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  • 2001-1 ISSUES

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  • ISSUE 1/2001

                                                                                                                                                      1-2001 

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  • Perhaps no question is asked more frequently by exporters than "Where and how can I find importers?" Helping businesses to ferret out the response can be a real challenge. A firm grasp of specialized sources is necessary, but it is not enough: an inquisitive mind and a healthy dose of perseverance are essential to track down leads to the right importers for your business.

    How can successful exporters in least-developed countries (LDCs) convert export opportunities into business? New export opportunities and trade liberalization measures have helped some LDC exporters become a success, noted 75 LDC exporters and senior policy-makers, in a Business Sector Round Table organized by ITC (Brussels, 16 May 2001).

    How can African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries benefit most from the new world trading system? This was the themeof a keynote address delivered by ITC's Executive Director, J. Denis Bélisle, at the Meeting of the ACP Ministers Responsible for Trade (Brussels, December 2000).

    Trade support, telecommunications and business leaders came together with representatives from humanitarian organizations and African producers at the first ITC Africa Trade Week held in Nairobi, Kenya, in the last week of November 2001, organized in conjunction with the Kenyan Ministry of Trade and Industry.

    While Africa faces tremendous challenges on the road to integration into the world trading system, there is more to Africa's trade performance than meets the eye. Many African export sectors have outperformed world market growth. Champions in the African export portfolio include cut flowers, frozen fish, t-shirts, women's trousers, footwear and transistors. These cases illustrate that Africa can compete.

    ITC is organizing its second "Meet in Africa" event in Casablanca, Morocco, from 25 September to 2 October. The meeting is organized in partnership with the SIC Group, a major trade fair organizer for the leather industry. The first Meet in Africa event (Cape Town, November 1998) brought together nearly 1,000 participants from 58 countries, representing the biggest gathering of African leather sector professionals to date.

    Emmanuel Barreto was part of a team of ITC consultants which developed a site for the Fourth Afro-Arab Trade Fair (Dakar, Senegal, 15-25 April 1999). Below he reports on what visitors were looking for at the Internet café.

    A series of surveys conducted in preparation for the Executive Forum 2000 indicates that e-competent firms are the exception. The survey results, and the Executive Forum 2000 consultation, reveal that there has not been a concerted effort within the business community of most developing and transition economies either to acquire e-competency or to use the Internet as a tool to increase or, at the very least, maintain international competitiveness. This is particularly the case of the SME sector - the sector that, in the majority of developing countries, makes the greatest contribution to national export performance.

    Earlier this year we launched a new Forum magazine web site to better serve you, our readers. You have several advantages when you view the magazine on the web site. It is faster and easier for you to receive news and trends and to search for specific information. The site provides new opportunities to express your views. And it also gives you the possibility to increase the visibility of your own trade-related publications.

    Barbados was one of the first sugar-based agrarian economies to diversify into the provision of back office operations. The Government's strategy to develop Barbados as an offshore financial centre started after research had been completed to establish the best way that Barbados could leverage its highly educated workforce of English mother tongue, its proximity to the United States and Canada, and its traditional links with the United Kingdom.

    Consider back office operations in your national export development strategy. Developing countries can harness the current trend of outsourcing business operations to address key challenges in managing their economic development.This article is the second of two about the growing opportunities for developing and transition economies to provide back office services to international firms, public-sector agencies and non-profit organizations (see also Forum, issue 3-2000).

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 ITC launched a six-month preparatory assistance phase for Bolivian exports in June 1999, following a Swiss-funded programming mission to the country. The preparatory assistance is based on a cross-sectoral approach. Within the context of th

    From the Trade Secrets generic version, below are web sites of selected international and regional organizations that promote trade.

    Legal framework • Create trust in the mechanics of e-trade (electronic signatures, copyrights, consumer protection, consumer privacy, dispute resolution). • Reinforce international competitiveness (tax laws). • Don't overregulate: overregulation creates technological bias and unforeseen barriers. • Work internationally: e-commerce is by nature without borders and harmonizing national laws is critical.

    The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (AMUL) links 10,000 village societies in India, a total of 2.1 million milk-producing families. Its business involves daily collection of milk at 25 supply centres in Gujarat; the production of butter, cheese, ice cream, baby food and milk powder; the marketing of these products through 50 sales offices throughout India; and distribution through a network of 4,000 stockists who, in turn, supply 500,000 retail outlets.

    A new publication, Business Guide to the World Trading System, was launched by ITC and the Commonwealth Secretariat at a meeting hosted by the British Ministry of Trade in London, United Kingdom in October. Targeted primarily to the business world, the Guide explains business implications of the World Trade Organization's legal framework for international trade. The book is a successor to a previous publication, Business Guide to the Uruguay Round, incorporating the latest developments in the evolving international trade framework.

    ITC joined with the Slovenian Ministry of Economic Relations and Development and WTO to hold a regional business round table on International Market Prospects for Information Technology Industries (Portorose, November 2000).

    Business tourism is a lucrative, fast-growing segment of the world's largest industry sector.Good niches in business tourism exist for developing and transition economies. These countries can market themselves as cost-effective, yet exotic locales, where corporate objectives can be met in a rejuvenating setting. The challenge is to identify the competitive trends, and meet business travellers' needs for both efficiency and relaxation. ITC consultant Dorothy Riddle outlines major trends and specific niche opportunities for developing and transition economies.

    Few industries drive the pace of social and economic change as fast as information technology. World Trade Organization Agreements on Information Technology and Basic Telecommunications Services, conducted in the 1990s, aim to liberalize these areas in order to spur economic growth in the twenty-first century. ITC surveyed over 600 business and government leaders in developed and developing countries for their reactions to these Agreements. Market opportunities and challenges for developing countries are highlighted in this article, adapted from the ITC publication, Trade in Information Technology Products and the WTO Agreements.

    The global market for business services is estimated at US$ 3 trillion for 2001, or approximately 10% of global gross domestic product. Exports of business services for 2001 are projected (based on International Monetary Fund (IMF) balance of payments data) to be US$ 734 billion, or 24% of total global production.

    Q. What do buyers look for when determining the purchase of a product?It is important to remember the three "Ps" that influence the buying decision: Product, Price and Performance. Normally, customers have in mind a combination of the three while making any buying decision.

    On the occasion of UNCTAD X (Bangkok, February 2000), ITC organized a buyers-sellers meeting among pharmaceutical companies. The meeting was the culmination of extensive preparatory work, starting with trade-flow analyses and followed by detailed supply and demand surveys in 13 countries of South and South-East Asia.

    In Brief © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 From left to right: S. Piskolti, ITC; Mr. A. Khalifa, UN Resident Coordinator, United Arab Emirates; J. Denis Bélisle, Executive Director, ITC; H.E. Sheik Sultan Fahem Al-Qasimi, Minister of Economy and Trade, United Arab

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 EXPORTER magazine and web site complement work of ITC "I have just received issue 3-2000 of your excellent magazine, which prompted me to bring you up to date on our developments. "The EXPORTER is in the process of introducing a new web

    Today's business executives are finding it more and more difficult to negotiate "static" agreements that withstand the pressure of change. As a result, renegotiations are a growing trend in international business. Here are tips for keeping renegotiations to a minimum, and managing them successfully.

    Aflatoxin contamination stops groundnuts from entering the major import markets more than any other factor. Importers are required by law to systematically test incoming shipments for the total amount of aflatoxins and reject those exceeding the permitted maximum levels. Exporters unaware of aflatoxin contamination issues, limits, regulations and standards risk costly rejections, claims, downgrading of shipments or the banning of the export origin.Parallel to measures for aflatoxin prevention and control, developing countries need to adopt reliable sampling and analysis procedures. Accredited national quality control laboratories with well-trained staff are needed to determine the levels of aflatoxin contamination throughout the cultivation, harvesting and post-harvesting stages, as well as certify the quality of export products at origin.

    ITC will organize a Business Sector Round Table for theThird United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (Brussels, May 2001). The meeting provides a forum for creative dialogue to some 75 participants comprising entrepreneurs and senior policy-makers from least developed countries (LDCs), buyers of LDC products from developed countries and LDCs' bilateral and multilateral development partners involved in trade development.

    The first joint ITC/World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Workshop on Legal Protection of Craft Items (Havana, February 2001) gathered 160 participants from 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. They included artisans and representatives from intellectual property rights authorities, the craft sector and its trade support institutions. Besides the organizers, two international organizations were present: the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Crafts Council. The three-day sessions were chaired by the director of the Fundación Española para la Artesanía (Spanish crafts foundation).

    The single most common reason for export failure is inattention to cultural factors, a maxim frequently repeated in international business literature. People choose service providers and strategic business partners with whom they feel at ease, and this comfort level is dictated initially by cultural factors. In over half the process innovations reported to ITC by services firms from developing and transition economies, cultural adaptation was cited as 'important'.National cultures are numerous, and subcultures are even more so. Increased travel has resulted in a large group of people socialized in more than one culture, and widespread television access gives exposure to different cultural values.To be sensitive to these factors, it is useful to have a structure for understanding cultural differences. Below are ten variables which affect cultures and subcultures, and can serve as a framework for reflection.

    One of the major mistakes artisanal producers can make is to design their craft products in styles or colours that are no longer appealing to their target markets. In fact, the style and appearance of products can change very rapidly and the export marketplace requires new products on a regular basis because consumers become bored with old products.

    Books • Export Development in the Digital Economy (2000) • Secrets of Electronic Commerce (2000) • Offshore Back Office Operations (2000) • The SME and Information Technology (2000) • Innovating for Success in the Export of Services (1999) • Business Guide to General Agreement on Trade in Services (1999) • Trade in Information Technology Products and the WTO Agreements (1999)

    Tips on Canada's e-strategy, services and partnerships, presented during ITC's e-mail discussions on export development in the digital economy.

    Ghana's e-challenge Ghana's national strategy is to promote export development aggressively, primarily in non-traditional export sectors. The Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC) coordinates the implementation of this strategy. One of Council's strategic objectives is that all registered Ghanaian exporters should become e-competent by 2003.

    Internet-related issues are incorporated throughout ITC's work, and reported regularly in Forum. The articles ahead complement the previous issue of Forum, which presented a review of Internet trends, tips, cases, references and expert opinions targeted to exporters and importers in developing countries. This issue features practitioners' views on e-commerce (Exporting Better and Partners News and Views sections), an overview of ITC's latest work on the Internet (Close Up section), as well as feedback from a recent Internet Café in Senegal (ITC and the Internet section).

    The Electronic System of Exports (SIEX) in El Salvador enables exporters to obtain electronically via the Internet all the required export documents from the Export Procedures Centre (CENTREX), at any hour, day or night. Through SIEX, the exporter sends information on transactions and obtains the corresponding authorization directly at the place of business.

    US$ 6 million worth of business deals are reported to be under negotiation, following the latest ITC buyers-sellers meeting, this time for wood products in southern Africa.

    Environment and trade is a challenging issue that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has to tackle. The scarcity of statistically well-grounded information makes the task even more complex. Using market analysis tools developed by ITC with data derived from the United Nations COMTRADE database and UNCTAD's database on trade barriers, a pioneering study to be published later this year tries to put some figures into the debate.

    The next WTO ministerial conference takes place in Doha, Qatar, from 9-13 November 2001. The work programmes of all major international agencies which play a role in shaping the future of e-commerce policies and infrastructures will be looking to this event as a key date in the 2001 calendar. In addition, the member governments of the Group of Eight (G8) will meet again in Genoa, Italy, in July to discuss, among other things, the progress made towards realizing the global information society.The sheer volume of freely available information related to the development of e-commerce is daunting. Here is a brief look at upcoming events, web sites you should bookmark for ongoing reference, and other bits and bytes to keep you abreast of developments in e-facilitated trade.

    Services exporting, software development and hardware represent three major market opportunities for firms in developing and transition economies. Traditional exporters can also harness new technologies to cut costs and reposition themselves in the international marketplace. But are the firms most likely to benefit ready to take the plunge?

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 To say that the face of international business is changing is an understatement. There are new rules of the game, new technologies, new business practices, new competitive pressures and new commercial opportunities. With the pace of change

    Make sure your contracts include the minimum requirements for a successful transaction.

    Q. What are some of the technical aspects of packaging?Physical and chemical protection. Permanent protection can be provided by treating surfaces with protective substances such as anti-rust zinc-phosphate-based paint. Products such as waxes and resins, which are removed when the goods are unpacked, can provide temporary protection. Anti-corrosive papers, thin film protection, protective oils and greases, silica gels and volatile corrosion inhibitors are effective means of controlling corrosion. Waterproof barriers can be supplemented with polyethylene or heat-welded fabrics, with or without sachets of dehydration inside the water-proofed space. Proper ventilation can also control condensation.

    Groundnuts, a staple food for many developing countries, deserves a closer look as an export commodity. Less than 6% of the world groundnut crop is traded internationally, with export sales averaging close to US$ 1 billion dollars per year. There is, therefore, scope for export growth in groundnuts.Investing in groundnuts is a sustainable way to address the rising needs for both food and foreign exchange. Today's exporters face two major challenges: ensuring food safety by preventing and controlling mycotoxin contamination of products and adapting groundnut supplies to demand for varieties best suited to specific end-uses.ITC is focusing its technical assistance activities in the groundnut sector on helping African producers and exporters meet these challenges. Micaela Maftei, an ITC Senior Commodity Officer, reports.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 "We have read, with interest, an article on the export of groundnuts (issue 2/1999). The article on aflatoxins was of a high technical standard. It has made us aware of an imperative need for national organizations dealing with product stan

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 More than 60 companies from six member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), attended the first ECO Buyers-Sellers Meeting on Textiles and Clothing (Istanbul, October 2001). The representatives from Azerbaijan, the Islam

    Subscriptions The online version of Trade Forum (http://www.intracen.org/tradeforum) is available free to all readers. Subscriptions to the print version are free of charge to trade-related institutions and firms in developing countries and economies in transition. Others pay US$ 20 a year.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) will host the fourth World Conference of Trade Promotion Organizations (TPOs) in Beijing, China from 15 to 17 May 2002. This will be the first time that the World Conference

    Used effectively, e-mail and the web are good communication channels that business executives can use for negotiations.

    Over the past four years, ITC's World Tr@de Net programme (previously the Uruguay Round Follow-up programme) has delivered nearly 200 seminars in 70 developing and transition economies to brief business and government leaders about the world trading system. Below is a sample of questions posed most frequently by seminar participants.The questions reflect real concerns of seminar participants and, as such, represent perspectives of the business community in developing countries. For answers to your frequently asked questions, see the World Tr@de Net web site http://www.intracen.org/worldtradenet

    Your latest issue was very informative. I was delighted to read about the harmonization of business laws by 15 African countries ("African Business Laws on CD-ROM, Internet", Forum 4/99). I believe this serves as an example of what the developing and least developed countries could achieve in boosting intra-regional trade and improving the investment climate of the region as a whole.

    Our Annual Report starts by saying that 1998 was "a year during which ITC progressed from building up organizational strengths to transferring these strengths to its operational programmes, one during which its focus moved from administrative reform and basic retooling to its main mission: the effective delivery of its field programmes". To elaborate on these points, I will first take stock of our assets today. I will then suggest how ITC can enhance its operational activities at country level.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 A decade ago, the workings of the world trading system interested only a select few. Today, it attracts growing interest from business, as nearly 90% of world trade is now regulated under WTO Agreements, and most products, services

    One of the most promising areas in trade for developing countries is services, with new negotiations underway from March 2000. This article, based on the ITC publication, Business Guide to the General Agreement on Trade in Services, provides an overview of this emerging, fast-growing area. International trade rules in this area are still relatively new, and the opportunity to shape them exists. The article also highlights niche areas for developing and transition economies.

    Addressing trade policy alone will not create the necessary enabling environment for export development. Sound policies accompanied by a product-specific sectoral action plan to give impetus to export development will create a conducive atmosphere for the exporters to perform not only efficiently but profitably."

    ITC organized three training events in the last quarter of 2000. Each event emphasized hands-on practical experience for participants, in particular for retrieving specific business information from the web and drafting programmes for the development of trade information services.

    At the recent UNCTAD X meeting (Bangkok, February 2000), heads of international organizations presented their views on the challenges of globalization for developing countries, and how their organizations respond. Below are ITC's views, expressed by J. Denis Bélisle, ITC's Executive Director, at the event.

    First of all, let me say that Forum magazine is our no. 1 source of information. All the clients of our trade information centre take advantage of your information. We also summarize articles and refer to its content in our monthly bulletin. Congratulations.

    Spending 9%-13% of the gross domestic product (GDP), government is the biggest buyer of goods and services for many developing countries. How can governments take advantage of this in order to internationalize small firms, create new regional trade opportunities and develop trade strategies to compete more effectively on world markets? This is the subject of a new ITC publication on improving SME access to public procurement.

    E-commerce Groundwork in Saudi Arabia ITC organized a seminar on export development and e-commerce at the University of King Saudia in Riyadh in October 1999, its first on the subject in Saudi Arabia. ITC highlighted the need for marketing strategies to take full advantage of new communication technologies. ITC staff followed up by working with government officials to develop an e-commerce export development project.

    ITC hosted the second informal session of its Joint Advisory Group on 2 November 2000 in Geneva. The session allows one division of ITC to present its work programme to the organization's stakeholders. This year featured ITC's Division of Product and Market Development.

    This issue features concepts from the new ITC publication, Innovating for Success in the Export of Services, by Dorothy Riddle.

    ITC was one of 44 winning proposals at the World Bank Development Marketplace Competition for Innovative Ideas for Poverty Alleviation (Washington, D.C., February 2000). The project, "Empowerment of Rural Communities to Export Organic Spices", was developed jointly with the Spices Board of India. The concept sprang from ITC research on how rural communities in developing countries could benefit from trade development.

    In recent decades, industrialized countries have developed a number of direct instruments to help their national companies become active in the developing world.

    At ITC's Joint Advisory Group Meeting (April 2000), the International Silk Association (ISA) took the floor to express its appreciation for its partnership with ITC:"Ladies and gentlemen, ISA is a worldwide organization devoted exclusively to silk. Founded 50 years ago, it serves as a forum for every country in the silk business, either production, processing or trade. The Association has members in 40 countries, and includes the major silk producers.

    In Brief © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 ITC's Executive Director, J. Denis Bélisle and H.E. Mr. José Miguel Insulza, Minister of Foreign Relations, Chile, were among the speakers at the World Economic Forum China Business Summit (Beijing and Shanghai, April 199

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 From left to right, J. Denis Bélisle, Executive Director, ITC; Alec Erwin, Minister of Trade and Industry of South Africa; Cedric M. L. Savage, Executive Chairman, The Tongaat-Hulett Group, South Africa; and Niall FitzGerald, Co-Cha

    CD-ROMs, bulletins and product marketing brochures are featured on these pages, along with a major new joint publication. The aim is to inform readers about the range of innovative and practical ITC information products that are available. These products complement ITC's trade promotion handbooks, market surveys, directories, bibliographies and other technical materials listed regularly in Forum.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 ITC trade information specialists contributed to the World Trade Point Meeting organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for 150 representatives of developed and developing countries participating in the T

    ITC produces a variety of international trade bulletins which complement ITC's books and technical papers. To subscribe, contact the relevant sections of ITC listed below.

    H.E. Petru Lucinschi, President of the Republic of Moldova, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to boost Moldovan exports with J. Denis Bélisle, ITC's Executive Director, on 14 January 1999. The agreement was signed during an official visit of a high-level government delegation to ITC, led by the President and including several ministers, to discuss technical cooperation in trade promotion and export development.

    The conclusions drawn from the Executive Forum helped ITC to crystallize its thinking on how to assist its clients to understand, develop and apply the new information and communication technologies and associated business practices to international trade. The following are key elements from ITC's strategy.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 Following a recent evaluation of an ITC project with the Trade Promotion Department of the Ministry of External Relations of Brazil, the Ministry decided to strengthen cooperation with ITC. As a result, ITC conducted a mission to Brasilia a

    Fibres and Textiles Industry at the Turn of the Century: Some Observations. 44 pages (Technical Paper). Background paper covering issues with significant impact on future development in international trade in textiles and clothing, focuses on WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (coming to an end in 2004), and its consequences for the sector; examines anti-competitive practices, as well as individual regional and government policies; reviews supply and demand trends and prospects; environmental issues and their impact on sector.

    Over the past few months ITC organized four events in Asian cities on the implementation of the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Textiles and Clothing and related eco-labelling issues.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 ITC's Trade Information Section organized a trade promotion and information seminar for ten Brazilian trade representatives (Geneva, 31 May-11 June 1999). Retrieving relevant business information was the focus, with ITC providing an overvie

    Reinforces Capacity-Building for Trade © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 Helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) compete globally is more relevant than ever. In the aftermath of recent WTO and UNCTAD meetings in Seattle and Bangkok, Governments reaffirmed the imp

    In January ITC organized its first e-trade bridge meeting in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Viet Nam. The meeting aimed to identify national action priorities to improve the ability of Vietnamese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to compete in world markets. ITC's Executive Director, J. Denis Bélisle, welcomed the participants and outlined ITC's e-trade assistance for SMEs:

    ITC's Export Packaging Advisory Service regularly issues bulletins for developing country exporters on legislative guidelines, trade fairs, key information sources and other relevant packaging topics. Most of these bulletins are available in English, French and Spanish. They provide short overviews on one specific packaging aspect, as a complement to ITC's export packaging-related manuals (see the ITC Selected Publications list, page 39).

    Highlights from ITC's recent activities in quality management, featured below, provide a glimpse into ITC's trade support services to businesses and government bodies for export-related quality management issues.

    ITC produces a variety of international trade bulletins which complement ITC's books and technical papers.To subscribe, contact the relevant sections of ITC listed below.

    Reflecting the rapid evolution of the Internet, ITC has developed new sites with partner institutions in the past year, and expanded parts of its main site. This helps exporters, importers and trade support institutions in several ways.

    An informal session of ITC's Joint Advisory Group took place on 2 November 1999 in Geneva. The session was chaired by A. Mannan of Bangladesh, Vice-Chairman of the 32nd session of the Joint Advisory Group (April 1999).

    ITC's Market Briefs are short market analyses, available in print and on ITC's web site, which review export potential for products and markets of interest to developing countries. Below is a summary of a recent ITC Market Brief on Fruit and Vegetable Juices in the United Kingdom.

    We were able to negociate a contract with a Latin American company thanks to the MNS. As the exporter had no idea of the value of its produce on the European market and refused to give the goods on consignment, they agreed to use the MNS as a reference price and then share the profits or losses depending on the final selling price on the spot market.M. Rabbow, E.A. Jencquel Gmbh, Hamburg, Germany

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 Electronic commerce was high on the agenda at the recent International Islamic Forum for Science, Technology and Human Resources Development, which hosted an inaugural Workshop on Science and Technology Databanks (Jakarta, Indonesia, 6-7 Ma

    The new Multilateral Trading System (MTS) that emerged from the Uruguay Round poses significant challenges, but can open up new vistas for trade for African countries. JITAP - the Joint Integrated Technical Assistance Programme - mobilizes the expertise and support of ITC, the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) to help African country partners benefit from the MTS. JITAP is the first programme that the three organizations have established to deliver jointly a broad range of selected technical assistance inputs to a number of countries simultaneously.

    -- Arbitration and alternative dispute resolution: How to settle international business disputes. 266 pages. Handbook focusing on available methods for preventing and resolving commercial disputes - deals with different types of disputes encountered in international trade and describes methods for preventing or resolving them; outlines fundamental principles applicable to international commercial arbitration; explains how to draft an arbitration clause and provides selected model clauses; appendices contain text of major international arbitration conventions and rules, as well as list of arbitration institutions worldwide.

    NEWImproving SME Access to Public Procurement: The Experience of Selected Countries. 142 pages Guide focusing on the role of government programmes in public procurement to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in becoming better exporters - identifies and explains advantages and disadvantages of public procurement programmes designed to assist SMEs; looks at criteria used for determining eligibility for SME status in various countries; examines programmes used by selected countries to assist SMEs in a procurement context; gives guidance on implementation of procurement programmes designed to assist SMEs.

    -- Major Markets for Cotton T-shirts. 115 pages (Technical Paper). Market survey on cotton T-shirts in the European Union (with particular reference to Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden), United States and Japan - discusses international textile trade in general terms and in relation to WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing; presents major markets and their characteristics; outlines documentary and shipping requirements, relevant legislation, contact specifications, quality control methods and environmental issues; contains statistical data.

    Twenty successful entrepreneurs from LDCs were invited to ITC's and the Government of Norway's Business Sector Round Table, organized at the request of UNCTAD during the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (Brussels, May 2001). The aim was to help trade development professionals who want to turn these individual successes into a more general occurrence.

    Q. What problems usually arise with a letter of credit process?

    From the generic version of Trade Secrets, hints on exporting pitfalls and what questions to consider before developing your export operations.

    Participation in international craft trade fairs is an efficient way for craft producers to showcase their products to export markets. The advantages include audience concentration, face-to-face communication, the opportunity to assess the competition and the chance to become acquainted with new business partners.

    Success of failure of a service innovation is linked to two primary factors:• A correct reading of the market and what matters to customers.• Appropriate management of the innovation process.

    The world's food system is changing fast under the influence of population growth, the globalization and concentration of world economies and scientific advances. These changes also affect those involved in trading groundnuts.

    An ITC Technical Meeting on 3 November 1999 focused on ITC's trade information services, reviewing a recent evaluation and ITC strategy. The meeting was chaired by D. Bouchart, Executive Secretary of the International Agency for the Development of Handicrafts, Paris.

    ITC, in cooperation with Switzerland's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (seco), hosted its second Executive Forum on National Export Strategies in Montreux in September 2000. Over 20 national teams participated in the debate, which concentrated on the theme, Export Development in the Digital Economy. Each team was asked to analyse the implications of e-trade for international competitiveness and to determine what, in its opinion, would be the most suitable national response.

    ITC has launched a new project in Yunnan Province, China to help the province develop an export-oriented floriculture industry which has revealed an important potential for export. The project was officially launched at the opening of the International Horticultural Fair (Kunming, May 1999).

    In Brief © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 ITC has launched a new programme in early 1999 to promote regional exports to southern Africa, with financing from the Government of Switzerland. The programme was developed at the specific request of the trade promotion and busin

    ITC's newest bulletin, the International Purchasing and Supply Link, targets purchasing managers and public procurement experts worldwide, providing news and information through national purchasing and supply management associations and similar organizations.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 Mr. Gian Piero Roz, an Italian national, has joined ITC as Director, Division of Administration. His previous post was as Director, Information Services Technology Division, Department of Management at the United Nations (UN) headquarters i

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 The Swiss secretariat of economic affairs (seco) is financing a three-and-a-half-year ITC project in Bolivia. The project seeks to address problems in the development of Bolivian exports by integrating several national and international ini

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 The Omani Centre for Investment, Promotion and Export Development (OCIPED) launched the Oman TradeMap and Trade Secrets: The Export Answer Book (Oman, October 2001). Some 130 people, including leading industrialists and national strategy-ma

    Some members of the business community in LDCs have achieved resounding success, pushing forward against the current to become achievers in adversity. They show there are tangible business opportunities. This article highlights ITC research identifying leading market niches for LDCs.

    Indian financial journalist finds Forum useful I am a journalist working for the Hindu Group's financial daily, Business Line. I have been receiving Forum for almost a decade and it has been quite useful in my professional work.

    Too few firms in developing countries are taking advantage of new technologies which can help them export better. In this article, ITC focuses on what developing countries can do to shift their attention from the "Digital Divide" to the "Digital Dividend".

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 Mr. J. Smadja, Deputy Executive Director of ITC, congratulates the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry on its national version of Trade Secrets. Launches in Kenya, the Philippines, Turkey and Zimbabwe National vers

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 Public procurement in the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase following major crises can be a real concern. ITC implemented a training of trainers event in August to address this issue for countries affected by the recent crisis in Koso

    "Developing countries need to build a 'quality culture' and to have better information on quality requirements. Individual organizations need to come forward and [provide] for cheaper costs of certification, as my organization is offering for organic products."

    A common misstep in the publishing process can be to place resources into researching and producing the book, to the detriment of the marketing and distribution process. A long-term, targeted approach has been developed by ITC to help partner organizations reach SMEs, universities, professional associations and others.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 Here are two of the many letters we received following the first Forum article on back office operations. (The first article appeared in issue 3-2000, and a follow-up article appears in this issue.) "I have just seen the Forum mentioning t

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 "Thank you for sending me your publications, Successful Services Exporting and Innovating for Success in the Export of Services, which you had promised me in your e-mail responding to my comments on Forum magazine (issue 2-2000). "This inf

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 "I would like to congratulate you on your article, Silk: Tradition with a future? (issue 1-1999). It is really good: analytical, brief and crisp in presen-tation. "I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to raise some of my conce

    Once again, ITC presents trade development perspectives shaped by the impact of information and communication technology. This issue reports conclusions from "Executive Forum 2000: Export Development in the Digital Economy", the resulting ITC e-trade strategy and how ITC is putting it into practice.

    ITC has worked with the Romanian Government on a wide range of projects to deliver practical services to Romania's business community. "This is a landmark year, and we would like to thank ITC for its focused, highly professional approach in helping Romania's trade community," said Mr. Ovidei Cernei, Director General of Romania's Department for Foreign Trade and Economic Promotion, in a joint press release before the event.

    ARGENTINA (Córdoba): Artesanías - Feria Internacional de Artesanías: Ceramic, leather, wood, metal, stone, textile, glass and paper items, musical instruments. Date/length: ten days in March/April (tel. +54-351 4810759, fax 4890023).

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 Within the past two months, visitors to the (Services Exporting Home Page) have increased rapidly, climbing to over 9,000 hits per week. This web site - targeted to services exporting firms, associations that support them and government ag

    Connecting to the global Economy © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001

    The overall environmental software market was estimated at about US$ 1.8 billion in 1995, of which US$ 1.14 billion for consulting and services. So what IT tools does a consulting engineer in a developing country need to compete in the market for environmental engineering services? This article provides a quick checklist.

    hat do trade promotion booklets in Malta, a purchasing journal in France, an Internet site in the Philippines and a newsletter in Tonga have in common? The answer is ITC's magazine, the Trade Forum.

    Three lessons from LDC success stories "Behind the obvious, somewhat old story - namely the loss of LDC market share in world trade resulting from the price collapse of raw commodities - there is a new, more hopeful and more exciting grass-roots story. This is the story of a new generation of LDC entrepreneurs and investors who are finding ways to leverage the opportunities created by global trade liberalization to start rebuilding their countries' export base.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 Reactions to the Third WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle and the UNCTAD X conference in Bangkok show the growing public interest in - and backlash against - globalization. Reflecting globalization's rapid pace, the multilateral

    As more and more small and medium-sized firms expand internationally, the abstract concept of a world trading system suddenly takes on a new meaning. Governments, industry associations and firms are all faced with similar questions from different perspectives. How can standards be set so that our industries remain competitive? Can tariffs be lowered abroad for products of interest to our industry?ITC has information that can point businesses, industry associations and governments in the right direction. One key source is the Business Guide to the World Trading System, published in late 1999 by ITC and the Commonwealth Secretariat. This article, adapted from excerpts of the Business Guide, analyses why the WTO Agreements attract increasing interest and outlines the benefits for business.

    "I have been receiving the Forum magazine for the last three years, and it has been very informative and updated my knowledge in many ways. The magazine has been updated to show the changes that are being made with regard to environmental and quality management concerns in developing countries. No need to consult dozens of expensive books to update knowledge of importing, exporting, international transportation and the various rules and regulations involved in the day-to-day business of international trade. Saving time and money, all articles are written by experts and experienced hands in the relevant fields concerned. Recommended reading material to any organization."

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 His Excellency Maître Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal welcomed J. Denis Bélisle, ITC's Executive Director, in the presence of Mrs. Aicha Agne Pouye, Minister for Trade and SMEs, prior to the opening of the Symp

    Trade Secrets tells exporters what they can expect to invest in a trade fair, and what they can expect to get out of it.

    Rapid globalization, new forms of business alliances and communications developments are reshaping the international trade landscape, and bring new business opportunities between developed and developing country firms.J. Denis Bélisle, ITC's Executive Director, and Michael R. Czinkota of Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business outline why we should respond to these trends, and indicate some of the steps ITC is taking to help developing countries benefit from the unprecedented new volume of international trade.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 High-level officials from trade support institutions (TSIs) in Barbados, Ireland, Finland, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe met at ITC in July 1999 to discuss TSI benchmarking criteria and the development of a technical manual as a self-di

    ITC is working with 30 institutions worldwide to create a series of national guides called Trade Secrets. The guides provide answers to the most common exporting questions. This section takes a "Close Up" look at the Trade Secrets process - questions exporters ask, sample responses, which national guides are in development, and how partner institutions are using them.

    This section provides an overview of exporters' main questions, ordering information for national versions and steps needed to develop a national version where it is not available.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 In the United Republic of Tanzania, ITC conducted two training workshops in May and June to train participants to become purchasing and management training specialists, focusing on how to use case studies. First steps were taken towards dev

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 Arusha-Moshi trade tutor candidates, resource speakers and programme administrative staff. ITC trained 19 experts in the Arusha-Moshi region, United Republic of Tanzania, in diagnostic, training and counselling skills to help

    Quality is a major factor in any purchasing decision. Understanding how markets define quality and learning about relevant regulations is a "must" for exporters.

    In a bid to intensify industrial and trade development, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and ITC signed a Cooperation Agreement on 24 August 2001. With a budget of approximately US$ 5 million and a time span of three years, the programme is expected to significantly improve market access for products originating from Central America, thus spurring economic growth and creating employment opportunities.

    ITC's Services Exporting Homepage has features designed specifically for industry associations, to support their efforts. Below are ways associations can use this site to attract new members and retain current members in an increasingly competitive market.

    Below are views from African partners in JITAP, drawn from their comments at a presentation of JITAP to the Joint Advisory Group.

    Juan Fernandez Gonzalez of Cuba's National Commission for Electronic Commerce highlighted Cuba's experiences with its portal site and its new e-commerce commission, in response to questions from the moderator.

    Gerardo Anigan, Manager of the Policy Analysis and Advocacy Project of the Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT) and the United States Agency for International Development, provided participants with his perspective on e-commerce in the Philippines. Below are edited excerpts of his comments to some of the questions posed by conference moderator Peter Gallagher.

    Foster a national networkThe book is a valuable trade promotion tool. Equally important, the process of customizing Trade Secrets nationally is turning out to be an excellent exercise in institutional networking.Ricardo Leal and Cassia Morais, Brazilian Trade Promotion Department and Export Promotion Agency---

    Electronic commerce, one of the newest and most rapidly evolving areas of international trade, is one of the six new areas currently discussed and analysed in fora of the World Trade Organization (WTO).What is the perspective of business executives in developing countries on e-commerce? To explore this question, ITC organized a "Virtual Conference" using the Internet. Are there examples of real commercial benefit? What are the risks for developing country firms? Do practical constraints outweigh regulatory constraints such as intellectual property rights, tax and cultural protection? What actions should be taken to promote e-commerce in developing countries?

    What are business executives in developing countries and trade development officials saying about e-trade? Below is a "sampler" - a taste of the individual views expressed during the Executive Forum process. For more views, see the Executive Forum web site, which contains e-discussions, e-briefs, interviews and an online version of the book emanating from the Executive Forum 2000.

    Extracts from ITC's e-mail discussion on creating and enabling environment

    ITC's first Virtual Conference was launched as an innovative way to continue the dialogue with the many partners involved in ITC's recently-completed "Uruguay Round follow-up" programme. (It provided information on business implications of WTO agreements through more than 150 seminars and several publications, including the Business Guide to the Uruguay Round.)

    ITC co-organized the world's first on-line coffee auction, selling Brazilian specialty coffee to bidders around the world via the Internet, from 15 to 17 December 1999. The electronic auction generated excitement among buyers and sellers alike, attracting buyers around the globe and generating top-notch prices for Brazilian growers.