Have TPOs Changed? National Institutions Are Essential to Increase Trade in a Sustainable Way. the Best Trade Promotion Organizations Continue to Evolve in a Fast-Changing Trade Environment. This Is the Message in the First of Three Viewpoints about TPOs

By Williams, Philip | International Trade Forum, January 2005 | Go to article overview

Have TPOs Changed? National Institutions Are Essential to Increase Trade in a Sustainable Way. the Best Trade Promotion Organizations Continue to Evolve in a Fast-Changing Trade Environment. This Is the Message in the First of Three Viewpoints about TPOs


Williams, Philip, International Trade Forum


This well-known Chinese proverb is most relevant for any type of sustainable development. Amazingly, it is often ignored by technical assistance providers who, in their haste to do good and be seen to be doing good, often support the "quick fix" or the "quick win". Many proceed on the basis that if the man is hungry, give him some fish. This allows the technical assistance provider to show immediate positive results and everyone is happy over the short term. The problem is that the man comes back tomorrow, hungry again, but by then the donor may have moved resources on to another "quick win" situation.

Sustaining trade development

Government-funded (not necessarily government-controlled) national development institutions are indispensable to sustainable development. Though painstaking to establish, these institutions provide continuity after technical assistance projects end.

This is as true for LDCs (least developed countries), such as Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic Republic, as it is for developed countries, such as Ireland, which has benefited from substantial European Union (EU) development assistance for over 20 years. The alternative is cosmetic interventions with little real hope of sustainability once the technical assistance project comes to an end.

Most writers on trade development, of which there are regrettably not many, start from some World Bank-sponsored articles written in the early 1990s and usually agree that trade promotion organizations (TPOs) in developing countries have not been very successful. Developing countries' TPOs were generally considered an inappropriate delivery mechanism for trade support: they were a single (or monopoly) public service supplier, with unsuitable and poorly paid staff, hamstrung by inflexible government procedures, wrong attitudes and strategies; they had a confusion of purpose resulting from the assumption of regulatory and administrative roles; and they had failed to develop the range of necessary commercial support services.

Taking another look at TPOs

This issue of Forum, which features the very successful 5th World Conference of TPOs, held in Malta in October 2004, provides us with an opportunity to take another look at TPOs around the world and ask ourselves a few questions: Have TPOs moved forward since 1991, and are they more or less relevant today? Do we have better options to deliver trade support services? Are these the right questions?

Yes, they have moved forward, some TPOs more than others. Unfortunately, some TPOs in the less developed countries still lag far behind. This does not mean that they are not needed.

No "one-size fits all"

The trade environment has changed radically since the early 1990s, and has become a more fast-paced and complex world for exporters, potential exporters and national policymakers. Institutional structures to deliver trade support services are more, not less, necessary.

These changes in the trade environment make it incumbent on TPOs to monitor and review their position constantly and also remind us that there is no "one-size fits all". The delivery of technical assistance is complicated, because no magic formula exists that will work in all countries all of the time.

What structures are appropriate? A developing country, cannot rely on foreign technical support--however good--indefinitely. At an early stage, it must start to develop its own expertise, best nurtured within focused, institutional structures.

There are many institutions needed for trade development: from those related to basic infrastructure, such as customs, transport, air and sea ports, to those that facilitate market access and support competitiveness, such as standards bureaux or packaging institutions. TPOs are just one of these necessary structures, although arguably the ones with the most comprehensive base for trade.

As mainstream development agencies, the institutions cannot be for profit.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Have TPOs Changed? National Institutions Are Essential to Increase Trade in a Sustainable Way. the Best Trade Promotion Organizations Continue to Evolve in a Fast-Changing Trade Environment. This Is the Message in the First of Three Viewpoints about TPOs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.