International Trade Centre

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International Trade Centre
International Trade Centre logo.png
Abbreviation ITC
CCI
Established 1964
Type Subsidiary organization
Legal status Active
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Official languages
English, French, Spanish
Executive Director
Arancha Gonzalez
Parent organization
World Trade Organization, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Website www.intracen.org

The International Trade Centre (ITC) (French: Centre du commerce international (CCI)) is a multilateral agency which has a joint mandate with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN) through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Through its work, the ITC contributes directly to 10 of the Sustainable Development Goals, these include SDG 1 (no poverty), Goal 2 (zero hunger), Goal 4 (Quality Education), Goal 5 (Gender Equality), Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), Gaol 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure), Goal 10 (Reduced Inequalities), Goal 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption), Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and strong institutions), and Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

The headquarters of the ITC are situated in Geneva, Switzerland, their staff consists of approximately 300 employees spanning more than 80 nationalities. Furthermore, ITC has country-based project offices where they employ experts from the specific region.

History[edit]

ITC is the successor of the International Trade Information Centre, which the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) established in 1964 “for the purpose of assisting the export promotion efforts of the developing countries” by providing them “with information on export markets and marketing, and to help them develop their export promotion services and train the personnel needed for these services.”[1] In an effort to streamline the United Nation's export promotion efforts, an agreement was reached between the GATT, which at that time and in contrast to its successor, the WTO, was part of the United Nations system, and the newly established UNCTAD, to merge the activities of the two organizations by creating a joint subsidiary. The agreement was reached in 1967 and the International Trade Centre (the explicit reference to "information" was dropped) was officially established on 1 January 1968.[2]

Role within the UN[edit]

The ITC enjoys a joint mandate with the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as with the United Nations (UN) through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Within this framework, ITC is the focal point for trade related technical assistance.[3]

Programmes[edit]

The ITC is involved in projects providing trade technical assistance in countries all over the world.

Advancing Afghan Trade[edit]

Launched in 2016 following Afghanistan’s accession to the WTO under the name “Afghanistan: Trade for Economic Growth & Regional Cooperation”, is an initiative undertaken by the European Union (EU) and the ITC that uses trade as a mean to create economic growth and jobs, to reduce poverty and to enhance regional cooperation. The goal of this project is to prepare Afghan enterprises to compete in regional and global markets by helping to provide a business-friendly environment and increasing Afghanistan’s trade capacities, the programme consists of a three-year plan (2016-2019) and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is involved in its implementation. It is funded by the EU and has a budget of 4.5 million Euros.[4]

Ethical Fashion Initiative[edit]

The Ethical Fashion Initiative focuses on the specific skills of artisans and brings them to known fashion brands such as Stella McCartney, Marni, Vivienne Westwood, Edun and Camper. This synergy helps artisans from developing countries such as Kenya, Burkina Faso and Haiti to gain a living while it exposes the designers to unique skills and handmade goods. The initiative also involves mentorship programmes for aspiring African designers as well as collaborations on the continent.[5]

Market analysis tools[edit]

ITC developed several free-of-charge online market analysis tools such as the Export Potential Map[6], Investment Map[7], Market Access Map[8], Procurement Map[9], Standard Map[10] andTrade Map[11].

EuroMed Trade and Investment Facilitation Mechanism[edit]

The EuroMed Trade and Investment Facilitation Mechanism comprises a free-of-charge online portal for country and product-specific information on tariffs and duties, import and export procedures, and market requirements. There are regular updates of the information thanks to a network of national focal points in each participating Mediterranean country, the EuroMed Helpdesk is available in English, French, Arabic, and Turkish.

The goal is to boost economic integration because due partly to a lack of availability and transparency of trade-related information, EuroMed countries don’t engage a lot in intra-regional trade.

The project is funded by the European Union (EU). ITC is in charge of the implementation of the EuroMed Trade and Investment Facilition Mechanism.[12]

EU-Sri Lanka Trade-Related Assistance[edit]

The EU-Sri Lanka Trade-Related Assistance project aims to increase the trade competitiveness of Sri Lankan Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) in regional and European Union (EU) markets.

The project has a duration of four years and is worth 8 million euros, it is funded by the European Union (EU). It supports SME export competitiveness and value addition in various sectors such as spices, food and Information Technology.[13]

The project addresses compliance standards and efficiencies in cross border procedures, which are key constraints to market access, especially for SMEs.[14]

Gambia Youth Empowerment Project YEP[edit]

The Gambia Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) aims at the enhancement of the skills and employability of potential and returning migrants. ITC supports youth employment and entrepreneurship through vocational trainings and partnerships with domestic and international skills development institutions and the private sector.[15]

Netherlands Trust Fund – Phase III (NTF III)[edit]

The Netherlands Trust Fund III (NTF III) - Export Sector Competitiveness Programme started in 2013 as successor following NTF I and NTF II, it is based on a partnership agreement between the Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) affiliated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the ITC. The aim of the programme is to strengthen the export competitiveness of IT services in Bangladesh, Kenya and Uganda[16], as well as the tourism sector in Myanmar[17], the avocado producers in Kenya, and coffee plantations in Uganda.[18]

Non-tariff measures[edit]

The Non-tariff measures programme provides an interactive platform that fosters transparency and understanding of the obstacles that non-tariff measures pose to international trade by limiting exports and imports through compliance to specific requirements.

The programme is a multi-agency initiative that helps countries to find solutions that take their respective specific needs into account, the Non-tariff measures programme is in close collaboration with national and regional stakeholders.[19]

Promoting Intra-regional Trade[edit]

The Promoting Intra-regional Trade programme launched in 2013 focuses increasing the export competitiveness of honey, mango and spice producing SMEs in Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania[20] and Zambia. It is a three year programme that is implemented by the ITC in collaboration with lead organizations in each country.

The Government of Finland finances the Promoting Intra-regional Trade Programme.[21]

Trade and environment[edit]

The certified natural resource based product market helps to reduce poverty and is good for the environment. However, standards and regulations as well as a lack of information and contact pose important obstacles for many entrepreneurs in developing countries to enter this market, the international regulatory framework poses further constraints on this trade. The ITC through its Trade and Environment Programme tries mitigate these constraints and to increase the capacity of SMEs to be competitive in this market.[22]

Women and Trade[edit]

The Women and Trade Programme is an initiative aiming at connecting 1 million women entrepreneurs to trade by 2020, this initiative thereby contributes directly to the SDG number 5 by empowering women.[23]

SheTrades[edit]

Within the Women and Trade context, the SheTrades initiative, which is a flagship program of the ITC, takes a preeminent place offering women entrepreneurs an online platform to connect to markets, the app allows female entrepreneurs to share information about their companies thereby increasing their visibility and enabling them to connect and internationalize. This helps to include more women entrepreneurs in the supply chains of corporations.

The platform was developed through a competition of suggestions for the platform, the winner, Greenbell Communications of Kenya, was able to team up with Google and CI&T to further develop his suggestion. The end product, the SheTrades platform, was launched in 2015 at the International Women in Business Forum in Nairobi, since its launch, a growing number of organizations have already signed on to the platform to verify women entrepreneurs that are members of their networks.[24]

Youth and Trade Programme[edit]

The Youth and Trade Programme focuses on providing a strong environment in which young entrepreneurs can evolve and receive assistance when needed, this helps them to grow and internationalize while at the same time providing income opportunities thereby helping the economy grow.

The programme contributes directly to the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Skills for entrepreneurship) as well as goal 8 (decent work and inclusive growth).[25][26]

Programmes[edit]

Export Potential Map[edit]

The Export Potential map is an online tool allowing businesses and countries to identify what goods and services to export and to where, the idea is that through the precise economic analysis provided by the Export Potential Map, companies can target new markets and policymakers can optimize their policies and support programmes for their exporters.

The Export Potential Map covers information about 222 countries and territories.[27]

Investment Map[edit]

The Investment Map is designed to help investment promotion agencies (IPAs) in defining priority sectors for investment promotion, identifying potential investors in a given sector, identifying competitor countries for inward investment, and defining opportunities for bilateral investment, it holds a vast amount of information and statistics on foreign direct investment and international trade, tariff data and activities of multinational firms and allows an analysis by country, trading partner and sector.

The Investment Map was developed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and ITC in partnership with the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which is part of the World Bank Group.[28]

Market Access Map[edit]

The Market Access Map assembles information on custom tariffs as well as tariff rate quotas, trade remedies, rules and certificates of origin, non-tariff measures and trade flows, this kind of information is crucial to help users to identify export markets.[29]

Procurement Map[edit]

The Procurement Map was designed by the ITC in order to boost entrepreneurship and market opportunities by offering users detailed information over 150 000 public tenders, the map allows to undertake a search by country or economic sector. This allows to identify potential buyers.[30]

Standard Map[edit]

The Standard Map provides verified and transparent information on more than 200 voluntary sustainability standards and other similar initiatives covering issues ranging from food quality to safety, this allows producers, manufacturers, brands, retailers, researchers and policymakers to identify standards relevant for their own businesses, to compare them and save and share their sustainability diagnostic report with actors along the value chain via the Sustainability Network.[31]

Trade Map[edit]

The Trade Map developed by the ITC offers strategic market research with detailed statistical information on international trade flows helps them gauge the competitiveness of national and sectoral trade performance and identify priority products and markets for trade development for both firms and trade support institutions.[32]

Events[edit]

SheTrades Global[edit]

SheTrades Global is a two-day annual conference, the first forum took place in 2011 and until 2018 the conference was called Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum.[33]

Trade for Sustainable Development Forum (T4SD)[edit]

The Trade for Sustainable Development Forum (T4SD) is an annual leading global event organized by the ITC.

T4SD connects communities in policy and business, trade and sustainability, while challenging thought leaders to bridge the gap between debates on sustainability standards, supply chains, and international trade to work towards achieving the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs).[34]

Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) World Conference and Network[edit]

Created in 1996 with the intention to offer a platform to facilitate the dynamic exchange of information, good practices, experiences and collaboration about offering export-oriented services among Trade Promotion Organizations (TPOs), the Trade Promotion Organization Network provides a platform where individual organizations may benefit from the synergies of TPOs working together in order to achieve continual and mutual improvement through online and offline forums.

The TPO Network World Conference takes place every two years and is open to all trade support institutions mandated to provide trade related technical support services.

During the conference, TPO Network Awards are awarded to leading national trade promotion organisations mandated by their governments to promote the export promotion strategy of their countries. TPOs participate in the TPO Network Awards in categories defined according to the economic development status of the countries where their national headquarters are located.[35]

The World Export Development Forum (WEDF)[edit]

The World Export Development Forum (WEDF) is an annual global platform with the goal to develop SMEs, the first conference was held in 1999. The event is attended by more than 600 senior national and international policymakers, heads of trade support organizations, business leaders and representatives of international agencies.

WEDF comprises high-level plenaries, workshops and facilitated business-to-business meetings enabling participants to increase their practical knowledge in the latest innovations, processes and policies while expanding their networks.[36]

Partner Events[edit]

ITC, with its goal to support SMEs and their development impact in international trade, collaborates with its partner organizations, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), for events in order to achieve its aim. Examples for this partnership include amongst others the WTO Public Forum and Aid for Trade conference.

Executive Directors[edit]

ITC had since its creation in 1964 six Executive Directors. Twice in its history the position was vacant: in the early Seventies and the early Nineties.[37]

ITC's Executive Director is a senior international civil servant of the United Nations with the level of Assistant Secretary-General.[38] ITC's Executive Director as well as the Deputy-Executive Director are appointed by the heads of its two parent organizations: the Director-General of the WTO and the Secretary-General of the UNCTAD.[39]

Name Start of tenure End of tenure Nationality
Herbert L. Jacobson 1964 1971 USA
vacant 1971 1975 -
Victor E. Santiapillai 1975 1979 Sri Lanka
Padinjarethalakal Cherian Alexander 1979 1981 India
Goran Engblom 1981 1992 Sweden
vacant 1992 1994 -
J. Denis Bélisle 1994 2006 Canada
Patricia Francis 2006 2013 Jamaica
Arancha Gonzalez 2013 Spain

Funding[edit]

The work of the ITC is financed by contributions from the private sector as well as resources provided by beneficiary countries and international organizations.[40]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ GATT (1967), “Joint GATT/UNCTAD Trade Centre: Note by the Director-General”, L/2890 (6 Nov 1967), page 7
  2. ^ See General Assembly Resolution 2297, document symbol A/RES/2297(XXII).
  3. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Our role in the UN and WTO. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/itc/about/how-itc-works/our-role-in-the-un-and-wto/
  4. ^ http://www.intracen.org/news/ITC-and-EU-launch-initiative-to-boost-trade-and-economic-growth-in-Afghanistan/
  5. ^ http://ethicalfashioninitiative.org/impact-results/#what-does-rise-stand-for
  6. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Home | Export Potential Map. Exportpotential.intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://exportpotential.intracen.org/
  7. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Foreign investment opportunities, FDI statistics, company data, trade and tariff data. Investmentmap.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.investmentmap.org/
  8. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Foreign investment opportunities, FDI statistics, company data, trade and tariff data. Investmentmap.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.investmentmap.org/
  9. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Procurement Map - Home. Procurementmap.intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://procurementmap.intracen.org/
  10. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Standardsmap.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.standardsmap.org/
  11. ^ (ITC), I. (2017). Trade Map - Trade statistics for international business development. Trademap.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.trademap.org/Index.aspx
  12. ^ http://euromed.macmap.org/euromed
  13. ^ ITC, I. (2017). SheTrades Global. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/shetradesglobal/
  14. ^ https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/14610/european-union-and-united-nations-launch-project-support-trade-sri-lanka_en
  15. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Trade for Sustainable Development Forum 2017. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/itc/events/t4sd-forum-2017/
  16. ^ ITC News. (2016). E-directories launched for Ugandan, Kenyan IT businesses. ITC News. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/news/E-directories-launched-for-Ugandan-Kenyan-IT-businesses/
  17. ^ ITC News. (2015). ITC launches export promotion training for Myanmar tour operators. ITC News. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/news/ITC-launches-export-promotion-training-for-Myanmar-tour-operators/
  18. ^ ITC News. (2013). Netherlands contributes EUR 6 million to ITC for export-led job creation. ITC News. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/news/Netherlands-contributes-EUR-6-million-to-ITC-for-export-led-job-creation/
  19. ^ ITC, I. (2012). ITC launches NTM survey in Tanzania. ITC News. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/itc-launches-ntm-survey-in-tanzania/
  20. ^ All Africa. (2015). Kenyan, Tanzanian Mango Exporters Gain Access to Middle Eastern Markets. Retrieved from International Trade Centre. (2015). ITC partners with CFYI and YBI for youth entrepreneurship. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/news/ITC-partners-with-CFYI-and-YBI-for-youth-entrepreneurship/
  21. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Promoting Intra-regional Trade in Eastern Africa. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/itc/project/Promoting-intra-regional-trade-in-E-Africa/
  22. ^ International Trade Centre. (2017). Trade in Environmental Goods and Services: Opportunities and Challenges (pp. 25-27). Geneva. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/uploadedFiles/intracenorg/Content/Publications/AssetPDF/EGS%20Ecosystems%20Brief
  23. ^ ITC Communications. (2012). US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognizes ITC’s work with women entrepreneurs. ITC News. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/news/US-Secretary-of-State-Hillary-Clinton-recognizes-ITC%e2%80%99s-work-with-women-entrepreneurs/
  24. ^ ITC News. (2015). Kenya’s GBC team is the winner of the 2015 WVEF Tech Challenge. ITC News. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/news/Kenyas-GBC-team-is-the-winner-of-the-2015-WVEF-Tech-Challenge/
  25. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Youth and Trade Programme. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/youth/
  26. ^ International Trade Centre. (2015). ITC partners with CFYI and YBI for youth entrepreneurship. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/news/ITC-partners-with-CFYI-and-YBI-for-youth-entrepreneurship/
  27. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Home | Export Potential Map. Exportpotential.intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://exportpotential.intracen.org/
  28. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Foreign investment opportunities, FDI statistics, company data, trade and tariff data. Investmentmap.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.investmentmap.org/
  29. ^ (ITC), I. (2017). Market Access Map - Improving transparency in international trade and market access. Macmap.org. Retrieved 11 September 2017, from http://www.macmap.org/
  30. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Procurement Map - Home. Procurementmap.intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://procurementmap.intracen.org/
  31. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Standardsmap.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.standardsmap.org/
  32. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Trade Map - Trade statistics for international business development. Trademap.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.trademap.org/Index.aspx
  33. ^ ITC, I. (2017). SheTrades Global. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/shetradesglobal/
  34. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Trade for Sustainable Development Forum 2017. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/itc/events/t4sd-forum-2017/
  35. ^ ITC, I. (2017). TPO Network World Conference and Awards 2018. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/itc/events/tpo-network-world-conference-and-awards/
  36. ^ ITC, I. (2017). World Export Development Forum. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/itc/events/world-export-development-forum/
  37. ^ For short bios of each of the six Executive Directors, please see Stephen Browne and Sam Laird 2011, The International Trade Centre: Export Impact for Good, Routledge, pages 31-32.
  38. ^ For an overview of all positions paid out of ITC's regular budget, please see the biennial budgeting and planning documents of the UN General Assembly. For example: General Assembly 2009, Proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 Part IV International cooperation for development Section 13 International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO, Document symbol A/64/6 (Sect. 13)/Add.1. The UN's Official Document System provides a convenient search tool for such documents.
  39. ^ http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/coher_e/wto_itc_e.htm
  40. ^ ITC, I. (2017). Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/about-itc/ITC-Funders/

External links[edit]