ITC to further excel in its work on trade facilitation

11 June 2014
ITC News
Greater reach and impact in advancing competitiveness of SMEs

The International Trade Centre (ITC) aims to do more and better through constant innovation and the offering of tailored solutions in response to market demands, and the changing and growing needs of partners , said the organisation’s Executive Director Arancha González. She added that ITC’s technical assistance is demand-driven and focused on least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing states and Sub-Saharan Africa. Meanwhile ongoing efforts will continue on ITC’s support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries. This includes support for value chains within the regional integration agenda.

The Executive Director said ITC will strengthen collaboration with trade support institutions such as trade and investment promotion offices, chambers of commerce and sector-focused agencies with particular attention paid to women’s economic empowerment and youth employment. Ms González said ITC is a hands-on, pragmatic and technical organisation which focuses on providing solutions to SMEs.

In her address to the Joint Advisory Group meeting on 11 June 2014 held at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Ms González said ITC operates in the context of renewed multilateralism led by the adoption of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in Bali in December 2013 and the discourse on the post-2015 development agenda. She pointed out that SME competitiveness are very much at the heart of the debate as growth incubators of the future. The Executive Director stated that ITC works in line with the WTO’s focus on trade development through multilateral negotiations, and the United Nations’ efforts on poverty reduction and development by collaborating with the private sector on leveraging growth through trade and investment.

‘ITC has grown in reach and impact, yet we remain a relatively small, lean and compact organisation with a clear mandate and a dedicated focus to assist SMEs to enhance their international competitiveness. Focused and balanced growth is our proposed way forward,’ said Ms González. ‘Two major distinguishing characteristics of high-growth SMEs are their export orientation and innovation capabilities. We must work to help SMEs move up the value chain and internationalise.’

She stated that the independent evaluation of ITC’s work this year as it celebrates its 50th anniversary has been useful in helping the management and organisation to undertake internal assessment. Ms González said this serves as a useful platform to benchmark ITC’s expertise and to measure its improvements in the years ahead.