ITC Impact: trade and market intelligence

28 January 2015
ITC News
ITC’s market analysis tools help generate more than US$ 126m in exports

ITC’s suite of market intelligence tools contributed to US $126 million in exports in 2014, according to feedback from users. The tools, which are accessible online for free, are particularly instrumental to users in least developed countries, where local sources of trade intelligence are often unavailable.

‘The tools have opened my eyes to new markets I had never considered before,’ wrote an exporter from Morocco in a recent anonymous survey of users. The exporter uses the platform to obtain information on prices and competitors before making a decision to target specific markets.

The tools provide users with accessible data to help them identify market opportunities. Exporters can use them to gauge the size of potential markets and how fast demand has grown for particular goods and services; which countries supply those markets; which have gained or lost market share; and what tariff and non-tariff barriers they themselves would face compared with competitors based elsewhere. Exporters can also use the tools to identify potential importers and distributors for their products.

‘ITC’s market analysis tools are of great importance to us, as we are a country where there are major issues with the reliability of the statistics available,’ wrote an exporter from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the recent survey. The user added that with adequate support and training, even more exporters in the country would use the tools.

Market analysis improves TSI service delivery

Trade support institutions (TSIs) such as chambers of commerce and industry associations use the market analysis tools to create customized market intelligence for their members and clients. In a survey carried out at the end of 2014, 94% of TSI respondents reported that the tools had positive or very positive impact on the services they deliver. Of the TSIs who answered the survey, about a third came from Latin America and the Caribbean, just under a fifth each from Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, 10% from Eastern Europe and Central Asia and 9% from the Arab states.

Surendra Nath Gongal, Deputy Director of Nepal’s Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC), has delivered over 10 training courses in the last five years to groups of representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), chambers of commerce and business associations, both in Nepal and in the wider region. ‘The feedback is always very positive,’ Gongal said. ‘ITC’s tools help trade institutions provide timely and targeted trade-related advice to their private sector clients.’

For ITC, trainers at trade support institutions such as TEPC are invaluable, as they multiply the number of people who have access to the online tools.

‘Access to trade and market intelligence is critical to international business success,’ said Helen Lassen, who leads ITC’s capacity-building programmes in market analysis. ‘We need to find a way to bring this intelligence to exporters.’

Miguel Carrillo, Chief Executive Officer of the Colombian consulting firm Hamkke, first came across ITC’s market analysis tools during his university studies in the Republic of Korea, and he has used the online platform ever since. He advises companies, mostly SMEs, on business strategies and on ways they can benefit from trade agreements.

‘The market analysis tools help us to analyse potential markets for our clients and the production chains into which they could be inserted,’ Carrillo said.

ITC tools assist policymaking

Policymakers and government officials use the market analysis tools to monitor national trade performance and collect inputs for the preparation of policy decisions and trade negotiating positions. In the 2014 survey, 92% of policymakers surveyed reported that ITC’s tools helped them to make better-informed trade policy decisions. The policymakers were from across the world, with 28% from Latin America and the Caribbean, 20% each from Africa and the Asia-Pacific, 12% from Eastern Europe and Central America, and 11% from the Arab states.

‘The Agency has utilized data from ITC and the market analysis tools to provide input into Zambia’s trade negotiations in SADC, COMESA, the COMESA-EAC-SADC tripartite and WTO negotiations,’ said Jonathan Simwawa, Acting Director of Export Development at the Zambia Development Agency.

The Zambian government also uses the ITC market analysis tools to make a decision on whether requests for protection from domestic industries are justified, Simwawa said.