New initiative to provide data on potential export markets

WTO director-general Roberto Azevêdo signs the MoU to provide better access to trade data in the presence of Arancha González, executive director of the ITC, and Mukhisa Kituyi, secretary-general of Unctad.

An initiative to advance the development of a Global Trade Helpdesk designed to help businesses, and particularly small businesses, gain faster and easier access to trade data and information on potential export markets is gaining momentum.

This after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the World Trade Organisation, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) and the International Trade Centre (ITC).

An early version of was launched in December 2017. Under the MoU, the three organisations agree to further develop the platform, with the aim of improving the quality and accessibility of trade information needed by businesses – and in particular micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) - to access market opportunities. As part of the agreement they will provide technical assistance to developing countries to help them maintain up-to-date information in the Global Trade Helpdesk and will raise awareness among MSMEs about how to benefit from this trade information.

“Gaining access to information on tariffs and other requirements for accessing export markets imposes costs on firms wishing to trade, and for small businesses this can be a substantial barrier to market entry,” said WTO director-general Roberto Azevêdo.

“The Global Trade Helpdesk is a joint endeavour to help remove this barrier by providing businesses with the critical information they need.

In addition to drawing on data from ITC, Unctad and the WTO, the help desk will integrate trade information from a number of other international organisations and development banks, including the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the World Bank Group.

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