Trade Forum Features

Growth, innovation and inclusiveness

14 January 2013
ITC News

This autumn the International Trade Centre (ITC) has organized several events to ensure that growth, innovation and inclusion stay on top of the global trade and development agenda.

At the World Export Development Forum 2012 (WEDF), held in Jakarta on 15-17 October and hosted by the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia, we focused on the emergence of South-South trade between emerging and developing regions, which is no longer an aspiration, but a reality for many countries that have begun to diversify their exports towards other emerging growth markets. To maintain their growth trends, all developing countries and least developed countries need to do the same. However, sustainable growth of South-South trade will require investments in new capabilities, trade facilitation measures, infrastructure and trade finance. Each of these topics was discussed at WEDF.

In Kuala Lumpur on 18-19 October, we held the ninth TPO Network World Conference and Awards in partnership with the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation. We discussed the innovative measures that trade promotion organizations need to consider in order to respond to changes in the economic and trade environment and to continue to support their clients. The importance and challenge of impact measurement was one of the themes discussed.

Finally, in Mexico City we hosted on 5-7 November – in partnership with ProMéxico, Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and WEConnect International – the fourth Senior Executive Roundtable on Sourcing from Women Vendors, as well as the Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum 2012. Both events, held as part of the Global Platform for Sourcing from Women Vendors, centred on inclusiveness, with a particular focus on increasing public and private procurement from women vendors, and with the aim of bringing more women-owned businesses into global value chains.

While we have given a distinctive theme to each of these global events, it is clear to us that the three themes of growth, innovation and inclusiveness are intertwined and dependant on each other. For small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to contribute to national, regional and global growth, they need to join value chains, a challenge that will require access to targeted trade support services. SMEs, along with larger companies, must in turn do their part to ensure the inclusiveness of women and the disadvantaged so that they can position themselves better to achieve sustainable business outcomes.

This is summed up by Gita Irawan Wirjawan, Indonesia’s Minister of Trade, on pages 6-7: 'At the heart of the discussion is the need to recalibrate global trade, find new ways to integrate growth markets more tightly in regional and global trade, drive improvements in competitiveness and connectivity, and distribute the benefits of closer integration fairly.'

This issue of International Trade Forum is dedicated to the themes of ITC’s global events in 2012. By inviting participants in our events and others to write and expand on why South-South trade, innovation and inclusiveness are crucial to global growth, we aim to provide our readers with the chance to be part of the wider and continued discussion, and to ensure that these goals are achieved in developing as well as developed economies.