Press releases

New “trade tracker” for small island developing states to spot trends, make data-based decisions

29 May 2024
ITC News

(St. John's/Geneva) – Small island developing states (SIDS) now have a free online tool, the SIDS Trade Tracker, to follow trade trends and find new export markets, supporting efforts to achieve sustainable development through trade.

The tool, developed by the UN small business agency – the International Trade Centre (ITC) – was launched at the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States hosted by the United Nations, taking place from 27-30 May in Antigua and Barbuda.

Policymakers, for example, can use the tool to monitor trade development challenges of SIDS and design strategies to overcome them.

ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton said: “As they say, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. This is especially true for small island developing states, which tend to rely heavily on a handful of export sectors. By using the SIDS Trade Tracker, countries can see where exports are most concentrated and what specialization patterns are emerging, so they can diversify, craft targeted responses and build resilience against shocks.”

Journalists (and members of the trade and development community) are welcome to sign up for a free training on the SIDS Trade Tracker, on 3 June. Register here: SIDS Trade Tracker Webinar (

Tackling SIDS’ trade challenges

Small island developing states face distinct challenges that affect their development and participation in global trade. Geographically, these islands are often remote, leading to high transportation and infrastructure costs that hinder trade, and they are also vulnerable to natural disasters like hurricanes and rising sea levels. Economically, they tend to rely heavily on a narrow range of exports, exposing them to global market fluctuations. This vulnerability was evident during the pandemic when tourism destinations closed their borders for months, leading to a decline of nearly 70% in SIDS' travel exports.

Analysing trade data for SIDS is complex due to issues such as non-reporting, reporting delays and inaccuracies, making collating and interpreting data to spot trade trends a key challenge. The SIDS Trade Tracker addresses this gap by making accessible trade indicators on a wide range of topics, from recent trends to export concentration and SIDS-specific factors such as remoteness, tourism dependence and food import reliance.

Notes for the Editor

About ITC

The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

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Media contact

Susanna Pak
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
International Trade Centre
E: pak [at] (pak[at]intracen[dot]org)