Itc at a Glance

International Trade Forum, January 1, 2004 | Go to article overview

Itc at a Glance


OUR ROLE AMONG INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Since 1964, the International Trade Centre (ITC) has helped the business sectors of developing and transition economies to develop exports. Our ultimate goal is to help these countries to achieve sustainable human development through export growth with an emphasis on competitiveness.

Our daily contact with business executives and export strategy-makers over the course of four decades has given us a unique perspective and experience. We are known as a practical agency that has embraced reform, encourages partnerships and fosters innovation.

In the past 40 years, globalization has brought trade to everyone's backyard. Yet only a handful of developing countries have managed to seize the potential of trade for development. In today's world, our mandate is more relevant than ever.

Today, trade is recognized as an avenue for development, and many organizations support trade as a part of their work. Yet ITC remains the only international organization focused solely on trade development for developing and transition economies. We remain specialized, focused, flexible and client-oriented. To achieve our mandate, we work in partnership with national, regional and international bodies around the world.

Our ultimate clients are export-oriented firms, especially small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries. Our aim is to deliver relevant, world-class trade development services, in partnership with others, so that we serve as a catalyst to help countries create better jobs, and raise income, for their people. A complementary publication for ITC's 40th anniversary showcases examples of our work.

ITC shares the social development goals of the United Nations (UN), the Bretton Woods institutions (the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and, more generally, of the international community. ITC contributes to the UN's Millennium Development Goals, specifically to the goals relating to developing a global partnership for development, reducing poverty, promoting gender equality and ensuring environmental sustainability. We advise business on making the most of an open trading system; attend to the specifie trade development needs of least developed countries (LDCs); help countries apply the benefits of new technologies; provide support to women entrepreneurs; and promote environmentally-friendly export initiatives.

ITC's trade development approach reflects its emphasis on being a practical agency. We are a technical cooperation organization that builds national capacity through trade-related technical assistance programmes. This approach has been acknowledged in WTO's Doha Ministerial Declaration and in the Monterrey Consensus (the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development).

COMPLEMENTARITY

ITC is the joint technical cooperation agency of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and WTO for business aspects of trade development. The three Geneva-based organizations play a complementary role in trade development, and cooperation between our organizations is close:

* UNCTAD is the global forum for the integrated treatment of trade and development and the related issues of finance, investment, technology and sustainable development.

* WTO is the platform to negotiate multilateral trade rules, monitor their implementation and handle trade disputes.

* ITC handles strategic and operational aspects of trade development, focusing on exports.

How does this work in practice? Let us take, as an example, technical assistance for trade negotiations. UNCTAD helps governments develop local capacities to formulate trade negotiation positions. WTO disseminates and explains rules and agreements, and how to implement them from a legal standpoint. ITC clarifies the business implications of multilateral trade agreements and explains to exporters in developing and transition economies how they can benefit from trade rules. …

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