ITC recognizes Spain’s trade promotion organization for innovation, overall performance

15 November 2016
ITC News
An ITC benchmarking assessment finds the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade excels in collaborating with sub-national trade promotion organizations and supporting young professionals.

Small and medium-sized enterprises in Spain are benefitting from having a top-performing trade and investment promotion organization, according to an assessment by the International Trade Centre (ITC).

The Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX) is being recognized for its innovation and overall institutional performance by the ITC benchmarking programme, which has assessed over 50 trade and investment support institutions around the world.

Assessment findings show that ICEX’s strength lies in its collaborative approach to coordinating its strategy and activities with sub-national trade promotion organizations. Details of this approach, including best practices, are featured in a case study in the ITC benchmarking platform library.

The case study provides more information on the processes and characteristics of the regional entities coordination system designed by ICEX, including the development and implementation of a framework to reduce duplicities and improve performance and services.

Empowering young professionals

ICEX is also recognized for its Young Professionals Programme, for which ICEX shared the top award in the developed countries category during the 2014 Trade Promotion Organization Network Awards. The three-year scholarship programme has been active since 1974 and is positioned as a leading programme for young professionals in Spain.

The programme works in this way: with the support of other national and international partners, ICEX selects young professionals to complete a master’s degree in international trade. The professionals then spend a year gathering experience at Spanish trade offices around the world, then spend an additional year with Spanish exporters or with international organizations.

ITC is participating in this scholarship programme by hosting Nuria Rull, a young Spanish scholar, in the Trade and Investment Support Institutions Strengthening team.

‘The ICEX scholarship has been an incredible opportunity, a three year journey that has allowed me to expand my technical knowledge, learn about new cultures and languages, and gain expertise in international trade and export development,’ said Rull. ‘Working in the section has been a highly enriching experience, especially because I had the opportunity to learn from such an excellent team of experts and to interact closely and on the field with trade institutions from all over the world. I was particularly impressed by the value created by each intervention of the team, and by how they led to the implementation of real changes by the beneficiary institutions.’

Francisco Javier Garzón, Executive Director of ICEX, said: ‘We want to congratulate ITC for the rigorous and accurate analysis of our organization. The recommendations included in the report will be without a doubt very useful to improve our processes and services in a crucial phase for ICEX.’

Garzón added: ‘It has been an extremely interesting and fruitful experience, and undoubtedly the results will be reflected in decisions to improve the scope and effectiveness of our organization."

To learn more about the ITC benchmarking programme, visit or email Benchmarking [at] (Benchmarking[at]intracen[dot]org).