• back

    Business enterprises directly benefit when their countries become a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).  The effects are tangible for businesses that work in both the international and national markets, but those benefits can only be used to the best advantage when companies fully understand the accession process and the changes it implies in trade. 


    Accession to the WTO creates a number of rights for the business community. The improved rule-based system is designed to promote the expansion of international trade. The system’s primary goal is to provide liberal, secure and predictable access to foreign markets for the goods and services of exporting enterprises. This allows business enterprises to work within the parameters of clearly identified arrangements.

    WTO accession helps to ensure that enterprises can market their products internationally under competition conditions that are equitable and predictable without the disruptions caused by the sudden imposition of restrictions. The implementation of accession commitments measures can create both opportunities and challenges for the business community. 

    Business communities in countries with which ITC works, however, are often not adequately equipped to understand the opportunities and challenges which stem from the WTO trading system. This is mainly due to the complexity of the system, which sometimes prevents business communities from taking an interest in, and getting acquainted with, its rules.  ITC provides assistance to the business community to understand the commercial implications of WTO accession. 

    For further information, see our two-pager. 

    Data and Research

    ITC provides the latest information on trade rules and their commercial implications. It also provides specific updates on countries going through the accession process.

    Case studies on the experience of implementing the trade policy and regulatory reforms: 


     ITC’s Business Briefing e-mail newsletter targets the business community.  It provides a regular summary of all of the news on WTO debates, accessions and disputes, as well as information on the Doha Development Round.  The electronic version of the World Trade Net Business Briefing is updated on a daily basis. 

    Advisory Services

    ITC provides information to the business community about the commercial implications of WTO accession, including explaining rules of the multilateral trading system in clear and concise language, providing regular updates on WTO negotiations, and online briefings of the latest trade news and views.

    Before and during the accession process, companies are often unable to articulate their view to government negotiators. ITC provides mechanisms for discussions among the parties. It also assists enterprises, including SMEs, to articulate their interest and priorities to trade negotiators. 

    ITC shares the actual experience of countries that recently joined the WTO in seizing new business opportunities and coping with challenges. This enables the acceding country to take an informed position in the accession process. 

    ITC guides the stakeholders to develop coherence among trade policy and regulatory regimes for export development. 


    ITC provides customised training on "Trade Policy for Business managers," which focuses on commercial perspectives of integrating with the global economy.
     ITC also provides training in use of trade and tariff databases and their analysis to enable business managers to seek products and market diversification strategies.


    Expand this section to see our ongoing projects.
    • WTO Accession: Ethiopia
    • WTO Accession: Laos
    • WTO Accession: Pacific LDCs
    • WTO Accession: LDCs in early phase of accession
  • Highlights

    ITC hosts debate thumbnail

    Without proper focus on services, further trade liberalization cannot lead to the productivity gains necessary to unlock the growth potential in many developing and developed countries, participants at a seminar in Geneva said yesterday.

    Russia Accession to the WTO

    With Russia now firmly within the WTO family, a new paper aims to bring the country’s SMEs up to speed with the new reality.

    Jean-Marie Paugam in Moscow_bb

    Deputy Executive Director says ITC is ready to assist Russian SMEs adapt to WTO rules

    Russia joins WTO

    ITC looks forward to support businesses coping with new opportunities and challenges as Russia and Vanuatu become the trade body’s 156th and 157th members.

    Woman and child on field(B).

    Government officials at ITC meeting in Juba reiterate South Sudan’s intention step of efforts to join global economy.


    ITC Executive Director, Patricia Francis, today welcomed representatives from the Tajikistan government and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) to ITC headquarters for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the three parties desire to work together on Tajikistan's accession to the WTO...


    Ethiopia has a better chance of becoming a member of the World Trade Organization than any other least-developed country, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said. This is largely due to Ethiopia's status as the second-most populous African nation, with more than 82 million inhabitants, even though other LDCs have bigger economies, Lamy told Mulu Solomon, president of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, on January 30 in Addis Ababa...

    WTO Ministerial Conference opening

    Innovative ways of thinking are necessary in order to respond to the ever-changing global economy, according to Patricia R. Francis, Executive Director of ITC. In her speech during the opening session of the WTO MC8, Ms. Francis emphasized that ITC is reinventing itself to keep up with the changing environment in order to provide state of the art value to the poorest countries...


    When I opened the 31st formal, and final, Working Party on the Accession of the Russian Federation to the WTO, jubilation and excitement were in the air. It was among the most eagerly awaited events at the WTO, bringing to a close 18 years of talks between...


    ITC Deputy Executive Director addresses annual advisory group meeting Addressing the annual Joint Advisory (JAG) meeting, Jean-Marie Paugam, Deputy Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC) emphasized four innovative contributions...