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    Voices from the ITC Executive Forum


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2002 

    Argument for private sector lead

    "According to our experience in Guatemala, trade promotional activities have better results when led by the private sector. The private sector has a better understanding of SME needs and it is easier to provide assistance. The private sector can also respond more quickly, tackling the issues much earlier than the governmental apparatus can."
    Giovanni Passarelli, Head, Trade Promotion and Information Department, Guatemala Non-Traditional Product Exporters' Association - AGEXPRONT 

    A new connection 

    "The new connection that we are developing is to link investment and trade and export strategy."

    Geoffrey da Silva, Chief Executive Officer, Guyana Office for Investment (GO-INVEST) 

    Re-inventing the wheel 

    "Experience shows that frequently, instead of trying to examine in depth the reasons for poor results and subsequently adopting measures to correct the situation, the authorities decide to change the institution, and to 're-invent the wheel'."

    Camilo Jaramillo, consultant, Colombia 

    Problems of performance measurement 

    "Performance measurement is sometimes very difficult to evaluate. Because no exporter will disclose to us the profits made through our programme, the best way to evaluate performance is to decide, on the basis of a survey, whether or not the direct beneficiaries of a programme are satisfied."

    Undrick Ceus, Executive Director, PROMOCOM, Haiti 

    Strong national focal point essential, but regional TSI 

    "I strongly believe that a national focal point, or executive council that serves to plan, execute and monitor concerted national policies and strategies for export development is essential."

    Cagatay Ozden, Foreign Trade Expert, Export Promotion Centre of Turkey (IGEME) 

    What people will pay for 

    "People are willing to pay for developing linkages with new buyers, but not for training the employees of their firms. A comprehensive medium-term approach of creation of demand (through intensive awareness building) followed by selecting pilot groups of firms willing to avail themselves of these services for a price (even though subsidized) will help new groups to emerge, assuming that the pilot groups obtain benefits and the new groups become aware of them."

    Mukesh Gulati, Focal Point Manager, Cluster Development Programme, UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), New Delhi, India 

    Network sustainability 

    "Network sustainability is a direct result of targeting. Members of a network change according to success and growth. Their prior-ities, core business, scope/scale of operations, skills and expertise all change as members develop."

    Rohan Ellis, Chief Executive, the Cook Islands Development Investment Board, in the 2001 e-discussion 

    We cannot afford to pick winners 

    "In the developing world we cannot afford to pick winners since there are few, and the business of the network is to create more winners."

    Jacinta M. Kinyili, Export Promotion Council's Centre for Business Information, Kenya 

    TPOs emphasize collective trade promotion 

    "From my experience, TPOs over-emphasize collective trade promotion. This often happens because of pressure from industrial lobbies and associations which have a strong interest in obtaining public subsidies for the costly activity of getting their smaller members to participate in trade fairs."

    Fabrizio Onida, former president of the Italian Trade Commission 

    project that never ends 

    "Making our trade support network work is like water over a stone - a project that never ends but which over time wears down the rough edges. Right now the stone is pretty rough around the edges. It's not going to be a quick fix."

    Brian Oak, Director, Strategic Planning, Trade Commissioner Service, and Coordinator Team Canada Inc., Canada 

    Play as a team 

    "The number of players in the trade promotion field in Viet Nam has been growing. But generally speaking, they have not yet been playing as a team in which different players should undertake different roles to provide a broad range of quality services to exporting enterprises. The trade development effort in Viet Nam still consists of ad hoc interventions by trade support institutions in a limited number of areas, mostly overseas sales support services such as trade fairs, trade missions and the provision of business contacts."

    Viet Nam country paper