International Trade Centre
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The International Trade Centre (ITC) (French: Centre du commerce international (CCI)) is a multilateral agency which has a joint mandate with the
World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN) through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Through its work, the ITC contributes directly to 10 of the Sustainable Development Goals. These include SDG 1 (no poverty), Goal 2 (zero hunger), Goal 4 (Quality Education), Goal 5 (Gender Equality), Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), Goal 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure), Goal 10 (Reduced Inequalities), Goal 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption), Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and strong institutions), and Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
The headquarters of the ITC are situated in Geneva, Switzerland. Their staff consists of approximately 300 employees spanning more than 80 nationalities. Furthermore, ITC has country-based project offices where they employ experts from the specific region.
ITC is the successor of the International Trade Information Centre, which the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) established in 1964 “for the purpose of assisting the export promotion efforts of the developing countries” by providing them “with information on export markets and marketing, and to help them develop their export promotion services and train the personnel needed for these services.” In an effort to streamline the United Nation’s export promotion efforts, an agreement was reached between the GATT, which at that time and in contrast to its successor, the WTO, was part of the United Nations system, and the newly established UNCTAD, to merge the activities of the two organizations by creating a joint subsidiary. The agreement was reached in 1967 and the International Trade Centre (the explicit reference to “information” was dropped) was officially established on 1 January 1968.
Role within the UN
The ITC enjoys a joint mandate with the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as with the United Nations (UN) through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Within this framework, ITC is the focal point for trade related technical assistance.
The ITC is involved in projects providing trade technical assistance in countries all over the world.
Advancing Afghan Trade
Launched in 2016 following Afghanistan’s accession to the WTO under the name “Afghanistan: Trade for Economic Growth & Regional Cooperation”, is an initiative undertaken by the European Union (EU) and the ITC that uses trade as a mean to create economic growth and jobs, to reduce poverty and to enhance regional cooperation. The goal of this project is to prepare Afghan enterprises to compete in regional and global markets by helping to provide a business-friendly environment and increasing Afghanistan’s trade capacities.
The programme consists of a three-year plan (2016-2019) and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is involved in its implementation.
It is funded by the EU and has a budget of 4.5 million Euros.
Ethical Fashion Initiative
The Ethical Fashion Initiative focuses on the specific skills of artisans and brings them to known fashion brands such as Stella McCartney, Marni, Vivienne Westwood, Edun and Camper. This synergy helps artisans from developing countries such as Kenya, Burkina Faso and Haiti to gain a living while it exposes the designers to unique skills and handmade goods. The initiative also involves mentorship programmes for aspiring African designers as well as collaborations on the continent.
Market analysis tools
EuroMed Trade and Investment Facilitation Mechanism
The EuroMed Trade and Investment Facilitation Mechanism comprises a free-of-charge online portal for country and product-specific information on tariffs and duties, import and export procedures, and market requirements. There are regular updates of the information thanks to a network of national focal points in each participating Mediterranean country. The EuroMed Helpdesk is available in English, French, Arabic, and Turkish.
The goal is to boost economic integration because due partly to a lack of availability and transparency of trade-related information, EuroMed countries don’t engage a lot in intra-regional trade.
The project has a duration of four years and is worth 8 million euros. It is funded by the European Union (EU). It supports SME export competitiveness and value addition in various sectors such as spices, food and Information Technology.
Gambia Youth Empowerment Project YEP
The Gambia Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) aims at the enhancement of the skills and employability of potential and returning migrants.
ITC supports youth employment and entrepreneurship through vocational trainings and partnerships with domestic and international skills development institutions and the private sector.
Netherlands Trust Fund – Phase III (NTF III)
The Netherlands Trust Fund III (NTF III) – Export Sector Competitiveness Programme started in 2013 as successor following NTF I and NTF II. It is based on a partnership agreement between the Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) affiliated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the ITC. The aim of the programme is to strengthen the export competitiveness of IT services in Bangladesh, Kenya and Uganda, as well as the tourism sector in Myanmar, the avocado producers in Kenya, and coffee plantations in Uganda.
The Non-tariff measures programme provides an interactive platform that fosters transparency and understanding of the obstacles that pose to international trade by limiting exports and imports through compliance to specific requirements.
The programme is a multi-agency initiative that helps countries to find solutions that take their respective specific needs into account. The Non-tariff measures programme is in close collaboration with national and regional stakeholders.
Promoting Intra-regional Trade
The Promoting Intra-regional Trade programme launched in 2013 focuses increasing the export competitiveness of honey, mango and spice producing SMEs in Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. It is a three-year programme that is implemented by the ITC in collaboration with lead organizations in each country.
Trade and environment
The certified natural resource based product market helps to reduce poverty and is good for the environment. However, standards and regulations as well as a lack of information and contact pose important obstacles for many entrepreneurs in developing countries to enter this market. The international regulatory framework poses further constraints on this trade. The ITC through its Trade and Environment Programme tries mitigate these constraints and to increase the capacity of SMEs to be competitive in this market.
Women and Trade
The Women and Trade Programme is an initiative aiming at connecting 1 million women entrepreneurs to trade by 2020. This initiative thereby contributes directly to the SDG number 5 by empowering women.
Within the Women and Trade context, the SheTrades initiative, which is a flagship program of the ITC, takes a preeminent place offering women entrepreneurs an online platform to connect to markets. The app allows female entrepreneurs to share information about their companies thereby increasing their visibility and enabling them to connect and internationalize. This helps to include more women entrepreneurs in the supply chains of corporations.
The platform was developed through a competition of suggestions for the platform. The winner, Greenbell Communications of Kenya, was able to team up with Google and CI&T to further develop his suggestion. The end product, the SheTrades platform, was launched in 2015 at the International Women in Business Forum in Nairobi. Since its launch, a growing number of organizations have already signed on to the platform to verify women entrepreneurs that are members of their networks.
Youth and Trade Programme
The Youth and Trade Programme focuses on providing a strong environment in which young entrepreneurs can evolve and receive assistance when needed. This helps them to grow and internationalize while at the same time providing income opportunities thereby helping the economy grow.
Export Potential Map
The Export Potential map is an online tool allowing businesses and countries to identify what goods and services to export and to where. The idea is that through the precise economic analysis provided by the Export Potential Map, companies can target new markets and policymakers can optimize their policies and support programmes for their exporters.
The Export Potential Map covers information about 222 countries and territories.
The Investment Map is designed to help investment promotion agencies (IPAs) in defining priority sectors for investment promotion, identifying potential investors in a given sector, identifying competitor countries for inward investment, and defining opportunities for bilateral investment. It holds a vast amount of information and statistics on foreign direct investment and international trade, tariff data and activities of multinational firms and allows an analysis by country, trading partner and sector.
The Investment Map was developed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and ITC in partnership with the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which is part of the World Bank Group.
Market Access Map
Market Access Map is a tool which provides information on applied customs tariffs including MFN tariffs and preferences granted unilaterally and reciprocally in the framework of regional and bilateral trade agreements. Users can find ad valorem equivalents (AVEs) for non-ad valorem duties in order to compare tariffs across countries and simulate tariff reduction scenarios. The application also covers tariff rate quotas, trade remedies, rules of origin as well as corresponding documentation, bound tariffs of WTO members, non-tariff measures (NTMs) and trade flows to help users prioritize and analyse export markets as well as prepare for market access negotiations.
Rules of Origin Facilitator
The Rules of Origin Facilitator provides free and user-friendly access to ITC’s database of rules of origin and origin-related documentation in hundreds of trade agreements. The Facilitator is also combined with the huge tariff and trade agreements databases underlying the Market Access Map, resulting in a market intelligence solution enabling companies, particularly ones from developing countries, to benefit from trade agreements worldwide. The Facilitator currently contains a data for more than 250 FTAs applied by more than 190 countries. This database is gradually expanding with the ultimate goal to cover over 400 FTAs and preferential schemes that are currently active in the world.
The Facilitator aims to help small and medium sized enterprises to increase trade by taking advantage of global trade opportunities in the form of low duty rates under trade agreements. The tool can also be used by policymakers, trade negotiators, economists as well as various other users. Any user can simply look for information on origin criteria, other origin provisions, and trade documentation by entering the HS code of their product.
The Procurement Map was designed by the ITC in order to boost entrepreneurship and market opportunities by offering users detailed information over 150 000 public tenders. The map allows users to undertake a search by country or economic sector. This allows them to identify potential buyers.
The Standard Map provides verified and transparent information on more than 200 voluntary sustainability standards and other similar initiatives covering issues ranging from food quality to safety. This allows producers, manufacturers, brands, retailers, researchers and policymakers to identify standards relevant for their own businesses, to compare them and save and share their sustainability diagnostic report with actors along the value chain via the Sustainability Network.
The Trade Map developed by the ITC offers strategic market research with detailed statistical information on international trade flows helps them gauge the competitiveness of national and sectoral trade performance and identify priority products and markets for trade development for both firms and trade support institutions.
SheTrades Global is a two-day annual conference. The first forum took place in 2011 and until 2018 the conference was called Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum.
Trade for Sustainable Development Forum (T4SD)
The Trade for Sustainable Development Forum (T4SD) is an annual leading global event organized by the ITC.
T4SD connects communities in policy and business, trade and sustainability, while challenging thought leaders to bridge the gap between debates on sustainability standards, supply chains, and international trade to work towards achieving the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs).
Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) World Conference and Network
Created in 1996 with the intention to offer a platform to facilitate the dynamic exchange of information, good practices, experiences and collaboration about offering export-oriented services among Trade Promotion Organizations (TPOs), the Trade Promotion Organization Network provides a platform where individual organizations may benefit from the synergies of TPOs working together in order to achieve continual and mutual improvement through online and offline forums.
The TPO Network World Conference takes place every two years and is open to all trade support institutions mandated to provide trade related technical support services.
During the conference, TPO Network Awards are awarded to leading national trade promotion organisations mandated by their governments to promote the export promotion strategy of their countries. TPOs participate in the TPO Network Awards in categories defined according to the economic development status of the countries where their national headquarters are located.
The World Export Development Forum (WEDF)
The World Export Development Forum (WEDF) is an annual global platform with the goal to develop SMEs. The first conference was held in 1999. The event is attended by more than 600 senior national and international policymakers, heads of trade support organizations, business leaders and representatives of international agencies.
WEDF comprises high-level plenaries, workshops and facilitated business-to-business meetings enabling participants to increase their practical knowledge in the latest innovations, processes and policies while expanding their networks.
ITC, with its goal to support SMEs and their development impact in international trade, collaborates with its partner organizations, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), for events in order to achieve its aim. Examples for this partnership include amongst others the WTO Public Forum and Aid for Trade conference.
ITC had since its creation in 1964 six Executive Directors. Twice in its history the position was vacant: in the early Seventies and the early Nineties.
ITC’s Executive Director is a senior international civil servant of the United Nations with the level of Assistant Secretary-General. ITC’s Executive Director as well as the Deputy-Executive Director are appointed by the heads of its two parent organizations: the Director-General of the WTO and the Secretary-General of the UNCTAD.
|Name||Start of tenure||End of tenure||Nationality|
|Herbert L. Jacobson||1964||1971||USA|
|Victor E. Santiapillai||1975||1979||Sri Lanka|
|Padinjarethalakal Cherian Alexander||1979||1981||India|
|J. Denis Bélisle||1994||2006||Canada|
The work of the ITC is financed by contributions from the private sector as well as resources provided by beneficiary countries and international organizations.
- United Nations
- World Trade Organization
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
- Trade and development
- International Trade Centre Staff (May 2018). Annual Report 2017 (PDF) (Report). International Trade Centre. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
- GATT (1967), “Joint GATT/UNCTAD Trade Centre: Note by the Director-General”, L/2890 (6 Nov 1967), page 7
- See General Assembly Resolution 2297, document symbol A/RES/2297(XXII).
- ITC, I. (2017). Our role in the UN and WTO. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/itc/about/how-itc-works/our-role-in-the-un-and-wto/
- ITC, I. (2017). Home | Export Potential Map. Exportpotential.intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://exportpotential.intracen.org/
- ITC, I. (2017). Foreign investment opportunities, FDI statistics, company data, trade and tariff data. Investmentmap.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.investmentmap.org/
- ITC, I. (2017). Procurement Map – Home. Procurementmap.intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://procurementmap.intracen.org/
- ITC, I. (2017). Standardsmap.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.standardsmap.org/
- (ITC), I. (2017). Trade Map – Trade statistics for international business development. Trademap.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.trademap.org/Index.aspx
- ITC, I. (2017). SheTrades Global. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/shetradesglobal/
- ITC, I. (2017). Trade for Sustainable Development Forum 2017. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/itc/events/t4sd-forum-2017/
- ITC News. (2016). E-directories launched for Ugandan, Kenyan IT businesses. ITC News. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/news/E-directories-launched-for-Ugandan-Kenyan-IT-businesses/
- ITC News. (2015). ITC launches export promotion training for Myanmar tour operators. ITC News. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/news/ITC-launches-export-promotion-training-for-Myanmar-tour-operators/
- ITC News. (2013). Netherlands contributes EUR 6 million to ITC for export-led job creation. ITC News. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/news/Netherlands-contributes-EUR-6-million-to-ITC-for-export-led-job-creation/
- ITC, I. (2012). ITC launches NTM survey in Tanzania. ITC News. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/itc-launches-ntm-survey-in-tanzania/
- All Africa. (2015). Kenyan, Tanzanian Mango Exporters Gain Access to Middle Eastern Markets. Retrieved from International Trade Centre. (2015). ITC partners with CFYI and YBI for youth entrepreneurship. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/news/ITC-partners-with-CFYI-and-YBI-for-youth-entrepreneurship/
- ITC, I. (2017). Promoting Intra-regional Trade in Eastern Africa. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/itc/project/Promoting-intra-regional-trade-in-E-Africa/
- International Trade Centre. (2017). Trade in Environmental Goods and Services: Opportunities and Challenges (pp. 25-27). Geneva. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/uploadedFiles/intracenorg/Content/Publications/AssetPDF/EGS%20Ecosystems%20Brief[permanent dead link]
- ITC Communications. (2012). US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognizes ITC’s work with women entrepreneurs. ITC News. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/news/US-Secretary-of-State-Hillary-Clinton-recognizes-ITC%e2%80%99s-work-with-women-entrepreneurs/
- ITC News. (2015). Kenya’s GBC team is the winner of the 2015 WVEF Tech Challenge. ITC News. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/news/Kenyas-GBC-team-is-the-winner-of-the-2015-WVEF-Tech-Challenge/
- ITC, I. (2017). Youth and Trade Programme. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/youth/
- International Trade Centre. (2015). ITC partners with CFYI and YBI for youth entrepreneurship. Retrieved from http://www.intracen.org/news/ITC-partners-with-CFYI-and-YBI-for-youth-entrepreneurship/
- “ITC”. Market Access Map. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
- Rules of Origin Facilitator. ITC http://findrulesoforigin.org/. Retrieved 4 June 2019. Missing or empty
- ITC, I. (2017). Trade Map – Trade statistics for international business development. Trademap.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.trademap.org/Index.aspx
- ITC, I. (2017). TPO Network World Conference and Awards 2018. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/itc/events/tpo-network-world-conference-and-awards/
- ITC, I. (2017). World Export Development Forum. Intracen.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/itc/events/world-export-development-forum/
- For short bios of each of the six Executive Directors, please see Stephen Browne and Sam Laird 2011, The International Trade Centre: Export Impact for Good, Routledge, pages 31-32.
- For an overview of all positions paid out of ITC’s regular budget, please see the biennial budgeting and planning documents of the UN General Assembly. For example: General Assembly 2009, Proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 Part IV International cooperation for development Section 13 International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO, Document symbol A/64/6 (Sect. 13)/Add.1. The UN’s Official Document System provides a convenient search tool for such documents.
- ITC, I. (2017). Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.intracen.org/about-itc/ITC-Funders/
- Official website
- Export Potential Map
- Investment Map
- Market Access Map
- Procurement Map
- Standard Map
- Trade Map
- Rules of Origin Facilitator
- EuroMed Trade and Investment Facilitation Mechanism