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    ITC at a Glance(2)


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 3/2004

    Since 1964, the International Trade Centre (ITC) has helped the business sectors of developing and transition economies to develop exports. Our ultimate goal is to help these countries to achieve sustainable human development through export growth with an emphasis on competitiveness.

    Our daily contact with business executives and export strategy-makers over the course of four decades has given us a unique perspective and experience. We are known as a practical agency that has embraced reform, encourages partnerships and fosters innovation.

    ITC's vision

    • To be a recognized centre of excellence for trade development
    • To help developing countries export more competitively
    • To be pragmatic in its approach and achieve widest impact
    • To foster a supportive, stimulating and intellectually rewarding environment for staff

    In the past 40 years, globalization has brought trade to everyone's backyard. Yet only a handful of developing countries have managed to seize the potential of trade for development. In today's world, our mandate is more relevant than ever.

    ITC's goals

    • Multilateral trading system. Facilitate the integration of developing and transition economy firms into the multilateral trading system.
    • Trade development strategies. Support national efforts to design and implement trade development strategies.
    • Trade support services. Strengthen key trade support services, both public and private.
    • Sectoral performance. Improve export performance in sectors of critical importance and opportunity.
    • Competitiveness. Foster international competitiveness within the business community as a whole and among small and medium-sized enterprises in particular.

    Today, trade is recognized as an avenue for development, and many organizations support trade as a part of their work. Yet ITC remains the only international organization focused solely on trade development for developing and transition economies. We remain specialized, focused, flexible and client-oriented. To achieve our mandate, we work in partnership with national, regional and international bodies around the world.

    Our ultimate clients are export-oriented firms, especially small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries. Our aim is to deliver relevant, world-class trade development services, in partnership with others, so that we serve as a catalyst to help countries create better jobs, and raise income, for their people. A complementary publication for ITC's 40th anniversary showcases examples of our work.

    Our role among international organizations

    ITC shares the social development goals of the United Nations (UN), the Bretton Woods institutions (the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and, more generally, of the international community. ITC contributes to the UN's Millennium Development Goals, specifically to the goals relating to developing a global partnership for development, reducing poverty, promoting gender equality and ensuring environmental sustainability. We advise business on making the most of an open trading system; attend to the specific trade development needs of least developed countries (LDCs); help countries apply the benefits of new technologies; provide support to women entrepreneurs; and promote environmentally-friendly export initiatives.

    ITC's trade development approach reflects its emphasis on being a practical agency. We are a technical cooperation organization that builds national capacity through trade-related technical assistance programmes. This approach has been acknowledged in WTO's Doha Ministerial Declaration and in the Monterrey Consensus (the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development).

    ITC's technical programmes

    • Strategic and operational market research
    • Business advisory services
    • Trade information management
    • Export training capacity development
    • Sector-specific product and market development
    • Trade in services
    • International purchasing and supply chain management


    ITC is the joint technical cooperation agency of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and WTO for business aspects of trade development. The three Geneva-based organizations play a complementary role in trade development, and cooperation between our organizations is close:
    • UNCTAD is the global forum for the integrated treatment of trade and development and the related issues of finance, investment, technology and sustainable development.
    • WTO is the platform to negotiate multilateral trade rules, monitor their implementation and handle trade disputes.
    • ITC handles strategic and operational aspects of trade development, focusing on exports.
    How does this work in practice? Let us take, as an example, technical assistance for trade negotiations. UNCTAD helps governments develop local capacities to formulate trade negotiation positions. WTO disseminates and explains rules and agreements, and how to implement them from a legal standpoint. ITC clarifies the business implications of multilateral trade agreements and explains to exporters in developing and transition economies how they can benefit from trade rules.

    ITC facts and figures

    What we do

    Mission: Trade development, focusing on export growth.
    Clients: Business sectors of developing and transition economies. Some 40% of our programme delivery supports LDCs.

    Who we are

    Consultants: 800 consultancy assignments, with a majority from developing and transition economies.

    How we operate

    US$ 49 million
    Sources: UN and WTO finance ITC's regular programme equally. Donor governments and civil society organizations finance specific projects, based on demand from beneficiary countries.

    ITC's approach to trade-related technical assistance

    ITC maintains a three-track approach to delivering technical support.
    • First track: A "product-network" approach ensures global coverage. ITC researches and develops "generic" tools and "best practice" methodologies in response to global competitiveness issues. National partners adapt them to local circumstances. Currently, ITC maintains "product-networks" in over 120 developing and transition economies.
    • Second track: ITC participates in multi-agency technical assistance initiatives (such as the Integrated Framework for Trade-related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries and the Joint Integrated Technical Assistance Programme) to help developing countries integrate into the multilateral trading system and to "mainstream" trade into overall development.
    • Third track: ITC delivers tailor-made support, involving one or more specialized programmes, to countries and institutions. It develops them with national partners, based on a detailed needs analysis, to identify export opportunities for specific sectors and strengthen the national trade support network.

    Have you visited us lately?


    For general information about ITC programmes, projects and services, see our web site, http://www.intracen.org, where you can find:
    • ITC's Compendium of Tools, Services and Programmes
    • Annual reports
    • Trade Forum magazine
    • ITC press releases
    • ITC E-shop
    For more information about ITC's programmes and tools listed in this publication, see the introductory article for each theme in the "Trade Topics" (go to left-hand navigation bar). Then click on the initiatives listed under "How ITC Can Help".