Norway signs MOU with ITC to provide USD 6 million funding support for its work
The Government of Norway is pleased to work with the International Trade Centre (ITC) because of its work to help boost the international competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The country’s Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization and the European Free Trade Association, Ambassador Harald Neple, said this at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in Geneva on 2 December 2014 for the contribution of 40 million kroner, equal to USD 6 million for ITC’s work for 2014 and 2015.
He commended ITC for its strong focus on the private sector and in delivering results in trade-related capacity-building.
‘Private sector development is a very important priority for the Norwegian government in its development policy as a driver for development, and an area which is gaining in importance,’ said Mr Neple. ‘It is crucial that opportunities are created so that people can work their way out of poverty. It is the private sector that drives the creation of productive capacity, jobs, incomes and increased welfare. Development assistance must contribute to business development and trade.’
Mr Neple said his government is committed to increasing trade between countries, and prioritises capacity-building, transfer of know-how and technical assistance to enable countries to manage their own resources.
‘The Norwegian government emphasizes industrial development, investment and economic growth in developing countries through a modern and diversified set of public agencies and instruments. ITC plays an important role in this work,’ added Mr Neple.
The signing of the MOU took place during ITC’s Open Doors and Innovation Day which was aimed at promoting its six focus areas of work.
Speaking at the launch of the event, Paraguay’s Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization and United Nations, Juan Esteban Aguirre, said this new programmatic outlook will bring in line all the specific efforts of the different units in ITC and related projects across the board to bring impact to ITC’s contributions to SME development.
‘I would like to emphasize the support given by ITC to developing and least developing countries to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement,’ said Mr Aguirre. ‘All of us in Geneva are witness to the outstanding job being done by ITC in this field. It was and has been a timely effort that provided a pragmatic context for us to continue pushing for a final and very recent resolution of the WTO agreement.’
Mr Aguirre also highlighted the role of ITC in pioneering the programme on Women and Trade.
‘ITC recognises that women’s participation in trade development is an inter-sectorial concern and that it should be considered at all levels of policy and decision-making, as well as in the operations phases of all and any initiative. All of these aspects make ITC a genuine provider of cutting-edge and innovative assistance to help boost the international competitiveness of developing and least developing countries,’ added Mr Aguirre.
ITC’s Executive Director Arancha González said ITC has been leveraging on information and communication technology to provide solutions to trade issues. She added that ITC is keen to team up with social enterprises to help realise ideas.