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    Informing Swiss Donor Views on Trade


    International Trade Forum - Issue 3/2007, © International Trade Centre

    © Photo Bianco

    Interview - Hans-Peter Egler

    Labour, South-South trade and sustainable specialty products are topics this regular reader would like to see covered.

    Hans-Peter Egler is Head of the Division for Trade Promotion of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), which aims to promote global sustainable economic growth. SECO works with ITC in a number of trade development projects in developing countries and economies in transition. Trade Forum reports, such as on trade and the environment, have helped Mr Egler to position his own technical cooperation strategies.

    Q: How long have you been reading our magazine?

    A: I have been reading Trade Forum on a regular basis for six years now, ever since I became responsible for heading the Division for Trade Promotion at the State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO).

    Q: How do you use Trade Forum in your work?

    A: I share the articles referring to fields of particular SECO involvement with my team or with staff in the field in charge of implementing projects in the respective areas. We use the articles as a source of information and inspiration.

    Q: Do you prefer the print or the online version?

    A: For my own reading I use the print version, whereas for sharing the information with my colleagues the online version is very useful.

    Q: Was there a subject or issue of the magazine that was of particular interest, and why?

    A: I still remember the highly interesting edition on trade and environment [issue 3/2001] that was published at the time when we were defining our new strategy on how to include environmental concerns into trade-related cooperation.

    Further, the recent edition on Africa [1/2007] was of particular interest to me and my colleagues as we are currently defining our involvement in the Enhanced Integrated Framework.

    The advantage of Trade Forum is clearly that it serves me as a think tank to discover new approaches or to get unconventional perspectives on certain issues of my everyday work.

    Q: Are there any subjects you would like to see addressed in Trade Forum?

    A: Yes, for instance trade and labour/social issues would be a subject of interest in my opinion.

    Further, a challenging topic would be to compare the impact of speciality products for niche markets to the growing interest in developing sustainable mainstream markets.

    Another interesting subject to cover is the importance of lower-middle-income country markets for exports of the least developed countries.

    Q: What would be the best way for these articles to reach readers in developed and developing countries?

    A: The distribution methods - print and online versions - are very convenient. I think distribution should be clearly linked to export support institutions in ITC's partner countries, so they can inform their clients on a proactive basis. Furthermore, I would suggest you establish closer ties with transnational companies by sending them the magazine, in order to sensitize them more towards the development challenges and potential of their suppliers.



    The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs

    The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is the Swiss Federal Government's competence centre for all core issues relating to economic policy.

    The Economic Cooperation and Development Division of SECO focuses on projects that promote sustainable economic growth based on a market economy and on the integration of partner countries into the world economy.

    SECO provides measures to support macroeconomic policy reform, infrastructure projects and programmes to promote trade and investment. Important principles for cooperation are good governance and the mobilization of private resources (capital and know-how).

    For more information, go towww.seco-cooperation.ch