• back

  • Assessment and benchmarking
    A Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) needs to know where it is performing well, and where it needs to improve. The Benchmarking programme helps TPOs improve their performance by measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of their business practices.


    Benchmarking yields information about good management and business practice. Benchmarking exercises help TPO management set objectives, prioritize areas for development and, if necessary, change working methods. The ITC Benchmarking programme establishes a set of relevant measures, and a community of peers who can benefit from each other’s knowledge and experiences.
     The programme surveys all the activity areas of a TPO including strategy and governance, resources and processes, products and services, and results measurement. The information generated through the benchmarking programme establishes standards of good practice and allows TPOs to see how their performance compares with TPOs regionally, globally and with similar client profiles against key performance indicators. A customized reporting facility is available for participants in the programme.

    Data and Research

    The benchmarking programme began in 2008 with a comprehensive literature review and with a broad consultation by ITC with trade support institutions from developed and developing countries to identify common themes, challenges and issues.
     Field studies and expert meetings with trade development practitioners provided a rich body of knowledge and practice which is being continually developed and validated through events like the World Export Development Forum and the TPO Network World Conference and Awards.

    The data and survey results gathered from these consultations is being used to benefit not only TPOs themselves but also development partners including the World Bank, the ISO, the ILO and other international technical assistance agencies which provide TRTA assistance.

    Advisory Services

    TPOs may elect to conduct a self-assessment or take advantage of an assisted approach which allows for processes and practices to be objectively examined through a diagnostic process implemented by ITC experts.
     The results detail the areas where the TPO is performing well and those areas that may require development or improvement. Recommendations on support programmes will also be provided. ITC’s parallel institutional capacity building programmes have been designed to provide an integrated approach to TPO strengthening and can be included as part of the advisory service.


    Training is provided to the facilitators and advisers to strengthen the capacity of lead partners to act as multipliers of the benchmarking programme.
     For the TPO beneficiaries, once the benchmarking approach has identified areas for improvement, a capacity building programme comprising training modules and advisory services can address the weaknesses and strengthen the TPO’s capacities to deliver impact. The institutional capacity building modules address the following topics: institutional assessment, institutional management, service portfolio design, networking, and impact measurement. The modules will continue to grow and will be developed in partnership with other agencies serving particular segments of the TSI community


    The benchmarking programme is being rolled out globally through partnerships with development agencies, and the support of donor governments. Individual projects at a national and regional level are being undertaken to field test ITC’s approach.
     Applications are customized to meet the needs of TPOs working within priority export sectors, target groups (eg women entrepreneurs) and functional specialism (eg export training, quality standards, etc).