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    Investing in Trade Support


    International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2007, © International Trade Centre 

    © Fundación Export.Ar 

    Changing needs, changing role 

    "Despite favourable trade trends, competition continues to rise, and national trade bodies find themselves at the centre of national effort to ensure that their client enterprises, particularly small firms, become or remain globally competitive. This requires trade promotion organizations (TPOs) to be more proactive, to constantly seek ways of improving their customer relations management, establishing closer and longer-term relationships.

    "There is also a change in how they deliver trade support services. TPOs at the cutting edge no longer speak of export promotion, or even internationalization of the firm, but are now focused on business development - helping the client firm to be more competitive and to grow its business internationally. Clients require more of TPO staff, which now need to be better trained, function as consultants with a strategic approach and harness external expertise where necessary."

    Conference summary extract, World Conference of Trade Promotion Organizations, Buenos Aires, 2007. 


    Helping firms compete

    The latest winners of the World TPO Awards reflect the new trends in supporting businesses to make their mark in the global economy. Mauritius Enterprise, winner of the award from a small country, is working to reposition the traditional sugar sector and re-invigorate the textile and clothing sectors. In similar ways, the other award winners from Zambia, Mongolia and El Salvador are helping to make their country's export strategy "happen". Finpro, "Best of the Best" TPO award winner, says, "A small economy (such as Finland's) is like a mouse surrounded by big fat cats. The key to success does not lie in volume or efficiency, but in the ability to move more quickly than the others." With a small population of 5.3 million people and a small economy, Finland has had to make a big effort to link its industry to the global economy. "We think beyond exports," says Finpro. "We operate as a window to the future of the global business for Finnish industry." Consulting accounts for two-thirds of Finpro's chargeable revenue.


    © Fundación Export.Ar

    © Reuters/M. Thomas 

    Export promotion makes its mark

    ProChile, best TPO from a developing country, is bringing life to the new country brand, "Chile: All Ways Surprising". ProChile has helped position Chilean food and wine as high-quality products by organizing food and wine tasting events, and by linking up with well-known chefs of famous restaurants. In just ten years, Chile's wine exports jumped from $30 million to $600 million per year, and the number of exporters grew from 12 to 170. Its 40 wineries produce about 3% of the world's wine exports, in terms of volume. (Sources: BBC, Reuters.)


    ITC invests in trade support In order to harness the collective energy and resources of its network of stakeholders - policymakers in government and the business community, exporting enterprises and trade support institutions - ITC is working more closely with its partner institutions by:
    • building knowledge: collecting and disseminating best practices of trade support institutions;
    • ensuring institutional capacity: reinforcing capacity to deliver needed services; and
    • promoting partnership and networks.