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    Where Do We Go from Here?


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

    The ITC's three Executive Forums to date have dealt with the need to redefine trade promotion strategy, the challenge of the digital economy and how to ensure trade support networks are working. The logical question now is, "What do we need to tackle next at the strategy-making level?"

    The goal of the Executive Forums on National Export Strategies is to make a substantive contribution to export growth in developing and transition economies. Through the Executive Forum network, ITC seeks to:

    • expose national export strategy-makers to best practice in the strategy management process;
    • promote dialogue and consolidate the partnership between public sector strategy-makers and leaders of the business community; and
    • facilitate the exchange of best-practice experience among strategy-makers and managers of trade support institutions.

    Our plan is to extend our outreach in the immediate future by complementing our annual debate on best practice in Montreux with Regional Executive Forums, such as the one organized in November 2001 during the Africa Trade Week in Nairobi (see page 34). We also intend to establish an Executive Forum presence at the national level, an objective shared by ITC's Executive Forum partner, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (seco) which places an emphasis on practical follow-up.

    Reflecting the views of our network, the theme selected for the 2002 Montreux debate from 25 to 28 September is "The Values of National Strategy" - during which we will analyse strategy from five value perspectives:

    • Creating Value: Moving from Comparative to Competitive Advantage.
    • Adding Value: Building Value-Addition Alliances.
    • Projecting Value: Is there a Case for National Branding?
    • Capturing Value: The National Value Chain Approach to Export Strategy Development.
    • Confirming Value: Export Strategy Performance Measurement.

    We are determined to maintain the mix of public and private sector representatives in all Executive Forum consultations (Montreux, regional and national). We will continue to experiment with new formats with a view to maximizing experience exchange and developing practical best-practice scenarios for assessment by national export strategy-makers.

    We will also continue to support the network through the Executive Forum web site (http://www.intracen.org/execforum) and work towards enhancing its interactivity capabilities. E-discussions will again be a key feature of the Executive Forum process. Most important of all, all contributions to the Executive Forum's ongoing programme of applied research are welcome. Our primary interest is in the practical analysis of best practice in strategy formulation and management. Interested parties can contact us by e-mail at execforum@intracen.org or through the Executive Forum web site.

    Brian Barclay is Coordinator of the ITC Executive Forum on National Export Strategies. Contact: barclay@intracen.org