The International Trade Center (ITC)is a joint agency of the WTO (WTO) and the United Nations (UN). ITC’s mission is to increase the competitiveness of the private sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by building export capacity, reducing trade-transaction costs and deepening regional integration through trade facilitation measures. Trade facilitation has important implications for a country’s export competitiveness.

As a 100% Aid for Trade agency, ITC is uniquely positioned through its mandate from the WTO and the UN to play an essential role as an active provider of capacity building services to support exporting SMEs — particularly those in developing and least developed countries (LDCs) — with the objective of promoting inclusive trade and alleviating poverty. ITC is a leading player in private sector development and achieves its objectives by leveraging its network of Trade Support Institutions (TSIs) and Trade Promotion Organizations (TPOs) around the world as well as its networks with the business community.

ITC’s work in Trade Facilitation Programme

ITC’s Trade Facilitation Programme Strategy 2015-2020 (TFPS) aims to increase the competitiveness of the private sector by building export capacity, reducing trade transaction costs and deepening regional integration through trade facilitation measures. Small and Medium-size Enterprises (SMEs) suffer disproportionately from inefficiencies in customs procedures and other border administration measures. Even while governments and business representatives work together to overcome these challenges, in the longer term, ITC’s new trade facilitation programme assists trade support institutions and SMEs in getting their goods across borders faster and cheaper. We do this by facilitating tangible changes that reduce exporting bottlenecks.

The ITC’s Trade Facilitation practice responds to four (4) ITC strategic objectives:

  1. Implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement: Assisting countries to comply with TFA short term requirements; increasing SME involvement in National Trade Facilitation Committees; enhancing transparency and access to documents; and efficiency in cross border procedures through inter-agency cooperation and capacity building
  2. Promoting regional integration: Coordinated and harmonized implementation of TF reforms at regional level, and improving the efficiency and modernization of cross-border procedures
  3. Enhancing trade support institutions (TSIs) and policies for the benefit of exporting enterprises and trade facilitation service providers: Solutions to comply with established cross-border formalities and industry protocols; enhancing transparency and access to information and documentation, and increasing SME involvement in public-private dialogue
  4. Building SME capacity to benefit from reformed Trade Facilitation measures: Strengthened ability of SMEs to comply with cross-border procedures and dispute settlement mechanisms, and strengthened capacity of women engaged in informal cross-border trade to go formal and to establish self-help associations

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