The International Trade Centre helps SMEs in developing countries to meet technical requirements in international markets and overcome technical barriers to trade (TBT/SPS), the most frequent obstacles to trade. To help SMEs find related information, conform to requirements, and demonstrate compliance in a cost effective manner, our services are delivered through a mix of following services, designed and delivered with partner trade support institution.
Technical requirements in importing countries are difficult to obtain and not well understood. Technical requirements refer to standards, technical regulations, SPS measures and conformity assessment procedures. Increasing proliferation and constantly varying requirements in different countries and sectors makes it difficult particularly for SMEs to engage in international trade. ITC conducts awareness-raising seminars and provides practical information through tools, guides and bulletins for SMEs to understand standards and technical requirements.
SMEs find it difficult to adapt their products and processes to conform with technical requirements due to limited capacities and know-how. Moreover, they encounter difficulties in demonstrating compliance due to absence of a commensurate technical infrastructure. ITC builds capacities and competencies of SMEs with quality-related trade support institutions i.e. National Standards Bodies, Conformity Assessment Bodies, and National Enquiry Points in coordination with national trade development, export promotion organizations, SME development agencies and sector associations.
ITC provides technical assistance in the area of quality management through its over 150 projects around the world. These projects may be national, regional, or global, depending upon the request from partner agencies in beneficiary countries. Project or programme-based interventions provide for a demand-driven, holistic, coordinated approach that maximizes impact and sustainability.
Partnership, joint implementation and ownership are the cardinal basis of capacity building. Almost all interventions are designed with and delivered through national and regional partners. These may be quality-related trade support institutions i.e. national standards bodies, accreditation agencies, testing laboratories, certification bodies, and inspection bodies in most instances, in close consultations with trade development, export promotion, sector associations, as well as regulatory bodies.
A number of awareness raising and capacity building workshops are held throughout the year. Moreover, ITC holds consultation workshops in order to improve linkages and collaboration between national trade promotion bodies and national standards bodies.
Senior Adviser, Export Quality Management