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    World TPO Conference Highlights: Champions for Export Excellence


    International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2007, © International Trade Centre 

    © Fundación Export.Ar Aicha Pouye, Director of ITC's Division of Trade Support Services.

    From Mongolia to Finland, Mauritius to Zambia, El Salvador to Chile, they are doing a lot about exporting.

    Five of the best-performing national trade development agencies received global awards for expanding exports and improving their economy at the 6th World Conference of Trade Promotion Organizations held in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 12-13 March 2007.

    Co-hosted by Argentina's TPO, Fundación Export.ar, and ITC, the conference brought together 250 participants from 47 countries. Three ministers from Argentina addressed the event, which was linked to the annual meeting of the regional Ibero-American network of trade promotion organizations.

    Leaders of 54 TPOs from both industrialized and developing countries debated the findings of a study by World Bank economists and discussed a range of trade promotion opportunities and challenges. The study shows that TPOs, publicly funded for the most part, are helping to create jobs and income at home, by helping companies expand internationally. On average, for every dollar they spend, these organizations show a $40 rise in the value of exports.

    World Trade Promotion Organization Award winners (left to right):
    ProChile; Enterprise Mauritius; Executive Director of ITC (co-sponsor);
    Centrex, El Salvador; Fundación Export.ar (host) and Finpro, Finland.

    Changing times affect exporters

    The trade landscape has changed dramatically in the last quarter of a century. More countries than ever are taking part in export trade, which jumped from $2.3 trillion in 1980 to $12.6 trillion in 2005.

    In this fast-changing age, companies, particularly small firms, need guidance. The issues that affect them are prompting many trade promotion organizations to rethink their operations to offer exporters quicker responses, tailor-made services, strategic advice and advocacy support to resolve problems with local and foreign authorities.

    "Trade promotion organizations have a major role as champions for building business and creating jobs that provide hope for generations to come," said Patricia Francis, ITC's Executive Director. "They have the local knowledge, connections and experience to help people start businesses, grow and compete in the wider world."

    The theme of the 6th World TPO Conference was "TPOs in Global Trade: Opportunities and Challenges". Despite the favourable trade environment, the level of competition continues to rise. TPOs need to be more proactive in helping business. They explored the role of investment, trade in services, foreign trade representation, technology, market intelligence and strategic alliances for their organizations.

    For more information about the World Conference of TPOs, seehttp://www.tpo-net.com