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    From the Editor


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 4/1999

    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.

    In this issue, ITC reports on how it conveyed these messages about building national capacity at the Third WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle. See ITC's opening article, "National Capacity for Export Growth." The article inaugurates a new magazine section, ITC Speaks, which will be featured in future issues.

    The heart of this magazine issue highlights the ITC Executive Forum, a three-day event in Annecy, France which gathered trade promotion officials, business executives and academic experts from 22 countries to review trade promotion strategies in today's fast-moving trade environment. Three themes emerged from the meeting: sharpening competitiveness, attracting foreign investment and joining the global supply chain to move up the value-added ladder.

    From setting the scene in which trade development operates today, to outlining future directions, readers will find examples of national export strategies, checklists for competitiveness, photos and excerpts of views expressed at the event. A two-page mini-poster in the centre of the magazine summarizes the challenges to redefine trade promotion.

    Elsewhere in this issue, Market Profile outlines new marketing challenges for age-old products, traditional carpets and kilims. Exporting Better contains tips to improve documentation for letters of credit, in response to requests for more export finance information. We are pleased to announce several new ITC publications, many of which focus on business information not easily found elsewhere about the WTO rules. We also present a new ITC CD-ROM that builds upon the trade success story of legal reform in western Africa

    Finally, readers may note that three Forum issues have been planned to match the three priority areas outlined by ITC. The last issue (Forum 3/1999) focused on ITC's tools to sharpen a firm's capacity to enter export markets. This issue concentrates on national trade development strategies. The next issue will provide business information about the WTO rules for developing countries.

    As always, we continue to welcome contributions and encourage you to reprint articles of relevance.

    Natalie Domeisen