Trade Promotion Capacity Building > International Trade Centre (ITC)

Strengthening Trade Support Institutions

The strengthening of Trade Support Institutions (TSIs) such as government administrations, trade promotion organizations, chambers of commerce and sector organizations, is a fundamental element in ensuring that trade capacity building is sustainable. Since ITC has no representation in the beneficiary countries, it works mainly in partnership with TSIs to achieve three objectives: strengthen the functions of the TSIs themselves, support the services that TSIs provide to the business sector and SMEs in particular, and enhance the role of TSIs in improving the business environment for trade.

  • Improving the functional system of TSIs: ITC develops and maintains a suite of tools that TSIs can use to improve their performance in servicing SMEs in developing countries. Training modules designed to build TSI capacity focus on institutional assessment, strategy and management, service portfolios, networking and performance measurement. ITC’s TSI benchmarking tools provide trade promotion organizations (TPOs) with an independent perspective based on comparison with good business practices of similar organizations. Powered by a maturity- based model of analysis designed and developed by ITC, the benchmarking programme enables TPOs to identify their strengths and weaknesses while offering a flexible learning platform for improvement. This programme will be extended to other TSIs from 2013. ITC employs methodologies for operating or establishing TSIs; provides training to perform business diagnostic surveys, to design business strategies, and to plan implementation; provides network opportunities at international level; and trains overseas representatives.
  • Supporting TSIs to deliver services to client SMEs: ITC uses a wide array of training packages and professional certification programmes to enable enterprises to improve cash management, trade flows and export management. It also provide TSIs with advice and training on how to develop and deliver appropriate information systems and services, with special emphasis on the collection and treatment of trade tariff and investment data.
  • Bringing TSIs into networks and developing the corresponding evaluation and performance measurement tools: By doing this, ITC provides TSIs with an opportunity to benchmark against their peers.
  • Strengthening the capability of TSIs to participate in export development, and strategy design and implementation: The objective is that TSIs improve their analytical capacities to develop and advocate in the area of trade development, including the possibility of building alliances and networks.

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