes a range of initiatives taken by the organization to upgrade its financial and human resource management, to develop its processes for monitoring the impact of its work and to improve its communications and information architecture.
Ms Francis said: “There is no doubt that the crisis has changed the way world trade operates and all countries need to adjust to the new realities. The trading world will not be the same again and our task is to support the poorest countries in coming to terms with the changed landscape”.
“We must provide them with the tools and the knowledge to ensure that they are able to seize the opportunities that arise as the recovery takes hold and world trade gathers momentum again. I believe we are now in a better position than ever to do so.”