Magazine article International Trade Forum

Influencing Tunisian Service Exporters: A Special Trade Forum Edition on Exporting Services, Co-Produced with This Reader, Supported an International Services Fair in Tunisia

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Influencing Tunisian Service Exporters: A Special Trade Forum Edition on Exporting Services, Co-Produced with This Reader, Supported an International Services Fair in Tunisia

Article excerpt

Trade Forum reader Slim Chaker is Coordinating Director of Tunisia's Export Market Access Fund, FAMEX. A firm believer in the development power of services, he organized the first International Services Salon (SISE) in Tunis in 2004, to increase trade and collaboration between African service sectors.

Mr Chaker uses the magazine as a touchstone for new trends in trade development and in his outreach work with exporters and trade organizations. He also worked closely with ITC to produce a special issue of Trade Forum for SISE.

Q How long have you been reading our magazine?

A I've been a regular reader since 1999. That was when I was charged with launching FAMEX, the Export Market Access Fund. I had read Trade Forum before, but with a different outlook--that of a young professional wanting to keep up to date with what was going on in the main international organizations responsible for global economic development.

Q How do you use Trade Forum in your work?

A Trade Forum is for me an ideas box, a toolbox and a key part of my watch system.

An ideas box, because I find many interesting themes in it, which I use from time to time in my FAMEX clubs. The clubs are monthly informal gatherings to make new contacts and exchange ideas. They are for company managers, consultants specializing in trade and senior public officials responsible for export development.

A toolbox, because i get very useful tips and success stories that I can put to use right away--for example, the research on national branding which appeared at the end of 2005.

A key part of my watch system because the ITC news stories as well as the publications and information products keep me informed about what's happening in the organization and help me stay in touch with its staff.

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Q Do you prefer the print or the online version?

A I use both versions, which are complementary. With the print magazine, all the articles are within easy reach. So I can read it at my own pace in the evenings or at the weekend without needing access to the Internet.

The online version is a useful archive, allowing you to find articles with a simple click. In fact, I think it's a shame that the articles on the web site only go as far back as 1999. Couldn't they go back further? Some stories and tools are still relevant, even after 20 years. As "best-sellers", they never go out of style.

Q was there a subject or issue of the magazine that was of particular interest, and why?

A Above all, everything about the services sector interests me. This sector is still not well known, in spite of its potential to aid development.

I'm also curious about country cases and best practices. It's always enriching to see how others respond to the various challenges linked to the structural and growth needs of small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) in their own countries.

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Q Are there any subjects you would like to see addressed in Trade Forum?

A My interests are varied. For example:

* What new comparative advantages do economies like Tunisia's have, faced with competition from China?

* Are there similar organizations to FAMEX in other countries? What has worked for them and what hasn't? What are the lessons and best practices we can draw from them? …

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