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    ITC's Online Trade Information Reference System


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2002

    by Nadia Hebboul

    For exporters to succeed in today's competitive global markets, they need export strategies that are backed up by efficient information capabilities. ITC's online Trade Information Reference System helps TSIs deliver reliable information services.

    Addressing enterprises' need for information about products, markets, customers and competitors is a major challenge for trade support institutions (TSIs) in developing countries. They have a critical role to play in facilitating access to trade information resources and in guiding small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the use of information as a key support to their strategic business decision-making.

    The Internet has brought new challenges to information services: the necessity to cope with new information technologies; and the proliferation of electronic information sources, which raises questions of relevance and reliability.

    ITC's new online trade information service helps TSIs and SMEs to identify the information they need to conduct successful business. It provides answers to questions such as: What information do companies need to export? Where to find it and how to access it?

    Bridging information gaps

    • Links to key trade information providers. Over the years, ITC's Trade Information Reference Centre (TIRC) has developed a large network of reliable information providers - institutional and private - that specializes in international trade and related issues.

    • Wide-ranging coverage. A substantial collection of information materials - in print and electronic formats - covering all aspects of international trade makes the TIRC a major source of international trade information.

    • Emphasis on web-based sources. As most relevant trade-related sources are increasingly available online, the TIRC emphasizes electronic/Internet-based information products and services. Specialized trade journals, business directories, market reports and other relevant sources are accessible online from the TIRC system.

      How TIRC helps

      The TIRC offers the following services to partner organizations in developing and transition economies:

    • Online access to its databases, providing references and, where applicable, links to over 15,000 trade information sources.

    • A current awareness service through the quarterly International Trade Information Bulletin, widely disseminated to developing countries.

    • Specialized bibliographies or trade directories.

    • Assistance with identifying trade information sources upon request.

    • Links to other relevant information services.

      Using the online system

      The Trade Information Reference System is available online, free of charge, at http://www.intracen.org/tirc/welcome.htm It is made up of several databases, with various search options allowing users to:

    • browse the entire system by subject or by type of document;
    • combine search criteria for advanced searches; and
    • use free text/keywords.

      Challenges for the future

      Keeping abreast of developments in international trade requires up-to-date information, in order to develop capabilities to detect changes in international market conditions and anticipate future changes so as to adapt export strategies constantly.

      ITC will continue to enrich its information resource base, with a view to facilitating online access to the latest market information sources.

      For more information, contact: tirc@intracen.org

      TIRC information scope

      Market surveys, trade journals, handbooks, sector-specific directories and statistical yearbooks.

      Reports and journals covering worldwide economic and foreign trade patterns and trends.

      Global or sector-specific trade statistics - national, regional and international

      All aspects of international trade management, facilitation and support services, such as legal and financial aspects, export promotion and marketing, international purchasing and supply management, quality control, etc.