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    ITC Launches TradeMaps


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2002 

    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).

    These are some of the facts brought to light using TradeMaps, a unique set of Internet-based services that draws from the world's largest trade database and business information from around the world. Easy to use, they are designed to boost world trade, with particular focus on the needs of the world's poorest countries.

    They reveal, for instance, that exports of least developed countries (LDCs) amount to 40% of their combined gross domestic product (GDP), making these countries vulnerable to changes in world trade prospects. They also disclose such success stories as the rise of Viet Nam to third place among the world's net exporters of leather products and footwear in 2000, after steadily gaining market share for four years.

    In addition, TradeMaps estimate trade potential between countries: for instance, South African exporters remain significantly below their bilateral trade potential with Brazil.

    They provide access to market information for firms and help countries to identify the best opportunities. TradeMaps can help negotiators to find where their interests lie and to prepare negotiation strategies. They help business people decide upon which markets they should concentrate their efforts.

    Succeeding in world trade 

    The chief goal is to contribute to poverty alleviation and higher living standards through trade, rather than aid. That can be achieved by greater integration of developing countries and emerging economies into the world trading system. The new services respond to long-standing gaps in the availability of affordable market information and analysis for exporters and trade policy-makers in developing countries.

    So far, the services have helped countries such as Mongolia, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates and Viet Nam to design new trade strategies; promoted trade in southern Africa; diversified exports from Oman; targeted investments in Egypt; and assessed LDC trade performance. The services are used as a basis in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report and its Environmental Performance Measurement: The Global Report 2001-2002.

    TradeMaps already attract some 2,000 visitors a day to its web sites.

    The services represent years of development work within ITC, supported by expertise from around the world. They provide quick answers to such questions as: What should I export? Who are my customers? Who are my competitors? Who are the best suppliers? At what prices?

    These services bring transparency in trade. Putting them at the disposal of developing countries will allow them to enter a dialogue based on facts in the Doha Development Round.

    The services 

    The services are grouped in four families called Country Maps, Product Maps, Interactive TradeMap and Market Access Maps. Product Maps (P-Maps) comprise 72 industry sectors covering 5,000 products ranging from agricultural machinery to wood products. The P-Maps provide market information, business contacts and price news for several product areas and assess national trade competitiveness by industry sector, for countries worldwide.

    Country Maps benchmark the trade performance by sector of 184 countries, Interactive TradeMap presents structure and trends of world trade for all products and all countries, allowing users to sift through data to develop marketing strategies and Market Access Maps deal with tariff and non-tariff barriers for all products and countries.

    More information about ITC's TradeMaps is available at http://www.intracen.org/mas.