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    ITC's Internet Café


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 

    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.

    Trade information 

    Web sites with market research sources, profiles and data; information on legal, purchasing, packaging and other trade-related issues.

    Networking and information exchange 

    Moderated discussion groups to exchange and develop views on trade-related issues, and make new contacts.

    Joint programme development 

    Web sites that facilitate information sharing among project partners at a distance, to enhance programme development and management.


    Facilities to match importers and exporters in specific sectors.

    Information on ITC products and services 

    Updates on ITC events, technical cooperation tools and programmes.

    Bringing an Internet Café to Forum readers 

    Trade fairs and events increasingly use Internet cafés, also known as Cyber cafés. Not to be confused with public cafés allowing access to the Internet for a fee, Internet cafés at trade events synthesize trade information and target them to event participants. A team works ahead of time to gather information, pre-load it on computers, develop posters and handouts, and train staff to provide electronic "guided tours" or allow visitors to use the computers on their own.

    ITC sites displayed at a recent Internet Café (for ITC's annual Joint Advisory Group meeting) are the focus of this issue's Close Up section. While the list is not exhaustive - web sites are evolving quickly - it gives an update on ITC's technical cooperation services on the Internet.

    Integrated Framework for Trade-related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries

    Six core organizations (IMF, ITC, UNCTAD, UNDP, World Bank and WTO) are working together with the least developed countries (LDCs) to coordinate their trade assistance programmes through an Integrated Framework For Trade-related Technical Assistance to these countries. The six core organizations support this process with a web site, which provides up-to-date information about current and planned trade-related technical assistance activities for all LDCs. The web site is operated by the Integrated Framework Administrative Unit which is located at ITC (see also Forum 3/98).

    JITAP Communication and Discussion Facility

    The JITAP Communication and Discussion Facility is an interactive web site that enables JITAP programme partners and trainers/experts to exchange documents related to programme implementation, participate in on-line conferences and raise questions and obtain answers as they relate to the Multilateral Trading System (MTS) and the WTO Agreements. JITAP is the Joint ITC/UNCTAD/WTO Integrated Technical Assistance Programme in selected least developed and other African countries. Participating countries include: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Tunisia, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. The web site is designed principally for two sets of users: those managing and implementing the programme, whether based in Geneva or in a participating country; and users exchanging experiences to gain a better knowledge of the MTS rules and their implications.

    Juris International

    Juris International offers access to full-text international legal agreements, model contracts, a diagnostic tool and information on dispute resolution centres and a network of business lawyers. It was co-developed by ITC, the University of Montreal (Canada) and the University of Nancy (France) in cooperation with organizations in over 100 countries (see Forum 3/98).

    Market News Service Homepage

    The Market News Service (MNS) Homepage provides information on various primary and semi-processed products such as fresh fruits and vegetables; fresh-cut flowers; spices, spice herbs and seeds; rice; hides, skins and semi-finished leather; ornamental plants; pharmaceutical raw materials and essential drugs; and bulk-packed fruit juices. It informs visitors of the type of information available, other services provided by MNS, subscription fees and various means by which to receive the information.

    MNS is destined mainly to producers, exporters and importers from developing countries in need of up-to-the-minute price and market information. They use it as a decision-making tool which helps them decide when, where and for how much to export or import their products. It is also used by governmental and non-governmental organizations such as ministries of trade, commerce and agriculture, export promotion boards and trade associations, as well as banks and universities.

    Market AG

    Market AG is a web site specialized in market information for the agribusiness sector. Market AG and ITC have co-developed one portion of this site, "Company Directory". It contains contact information of exporters, importers, processors and others. It is fully searchable. Companies from developing countries can add their own home pages free of charge. (ITC is available for assistance.)

    The site is targeted primarily to exporters and importers of fruit and vegetables seeking market information and partners.


    Co-developed by ITC and an institution in the United Kingdom specialized in news and business data for the international fresh produce industry, Marketplace is an initiative for using the Internet to encourage exports of fruits and vegetables worldwide. Producers and exporters enter details of products available for export into a database. Marketplace then serves as a means to match sellers of fruits and vegetables in developing countries with potential buyers worldwide.

    Service Exporting Homepage

    The Homepage provides information on all service categories and sub-sectors as defined under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS, concluded as part of the Uruguay Round). It offers help on bidding and tracking internationally funded projects and contains a list of important Internet links relating to services markets and marketing (see also Forum 1/99).

    Index to Internet Sources

    Designed to provide information that helps create competitive advantage, the Index is divided into 10 main categories: Press Agency News, Trade Publications with Bibliographic References, Company Registers, Full-text Trade Publications and Market Research, Norms and Standards, Trade Fairs and Exhibitions, Price Information and Exchange Rates, Tariff Information and Trade Regulations, Public Tenders and Trade Opportunities and Statistics. The web site offers access to 1,300 information sources and is updated systematically. The database is also available in a print version (see also Forum 3/98).

    Virtual Exhibition Centre

    The Virtual Exhibition Centre covers over 400 product images and more than 100 artisan enterprises for these categories: Pottery, Carpets, Textiles, Fashion, Leather, Metal, Wicker and Fibre Works, Wood, Extra Categories and Various Materials.

    The Virtual Exhibition Centre was developed by ITC, UNESCO and the International Centre for the Promotion of Crafts, located in Fez, Morocco.

    The Virtual Exhibition Centre is available to suppliers of artisanal products (mostly small enterprises), cooperatives, crafts councils, trade associations, chambers of commerce, Trade Points (trade facilitation centres) and trade promotion organizations. On the demand side, the Virtual Exhibition Centre is widely used by specialized importers and agents of handicrafts, wholesalers, retailers, department stores and even private consumers (see also Forum 1/99).

    Intra-African Trade Promotion Programme

    The Intra-African Trade Promotion Programme's web site was designed to create awareness of the potential for intra-African trade development, and to alert trade promotion and business organizations to specific ITC events. It describes tools these organizations may wish to use in their own activities for intra-African trade promotion, such as methodologies for supply and demand surveys and buyers-sellers meetings, and contains other relevant information sources.

    Compendium of Public Procurement Systems
    http://www.intracen.org/infobases (under construction)

    The Compendium aims to establish a benchmark reference on the scope of public procurement systems in selected countries. Available information on a participating country's central government-level procurement law and key regulations is arranged by 21 features common to many public procurement systems. This information can enable a comparison of one country's procurement procedures with those of other countries. It can also help compare procedures with generally accepted models. Existing information in the database includes the relevant European Union Directives, the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) model public procurement law, as well as laws of Poland, Albania and, with a more limited scope of application, several African countries.

    Global Competitiveness Contact Point

    The Global Competitiveness Contact Point is designed to support human resource development in the area of international business management. Through this site, entrepreneurs and enterprise managers can review and access "self-learning" training programmes covering basic and specialized areas of international business and export development.