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    "E" @ ITC


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 3/2003

    ITC helps developing countries put "e" to work for small exporting firms.

    Traditional business in new ways

    The new marketplace is becoming a virtual one, but business needs remain the same. Businesses still need access to market information and trade analysis. They need to communicate with customers, procure materials, make deals and deliver services.

    Information and communications technologies (ICTs) give them oppor-tunities to trade goods and services more efficiently and reach new markets.

    Buyers/sellers Cybercafés. This Internet tool assists participating companies at ITC buyers/sellers meetings. It is also of interest to trade promotion organizations and researchers, in their search for regional information. Cybercafés reflect regional and national sources of statistical data, market, contact, legal and events information. They include trade statistics, country profiles, industry surveys, company directories, standards and regulations, and supply and demand surveys.

    Contact: south-south@intracen.org or visit http://www.intracen.org/sstp/publications.htm

    Country Maps.
    Country Maps benchmark the trade performance, by sector, of 184 countries and territories, through analytical tools, such as Trade Performance Index and National Export Performance, and provides an assessment of the reliability and characteristics of national trade statistics.

    Contact: mas@intracen.org or visit http://www.intracen.org

    E-procurement. The "Buying from Africa for Africa" initiative helped African firms to meet the procurement requirements of international aid agencies. A computerized trade flow analysis identified the export potential for product areas. Supply surveys were then conducted and suppliers and international agencies met at a number of buyers/sellers meetings. As a direct result, many African firms took large orders. With the United Nations annual procurement budget at US$ 850 million, there is room for expansion.

    Contact: south-south@intracen.org

    ITC has also implemented e-procurement methodologies to improve the efficiency and transparency of public procurement in Guinea-Bissau. By linking five procuring ministries to a reliable information technology infrastructure, ITC reduced errors and transaction time and facilitated information flows at all stages of the procurement process.

    Contact: helluy@intracen.org

    Export Readiness Diagnostic Tool for Services Firms. This tool assists small service export firms to assess their readiness to export. This online, interactive tool provides suggestions on areas to improve and determines the markets for which the firm is most suited.

    Contact: conrad@intracen.org or visit http://www.intracen.org/servicexport

    ExportSME. This web-based tool assesses companies' export potential and answers the question, could/should we export?

    Contact: emds@intracen.org or visit http://www.intracen.org/etradebridge

    Information technology for women entrepreneurs. ITC launched a new project to enhance the international competitiveness of women entrepreneurs in Cameroon by taking advantage of available information technologies and networks to expand their business at the regional and international levels.

    Contact: naas@intracen.org

    Gourmet coffee auction on the Internet.
    ITC held the world's first Internet coffee auction in December 1999. Ten Brazilian coffees, selected in a national competition, were offered at auction to 23 bidders from four continents. The coffee producers obtained higher prices, reflecting the higher quality obtained from care at all levels of growing and processing. The Internet auctions are now a strong e-marketplace for small producers, who used Internet technology to create a sellers' market in an area traditionally dominated by the buying power of multinationals. Since the first auction, three more countries have started holding similar auctions, with more likely to follow.

    Contact: scholer@intracen.org

    Market Access Map. This is a database of the major instruments of protection at the most detailed product level. It also covers most bilateral preferential arrangements. It measures the market access for over 200 exporting countries and territories in 165 countries at the tariff level as of 2002, and can be applied to any geographical area or sector.

    Contact: macmap@intracen.org

    NeedSME. This web-based tool diagnoses weak areas in a firm's overall management, in its achievement of business objectives, and in its strategic orientation.

    Contact: emds@intracen.org or visit http://www.intracen.org/etradebridge

    Online Trade Information Reference System. ITC's Online Trade Information Reference System helps trade support institutions deliver reliable information services. It bridges information gaps in many developing and transition economies by providing online access to databases of references and links to over 15,000 trade information sources and specialized bibliographies.

    Contact: tirc@intracen.org

    Product Maps. They comprise 72 industry sectors covering 5,000 products. By selecting a product, a user can view a ranking of the leading importing/exporting countries, or access trade performance indicators for a product.

    Contact: pmaps@intracen.org or visit http://www.p-maps.org

    TradeMap. This statistical import and export database presents the structure and trends of world trade for 5,800 products in 185 countries, allowing users to sift through data to develop marketing strategies.

    Contact: trademap@intracen.org or visit http://www.trademap.org

    Trade Portal Evaluation Tool and Content Roadmap. The tool helps to plan trade portals by establishing objectives and suggesting content. It helps evaluate existing portals through a web-based questionnaire.

    Contact: execforum@intracen.org or visit http://www.intracen.org/execforum

    Online GATS Consultation Kit. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is the first multilateral trade agreement to cover trade in services. To help trade support institutions to advocate on behalf of their service sectors, ITC produced the online GATS Consultation Kit. The kit highlights the domestic impact of GATS since 1995 and details national schedules related to service liberalization.

    Contact: conrad@intracen.org or visit http://www.intracen.org/servicexport

    PlanSME. Firms can use the PlanSME software and manual to build strategic business plans, identify the required business capabilities and manage export transactions.

    Contact: emds@intracen.org or visit http://www.intracen.org/etradebridge

    New business opportunities

    Technologies open up completely new product and service niches. Back office operations, manufacturing high-tech components, web site management and distance learning are some of the opportunities firms in developing countries have been exploiting.

    Regional E-business Forums. The regional E-business Forums concentrate on exploiting emerging e-business opportunities and applying new technologies to promote trade. The first E-business Forum took place in Kathmandu in October 2003, with other meetings in Latin America and Eastern Europe to follow.

    Contact: semine@intracen.org

    Creating the e-trade environment

    A national e-trade strategy is essential to help firms apply "e".

    E-commerce Legal Kit. Firms, legal practitioners and trade development professionals will find tools, information and training materials on the operational legal aspects of e-commerce. The kit features three question-and-answer guides, an e-law reference library, sample contracts and PowerPoint presentations on a CD-ROM.

    Contact: bourque@intracen.org or visit http://www.intracen.org/laft

    E-opportunity Assessment Tool. This diagnoses a firm's e-readiness and helps determine how to improve business processes using ICT. The firm can assess its capability to use ICT and identify areas of untapped potential.

    Contact: emds@intracen.org or visit http://www.intracen.org/etradebridge

    Trade Forum magazine. ITC's magazine features export development trends. Published quarterly in English, French and Spanish, it is available in print and on the Internet.

    Contact: domeisen@intracen.org or visit http://www.tradeforum.org

    Juris International. This open-access legal database contains 150 model contracts and 300 international conventions used in international trade. It gives users access to key provisions of the WTO agreements and to explanatory texts especially intended for the business community.

    Contact: bourque@intracen.org or visit http://www.jurisint.org

    Lega Carta.
    ITC is developing a web site aimed at ministers and law-makers. It is a global database that tracks and displays the ratification of conventions either country-by-country or globally by convention.

    Contact: bourque@intracen.org or visit http://legacarta.net