EU funds for ITC tool help improve market-access transparency
The International Trade Centre’s (ITC) online market analysis tools will in 2013 continue to be free for users in developing and least developed countries, thanks to financial support from the European Commission. The €500,000 contribution from the European Commission will allow businesses and institutions in developing countries to continue to benchmark national trade performance and competitiveness, identify export markets and find international business partners.
“Making ITC’s market analysis tools free to developing countries is central to ITC’s aim of levelling the playing-field in international trade. Transparent and comparable information about markets and national trade performance helps companies, institutions and governments make better trade-policy decisions,” said Patricia Francis, ITC’s Executive Director. “But keeping the market data current is a substantial investment and it’s only with the financial support from donors like the European Commission that ITC can offer this critical service.”
ITC’s market analysis tools have more than 270,000 registered users worldwide – including exporters, importers, trade support institutions, governments and research institutions.
The suite of ITC tools includes Market Access Map, a comparative database of countries’ applied customs tariffs, including preferential rates arising out of free-trade agreements, rules of origin and trade remedies where applicable. Bound tariffs and trade negotiation simulation options are also available for trade negotiators. In 2013, users of Market Access Map will benefit from a new section on non-tariff market (NTM) access regulations. These include sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical measures, taxes and charges, licences and quotas. Currently, NTM data for 45 countries is available in Market Access Map, with additional countries added progressively.
ITC’s market analysis tools provide an important complement to market access information provided by other institutions. They have wide geographical coverage – including countries that are not members of the World Trade Organization – and they have information of particular relevance to the private sector, as around one-third of the users of ITC’s tools are exporting and importing companies.
In a 2012 survey, companies estimated the ITC tools to have helped them transact business valued at over US$ 68 million. A large majority – 92% – of institutional users also said that the tools had enabled them to improve the services that they deliver to their clients.
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