Building the Essential Partnerships

Article excerpt

CHALLENGES

New business realities demand new partnerships for effective trade strategies.

Export strategies are the key to helping a critical mass of firms succeed, not just the individual companies that make it despite the odds. The strategies must focus on more than trade promotion and embrace development if countries are to increase exports. This shift implies new partnerships, as well as changed roles for traditional partners.

First, business and government need to work more closely. Partnership balances the public sector's power to create better business conditions with the private sector s ability to create jobs and exports.

Often business and government don't trust each other and have different goals. They do, however, have a common goal in wanting economic prosperity. Governments should lead strategy development. But as the "doer" of trade, business needs to become a more involved and informed trade development partner.

second, trade development strategists must reach out to new players. Why? From environmental trade barriers to technological compatibility, new trends affect trade. National standards bodies, communications technology entities, banks and investment institutions, labour organizations, women entrepreneurs' groups, environmental industry groups, arbitration and mediation centres, and educational institutions are just a few of those that offer keys to competitiveness, as the topics in this publication have shown. Bringing them into a broader trade support network helps countries use export development as a stepping-stone to economic growth.

Third, for partnerships to work, they need to be anchored in mutually agreed strategies, with realistic priorities, targets, responsibilities and means to achieve them. Strategies are a basis for building confidence among partners. They provide a baseline to monitor results. By formalizing them, there is also a better chance for continuity. Strategies can suffer from short political cycles or turnover in business leadership. …