Australia is embarking on an ambitious plan to double the number of Australian exporters by 2006 and to increase community support for international trade by raising awareness of the benefits of trade and investment.
How are TPOs meeting the competitiveness challenge of today's turbulent business environment? Among the solutions they are adopting: public awareness campaigns on the socio-economic benefits of exporting; SME outreach programmes; harnessing technology to improve services and extend networks; new mandates or partnerships for investment promotion; and institutional reform to better meet customer needs.
"The 4th World Conference of TPOs came at the right time and focused on the right issues - issues that we must all address. There appears to be a consensus that:the role of TPOs needs to be reinforced, redefined and made better known;TPOs need to constantly reinvent themselves and interact more closely with each other; andTPOs have to better articulate the linkages between trade, investment and socio-economic development."J. Denis Bélisle, Executive Director, ITC. Excerpt from closing remarks, 4th World Conference of Trade Promotion Organizations, Beijing, China, May 2002
ITC hosted the first training workshop for e-trade assessors (Geneva, June 2002) as the start of a "Winning with the Web" initiative to raise SME managers' awareness of e-trade. The training provides concrete examples of how information and communication technology (ICT) can improve SME competitiveness and trade performance; it also showcases potential role models. The initiative grew out of E-trade Bridge kick-off meetings in Kenya and Viet Nam, when it became clear that many enterprise managers are unable to articulate the potential benefits of using ICT to improve their international competitiveness. They are also unable to identify practical actions that they might carry out in order to take their first steps in e-trade.
In a turbulent business environment, the immensity of commercial opportunity will be matched only by the intensity of competition. Buyers' positions will continue to strengthen and exporters' capability to compete will increasingly determine their success. Trade promotion organizations in developing and transition economies need to refocus on competitiveness to help their exporters succeed in the new trade environment.
The German Government will provide E 2.4 million (approximately US$ 2.2 million) for ITC's Export-led Poverty Reduction Programme. The funding is for a four-year period, from 2002 to 2006.At least 20 sustainable, locally-driven poverty reduction project opportunities - in at least 15 countries - are expected to emerge as a result.
Driven by increased consumer awareness, the market for organic food and beverages is developing rapidly. In the United States, the world's largest market for this product group, analysts expect demand to continue growing in the short to medium term. While domestic production is strong, it is still not high enough to satisfy demand. Producers and traders of organic food and beverages in other countries have strong potential to tap into business opportunities.
TPOs are facing many challenges in a dynamic, fast-changing environment. But there are also opportunities if they can "renovate and reinvent" to remain relevant. Hong Kong's TPO is one example. After several difficult years, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) can now foresee a big boost for its exporters after China's accession to the World Trade Organization. To take exporters forward, TDC has embarked on organizational change while building on its traditional strengths.
How best can national trade promotion organizations contribute to trade development and poverty reduction? How best can they contribute to national competitiveness, in a fast-changing trade environment?
ITC and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) jointly organized a workshop on "Contemporary African Art and the International Market" at DAK'ART 2002, which is a major biennial, African exhibition on contemporary African art.
About 88% of export products face environment-related trade measures in at least one importing country. These measures also directly affect 13% of world trade (or about US$ 850 billion out of world merchandise exports of US$ 6.5 trillion in 2000).
For the third year, ITC helped information technology (IT) firms from developing countries and economies in transition to participate in the European Week of Information Technologies (SETI 2002, Paris, March 2002). This international event, regrouping 12 trade fairs for the IT industry, attracts over 145,000 professional visitors and more than 1,500 exhibitors from numerous countries.
Support to the Doha Development Agenda was the focus of ITC's annual meeting, called the Joint Advisory Group Meeting (Geneva, 15 to 19 April 2002). The Group reviewed ITC's activities over the past year and looked to its future work programme, in the context of the recently launched Doha Development Round.
Networking The 3rd World Conference of TPOs (Marrakech, 2000) emphasized the need for TPOs to form regional and international networks to share experiences and find common solutions to help their countries move forward. At the 4th World Conference, participants asked for concrete examples of TPO partnerships and exchanges.
Global trends in foreign investment, industry restructuring, the spread of international trade rules and the instantaneous availability of business information on the Internet are moving JETRO's focus beyond national borders.
New trends in international trade mean that TPOs need to reassess to stay relevant to their clients. The Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) has, in its own words, focused on essentials - customers' needs. From new customer satisfaction targets to increased online delivery of services and decentralized operations for a stronger field presence, the organization has reoriented itself around clients' needs.
© International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum
- Issue 2/2002 Contractual agreements in the publishing and printing
industry: A practical guide. 112 pages . Guide to contractual
agreements intended for publishers making agreements
internationally with other publishers - provides a range of model
International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2002, ©
International Trade Centre World markets for organic fruit and vegetables:
Opportunities for developing countries in the production and export
of organic horticultural products. 312 pages (Technical
Paper) . The publication presents the recent findings of a
The industries and countries that are already aboard the digital train are finding themselves on the fast track to better export performance. But many firms in developing countries are reluctant to get on board for a variety of reasons, ranging from high costs, access and trust to the need to change skills, structures and approaches. TPOs need to reorganize internally and offer new services to help SMEs bridge the digital divide. They also need to cooperate more closely, particularly regionally.
ITC and the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), Beijing signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly design, develop and deliver trade training courses to prepare enter-prises for the impact of China's membership in the World Trade Organization. A Chinese delegation led by UIBE President, Chen Zhunmin, met with ITC Executive Director J. Denis Bélisle in Geneva in April 2002 to sign the MoU, following a series of exchanges between ITC's trade training section and the university.
© International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum
- Issue 2/2002 All of the events listed below feature a conference/educational
programme run in parallel with the actual trade show itself, thus
offering an excellent forum for the organic industry to meet and
share information. Major events in the organ
International Enterprise Singapore, or IE Singapore, is the new name of Singapore's TPO, formerly known as the Singapore Trade Development Board. The new name reflects the new mission: to help Singapore-based companies to grow and internationalize successfully.
Côte d'Ivoire, China Sign Agreement The Côte d'Ivoire Export Promotion Agency (APEX-CI) and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) took the opportunity during the 4th World Conference of TPOs in Beijing to sign a partnership agreement on 17 May 2002 - the day that CCPIT celebrated its 50th anniversary.
"Staying relevant" are the key words for this issue of Trade Forum. What direction should trade promotion organizations (TPOs) take in turbulent business times, to help their clients remain competitive and stay relevant to them?
The Information Age means many things to people and organizations (for example, new business processes, more speed, more choice). Above all, it means the Internet. Companies and individuals can find information in many places on the Internet, but a surprisingly large number go to government for information they can trust. One-third of Internet users in the United States seek information from government web sites for business opportunities.
Organic foodstuff is produced with a commitment to respect biological and ecological processes. Organic agriculture is based on a holistic viewpoint that perceives nature as more than just the separate, individual elements into which it may be split. The principles of organic farming are found in ecology, a science concerned with the interrelationship of living organisms and their environments. The concept of organic farming also covers economic and social aspects of agricultural production, local as well as global.