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    ITC showcases programmes for non-Geneva-based WTO delegates

    Delegates of WTO member countries visit ITC as part of Geneva Week to learn about the agency’s work in addressing non-tariff measures, boosting trade in services and how including more women in trade can benefit their countries

    ITC Communications
    November 14, 2013
    The International Trade Centre (ITC) has for the first time in the history of Geneva Week hosted delegates of non-Geneva-based World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries at ITC headquarters, opening up new opportunities for collaboration on programmes and delivery of services.

    Geneva Week, taking place from 11–15 November this year, brings together representatives of member countries who cover WTO matters from other cities. Its aim is to inform them about recent developments at the WTO and now, the latest happenings at ITC, as well.

    ITC Executive Director Arancha González opened the session held on 13 November. It also featured presentations by ITC experts on solutions and programmes for developing and least developed countries (LDCs) about non-tariff measures and standards, trade in services, electronic solutions, regional programmes and products, the Women and Trade Programme and the Ethical Fashion Initiative.

    ‘At ITC we are involved not just in assisting you to adopt and align with multilateral and regional trade rules, but to help you see the opportunities and possibilities which trade offers to you by providing the tools to allow your SMEs – the main drivers of growth in your economies – to fully use trade as a platform for growth, development and employment generation,’ Ms González said.

    The ITC session comes just weeks ahead of the WTO Ninth Ministerial Conference in Bali, where negotiators will focus on coming to an agreement on trade facilitation, agriculture and development in LDCs.

    Baturu Camara-Ceesay, a Senior Trade Officer at the Gambian Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, attended the ITC session. ‘Access to information is very important, but also helping them to be able to utilize the information is very important, so I was very, very amazed to see some of the things they are doing,’ she said, describing the impact of ITC’s programmes. ‘If you’re talking about support to SMEs, you have to be able to know what are the quality issues, the standard issues and the NTMs that are affecting exports,’ she said.

    Ms Camara-Ceesay added: ‘If you want to talk about support to SMEs, in our part of the world, you have lots of women. The women project […] will go a long way in enhancing their capacity to be able to access the global market in terms of their entrepreneurship.’

    Services sector

    For Kevin M. Arthurton, a Project and Research Officer at the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs of Saint Kitts and Nevis, ITC’s work in developing services sectors of developing countries and LDCs is a key area of assistance.

    ‘I think the good thing about ITC is they are pushing towards the regulations of services, which is the key part of services – because it is intangible,’ said Mr Arthurton. Another key area, he added, is ITC’s work in targeting the growth of information-technology (IT) sectors.

    ‘[The IT infrastructure] is easy to set up but it’s not easy to manage, and I think that comes with capacity building and skills building with individuals who don’t necessarily have a big store front. The things that draw to my mind are the Amazons and the eBays, where you go online for a particular product, it pops up, you order it and somebody mails it to you,’ he said. ‘So that was important, that touched a nerve – you actually see an avenue where it becomes plausible. And when it becomes plausible, that’s when you become empowered.’