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  • 1999-4 ISSUES

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  • ISSUE 4/1999

                                                                                                                                                      ;4-1999 

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  • Fifteen countries in Africa have joined forces to offer a single business law environment, in order to facilitate worldwide trade with businesses . OHADA - the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa - has been working since 1993 to create a unified set of laws and rules. These were issued in 1998 and 1999 and are immediately applicable.

    Specialized carpet trade fairs allow producers to explore tastes and requirements of potential buyers, note competition and trends and reinforce a national image, which helps generic promotion. Contact information is given below for major carpet trade fairs located in Europe.

    Experts from six countries prepared export development strategies for the ITC Executive Forum. Fuller versions are available on the ITC Executive Forum web site.

    Faulty letters of credit are a common problem for companies involved in international trade. The eight steps outlined in this article can help companies reduce errors in the documentation required for letters of credit, easing the way for smooth payment.

    To encourage economic growth through export-led development, ITC believes that technical assistance is most needed in three areas: helping businesses understand WTO rules; strengthening enterprise competitiveness; and developing new trade promotion strategies.

    These selected examples from academic experts and international organizations formed part of the contributions to the event. Further contributions can be found on the Executive Forum Web site and in the forthcoming publication, Redefining Export Promotion.

    ITC held its first Executive Forum on national export strategies, bringing together trade development officials, business executives and academic experts from 22 countries in Annecy, France from 26 to 29 September 1999. The participants - who came from all world regions, with many from least developed countries - discussed the need to redefine trade promotion, in light of fast-paced change in the international trade environment.

    During the Third WTO Ministerial Conference (Seattle, 30 November - 3 December 1999), U.S. President Clinton invited the heads of several multilateral organizations to share views on what their agencies could do to support the least developed countries in building national capacity to take advantage of trade liberalization. The following summarizes the views expressed by J. Denis Bélisle, Executive Director of ITC.

    Developing and transition economies increasingly participate in the evolving WTO system. These countries, and especially the least developed among them, repeatedly request ITC for practical technical assistance for those who actually do the exporting - the business community.

    Viewpoint from Nepalby Padma Jyoti "Where do we go from here?" is a wise question to ask, especially at the end of the first leg of any journey. Before coming to Annecy, many of us thought that we knew exactly where we were going. But Mr. Bélisle and Mr. Ricupero on the very first day told us that for our journey, traffic rules have been changed and driving speeds have been raised to dangerously high levels.

    Since the Uruguay Round of trade agreements was completed in 1994, rapid evolution has occurred in several business areas that would have been difficult to predict then, including electronic commerce, industrial clustering and out-sourcing. Many entrepreneurs in developing countries are ill-equipped to respond. Traditional trade promotion services are no longer sufficient. To respond strategically, ITC organized its first Executive Forum, bringing together trade development professionals from 22 countries. This Close Up section highlights the event.

    ITC organized a two-week study tour to the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore for a group of key Indian government officials, experts and exporters.

    Producers and exporters of traditional carpets and kilims need new marketing approaches to meet today's challenges: an increase in machine-made carpets that imitate Oriental rugs and kilims; growing consumer interest in environmentally friendly products; and consumer concern about child labour.Repositioning carpets as "tokens of heritage", joining industry forces to educate consumers, using the Internet effectively and making the right contacts are among the ways producers and exporters can stay competitive. ITC is working with several international organizations to give greater identity to hand-made carpets in trade statistics. This change would give policy makers more accurate data for trade development planning. María-Mercedes Sala, ITC Market Development Officer for artisanal products, reports.

    Trade promotion and facilitation bodies, both in exporting and importing countries, can be tapped to support the efforts of the developing country exporters. (See the Index to Internet Sources on ITC's web site, at http://www.intracen.org/itc/infobase/infobase.htm for contact information.) Some of these organizations specifically focus on the carpet trade sector.A series of norms and regulations are in force in the major export markets. The norms and regulations deal with product aspects as well as trade-related aspects. These considerations cover quality, health and safety; packaging, labelling and packaging waste; environmental considerations; and working conditions. Below are sample contact points for certification, inspection, market trends and import facilitation.For more information contact María-Mercedes Sala, ITC Market Development Officer, at sala@intracen.org