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    ITC: Practical E-Trade Solutions for the Firm


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 3/2000

    ITC's Approach

    Raise awareness

    ITC builds awareness of e-trade issues through online services, practical guides for small and medium-sized enterprises, and projects such as its Executive Forum on National Export Strategies, for which the theme this year is "Export Development in the Digital Economy".

    Transfer knowledge

    Acquiring, creating and using information is a pre-condition for e-trade success. ITC trains enterprise managers and personnel in recognizing, and getting the most out of, their information assets, through market research databases, specialized seminars and business information training programmes.

    Build e-competitiveness

    ITC helps exporters of goods and services to improve their trade performance by adopting new ways of working electronically.

    Examples of ITC's activities that support e-trade

    Executive Forum

    Annual conference involving senior public officials and business leaders from developing and transition economies; this year's discussion theme is "Export Development in the Digital Economy". A supporting web site exists, and an e-mail-based virtual conference will extend discussions to a wide audience. A publication summarizing the proceedings of the event will be produced.
    Contact: Brian Barclay, ITC Senior Trade Support Services Officer
    Internet: http://www.intracen.org/execforum/welcome.htm

    Offshore Back Office Operations

    This recent ITC publication (see Back Office Operations in this issue) focuses heavily on e-trade issues for services firms and national trade strategy decision-makers.
    Contact: Doreen Conrad, Head, ITC Trade In Services Unit

    Services Exporting

    The web site provides a single area for governments, trade support institutions and services-exporting enterprises to find information (including profiles of 12 service sectors and a database of contacts). Publications and training have focused heavily on niche market opportunities related to the Internet.
    Contact: Doreen Conrad, Head, ITC Trade In Services Unit
    Internet: http://www.intracen.org


    ITC organizes cybercafés as a support to special trade events. Cybercafés allow trade professionals and exporters to discover online trade information targeted to products and geographical sectors of interest to them, based on advance research by ITC. The pre-selected information is placed on CD-ROM for use at the event, and to subsequently disseminate the results to a broader audience.
    Contact: Emmanuel Barreto, ITC Associate Trade Promotion Adviser

    Market Development for IT Products

    ITC provides advice on export strategies for technology products; offers networking opportunities through business round tables; produces publications on specialized technology market analyses; conducts needs assessments and business matching of the best technology importers and exporters; and carries out trade-related research and training in IT products. A web site is under development.
    Contact: Nikolai Semine, ITC Senior Market Development Officer

    Secrets of Electronic Commerce

    A question-and-answer guide to help small and medium-sized exporters in developing countries take advantage of electronic export and import opportunities. Contains answers to over 100 frequently asked questions on issues such as online market research, marketing, communication, sales and procurement techniques, and on legal, technical, financial and security issues.
    Contact: Sarah McCue, ITC Adviser on Practical Guides

    Cybermarketing: A Guide for Managers in Developing Countries

    The guide focuses on how to implement a commercial strategy using the Internet, outlines opportunities and obstacles faced by developing countries and provides examples of selected e-commerce operations and services.
    Contact: Bernard Ancel, Chief, ITC Trade Information Section

    Public Procurement E-Commerce Training Materials

    A training module, "Introduction to Electronic Commerce in Public Procurement", as well as a model web site on electronic tendering opportunities, including search tools and purchasing bookmarks, are under development.
    Contact: Wayne Wittig, ITC Senior Adviser on Public Sector Procurement
    Internet: http://www.intracen.org

    Cybermarketing Technical Assistance

    ITC assists trade professionals in designing and implementing trade information programmes, based on information and communications technologies, in order to market national exports.
    Contact: Bernard Ancel, Chief, ITC Trade Information Section

    Market Analysis Portals (MAPs)

    ITC's country MAPs provide detailed export and import profiles for 184 countries with information on the most competitive export sectors and products, dynamics of imports and potential for product and market diversification. Product MAPs are being developed to provide trade information on 84 product clusters covering some 5,000 products and services. Product MAPs will become accessible on a subscription basis as of early 2001.
    Contact: Friedrich Von Kirchbach, Chief, ITC Market Analysis Section
    Internet: http://www.intracen.org

    Gourmet Coffee Auction on the Internet

    ITC, in partnership with several speciality coffee associations, organized the world's first online coffee auction in December 1999. The online auction generated price premiums of up to 60% for the companies taking part, and served as a model e-commerce project, showing how the Internet can be combined with traditional marketing and quality assurance mechanisms to promote developing country exports.
    Contact: Morten Scholer, Senior Market Development Adviser

    Market AG

    A web site specialized in market information for the agribusiness sector. The private-sector company, Market AG, and ITC co-developed the site's "Company Directory", which contains a fully searchable database of contact information on exporters, importers, processors, etc. ITC assists companies to register their information in the Directory.
    Contact: Bertil Byskov, ITC Chief, Market Development Section
    Internet: http://www.marketag.com

    World Tr@de Net

    World Tr@de Net provides information, training and advice to the business community on WTO-related issues, including e-commerce (one of the six cutting-edge trade topics included in WTO's work programme). The web site contains an online newsletter as well as discussion fora that allow network member countries to exchange experiences. An Internet conference on e-commerce took place last year.
    Contact: Sabine Meitzel, Chief, ITC Functional Advisory Services Section
    Internet: http://www.intracen.org/worldtradenet/welcome.htm

    Index to Trade Information Sources on the Internet

    Composed of over 3,000 web sites containing trade-related information, this portal has the following categories: market information, contact information, numerical and statistical information, legal and technical information, events information, and a special compendium of search engines, e-commerce portals and various commercial databases.
    Contact: Bernard Ancel, Chief, ITC Trade Information Section
    Internet: http://www.intracen.org/infsourc/welcome.htm

    Forum Magazine

    The magazine raises awareness of e-trade issues from a developing country perspective, serves as a forum to exchange experiences through case studies and best practices, provides analysis, practical tips and Internet references, and showcases ITC e-trade services.
    Contact: Natalie Domeisen, Senior Public Information Officer
    Internet: http://www.intracen.org

    In practice

    ITC uses technology innovatively in order to reach a wide network of clients in a cost-effective manner. For instance, many ITC programmes have developed web sites, in addition to those specifically dealing with e-trade applications. Internet conferences and discussion forums, e-mail-based conferences, video conferences and CD-ROMs are among the technology applications being integrated into ITC's approach to delivering its technical cooperation programmes.

    Video conferences have been used increasingly in the past months. ITC, in partnership with the World Bank Institute's Global Distance Learning Network, has organized video conferences linking African and Asian industry associations and trade promotion organizations for the World Tr@de Net programme, for JITAP (Joint Integrated Technical Assistance Programme of ITC, UNCTAD and WTO) and for the International Competitiveness Gauge.

    This article was prepared by Prema de Sousa, ITC Public Information Assistant and Natalie Domeisen, Forum Editor. John Gillies, ITC Training Officer, also contributed.

    ITC video conferences, in partnership with the World Bank, linked services exporters in Africa and Asia.