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Technical meeting

A technical meeting was organized by ITC in Geneva from 22 to 24 January to review an evaluation report prepared by an independent consultant on ITC's export packaging and export quality control activities and also to discuss ITC's draft medium-term plan for the 1992-97 period. A total of 77 participants from 48 countries attended, along with officials of GATT and UNCTAD. Seven packaging and quality control specialists from developing countries were also invited to participate in their personal capacity.

The meeting was financed by contributions from the Governments of Canada, Netherlands and Sweden.

The evaluation report and the report of the session containing participants' recommendations will be presented to ITC's Joint Advisory Group (JAG) in Geneva in April.

Commodities

ITC market promotion activities for selected jute products (mainly secondary carpet backing, jute geotextiles and yarn) continued during the quarter in Western Europe through participation in selected specialized trade fairs, advertising and the jute label programme. The project is financed by the Governments of Belgium and Switzerland through the International Jute Organization (IJO).

Promotional activities for a new 30-kg jute rice bag in Japan also continued through an ITC project financed by the Government of Japan, the Japanese jute trade and industry associations, and the IJO. Emphasis this year is on establishing the new bag in the market and on promoting the traditional 60-kg jute rice bag.

Preparatory activities for the promotion of sisal agricultural harvest twine in selected West European countries recently started, under a project financed by the Government of Sweden. Additional funds for the project have been pledged by the Brazilian sisal industry and the French trade.

ITC's in-service training activities with major coffee traders and roasters in Western Europe are continuing, under financing from the Governments of Switzerland and Sweden. In addition, an in-service training programme in cup-tasting, grading and trading of coffee with selected large coffee exporters in Kenya was held in Nairobi and Mombasa for ten participants from six small coffee-exporting countries (Philippines, Thailand, Haiti, Malawi, Liberia and the United Republic of Tanzania), financed by the Government of Switzerland. A similar training event took place in April and May in Abidjan for personnel from the coffee trade and industry of selected French-speaking African countries and Madagascar. This second activity was also financed by the Swiss Government and was carried out in close cooperation with the Stabilization Fund and the Inter-African Coffee Organization (IACO) in Abidjan. Sectoral surveys of the coffee industry have recently been carried out in Sierra Leone, Benin and the Central African Republic under the Swedish-financed project, and another such survey is underway in Haiti.

Seminars to disseminate the contents of ITC's Cocoa Trader's Guide continued during the quarter with training and consultations in with Sao Tome and Equatorial Guinea.

A trader's guide on oilseeds and vegetable oils will be published by ITC in the near future. Dissemination seminars and consultations will begin in May in selected Asian countries, under financing by the Government of Sweden.

Trade data analysis

An analysis of companies participating in Cameroon's foreign trade was recently published based on ITC's methodology of trade data analysis at the enterprise level, developed under a project financed by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. Under the same project, a study was also recently prepared on Spain's export and import channels, which focuses on Spanish trade with developing countries. ITC's adviser on the subject carried out a mission to Zimbabwe during the quarter in connection with the implementation of the methodology in the country. In Malta a work programme was recently developed for introducing the enterprise-level data analysis as a trade promotion tool.

Marketing centre

A feasibility study on creating a marketing and advisory centre for artisanal products from developing countries that was undertaken jointly by the European Community and ITC under UNDP financing will soon be completed. Subject to a positive outcome of the study, the two organizations will cooperate in establishing the proposed centre. The purpose of the organization would be to support devloping countries' efforts to expand production and exports of hand-crafted products, with services to be provided on a commercial basis. The concept was endorsed by a cross-section of ten developing countries in London in February.

Commercial representation

In January ITC participated in a refresher course in New Delhi for the Indian Commercial Representation Service. The training was organized by the Foreign Service Training Institute.

ITC's adviser on commercial representation abroad carried out a mission to the Tanzania Trade Centre in London in January and undertook a fact-finding visit to Argentina in March.

Chambers of commerce

As part of the preparatory phase of a new ITC project on developing a global trade information service for chambers of commerce in developing countries. ITC's adviser on chambers of commerce participated in a regional meeting of experts appointed by African Chambers of Commerce and Industry from 12 to 14 February. The meeting examined possibilities for improving the exchange of trade information between developing country chambers with the objective of promoting South-South trade. Similar regional meetings will take place in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean in the future. The preparatory phase of the project is financed in part by the Government of Denmark.

State-trading organizations

A high-level ITC delegation participated in the Third Assembly and ninth and tenth executive meetings of the International Association of State Trading Organizations of Developing Countries (ASTRO) in Jakarta from 29 January to 2 February.

An ITC adviser visited Maseru during the quarter to review the operations of the Trading Corporation of Lesotho and to advise on its future role.

Export quality control

ITC's adviser on export quality control recently attended the fifth meeting of the Expert Group on Standardization and Quality Control of the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) in Maseru, in which the SADCC programme on standardization and quality control was discussed. The programme includes the implementation by ITC of a project on developing effective quality control, standards and testing services for export products and packaging in the SADCC subregion, financed by the Government of Italy. The chief technical adviser of the project, based in Dar es Salaam, and one of ITC's export packaging advisers also attended.

The adviser also visited Maputo and Mbabane during the quarter for discussions on the development of standardization and quality control programmes under the same project.

Export packaging

During the quarter ITC's packaging advisers visited and provided support to packaging bodies established in cooperation with ITC in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Zimbabwe, and undertook factfinding and programming missions to Egypt and Malta. They also participated in packaging-related conferences or seminars in Baghdad, Casablanca, Colombo and Maseru under funding from the Government of Finland.

ITC's packaging information officer visited the United Republic of Tanzania in January to advise on the initial operation of ITC's Packdata computerized database there. The packaging project, financed by the Finnish Government, is intended to provide direct support to enterprises in the subregion.

As part of ITC's activities to develop packaging training courses, an ITC associate expert recently took part in an international packaging education conference in Berlin. As a result of the conference, ITC has been invited to provide one of the board members for a proposed international federation of packaging education bodies.

Import operations

An ITC mission recently went to Democratic Yemen to review the progress of a UNDP-financed project dealing primarily with import operations that started last year and to draw up a detailed work plan for this year. ITC also undertook technical reviews of project implementation during the quarter in Burundi, Senegal, Malawi and Mozambique under activities financed respectively by the Government of Switzerland (the first two projects), UNDP and the Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA).

Following a programming mission in December, ITC recently formulated a project proposal with the Government of Somalia in import management. The project is intended to strengthen the operational capacity of the Ministry of Commerce by establishing a documentation and information unit within the Department of Foreign Trade and to improve importers' skills.

An advisory mission on the organization and legal aspects of public procurement took place in Haiti in February, as part of a UNDP-financed import project.

A symposium on import management was organized in Senegal in March for Government authorities responsible for monitoring and administering imports and representatives of import enterprises and associations. It also served as a review of the national project on import operations that started last year, financed by the Government of Switzerland.

A final evaluation was undertaken in February and March of the national import management project in Rwanda that started in 1984, financed by the Government of Switzerland.

ITC carried out a mission to Zambia in January to finalize arrangements for a new type of subregional import training course being developed by ITC in cooperation with the Programme for Development Cooperation at the Helsinki School of Economics (PRODEC). The course will be conducted in stages between November this year and June 1991, under financing from the Government of Finland, for purchasing executives from countries in the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern African States (PTA) and the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC). Following basic import management training in Zambia, selected participants will carry out desk research on specific professional problems in Geneva; the third stage will be on-the-job training in West European enterprises, with the final phase, in Helsinki, focused on action plans for improving participants' imports operations. The organizers will follow up with advisory missions.

As part of a project financed by SIDA, jointly executed by ITC and the World Bank, to improve public procurement in sub-Saharan Africa, a meeting took place in Geneva in February concerning public procurement training. It was attended by representatives of four African subregional training institutions, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and ITC.

In March a two-day meeting was organized in Geneva to develop a methodology for training future trainers in import management in developing countries. It included specialist in import procurement from the United Kingdom and France, as well as from ITC.

ITC completed an audio-visual training package on bid evaluation in import procurement in March, financed by the Government of Finland.

Training

In association with the Programme for Development Cooperation at the Helsinki School of Economics (PRODEC), ITC continued a long-term programme aimed at strengthening selected training institutions in Lesotho, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe with a five-week course for trainers on export marketing and export market research, financed by the Government of Finland. The course began in Geneva, followed by market research projects in selected European countries, with the final sessions in Helsinki. A one-week follow-up workshop for the same group was held in Maseru from 28 March to 3 April.

In association with PRODEC and the Swedish Import Promotion Office for Products from Developing Countries (IMPOD), ITC organized a seminar on packaging exports of foodstuffs in Casablanca from 5 to 14 March. In addition to the sessions, consultations were held in the participants' enterprises from 15 to 24 March. Eighteen persons from Africa and the Middle East took part in the programme, which was financed by the Government of Finland and IMPOD.

ITC was invited by the International School in Bordeaux (EIB) to provide one week of lectures in a seminar on industrial information in February. Two ITC officers made presentations on applying microcomputers to the management of trade information and on using ITC's trade databank. Fifteen participants from francophone countries attended the seminar, which was financed by the French Cultural and Technical Cooperation Agency (ACCT).

At the invitation of the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI) in Arusha, ITC participated in a symposium on management strategies for sustainable development in February.

Regional roundup

Some highlights of ITC's activities by region: * Latin America and the Caribbean

Brazil: A seminar on the export marketing of tropical fresh fruits and vegetables was organized by ITC in the country during the quarter under UNDP financing.

Ecuador: A large-scale technical cooperation project with the Government recently started on the export development of toquilla straw products. The project, which is financed jointly by the Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany, Norway and Canada, is aimed at raising incomes, particularly of women in rural areas.

Guatemala: Within the context of a regional ITC project financed by the Government of the Netherlands, a market research exercise was recently conducted in selected European countries for Guatemalan frozen fruits and vegetables.

Honduras: A prospection mission was recently organized to the Middle East within the context of an ITC project financed by the Government of the Netherlands aimed at supporting the export development of cardamom and other spices.

Peru: At the request of UNDP and the Association of Exporters of Peru, ITC's adviser on the institutional aspects of trade promotion recently undertook a short-term advisory mission to the country to provide basic elements for a future export development strategy.

Uruguay: Within the context of an ITC technical cooperation project with the Government, financed by UNDP, a market study on dehydrated fruits and vegetables was recently carried out.

ASOEXPO: As part of a regional training project with the members of the Association of Export Promotion Organizations of Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic (ASOEXPO), ITC organized a workshop on the export marketing of fresh agricultural produce during the quarter financed by the Commission of the European Communities.

CDB: A series of roving seminars on the export marketing of floricultural products, combined with on-the-spot marketing advice, was conducted during the quarter as part of an ITC technical cooperation project with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The project is financed by the Government of Canada.

PLACIEX: Supply surveys covering selected product sectors were recently completed for 12 countries under the PLACIEX project funded by the Government of the Netherlands and UNDP. Market briefs on Latin American countries were initiated as part of the project activities.

International physical distribution: A study on the cost of the physical distribution chain for mangoes exported from the Andean Group countries was recently completed. At the same time a similar study for 20 selected exports from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay was initiated. The studies are part of activities of an ITC regional project financed by the Government of the Netherlands.

Joint ventures for export: ITC recently completed preparations for a regional meeting and bilaterial consultations between Spanish and Latin American enterprises working in fresh and processed agricultural products. The meeting will discuss possibilities of establishing export-oriented joint ventures. The event is being organized within a project financed by the Foreign Trade Institute (ICEX) of Spain to promote such arrangements.

Shrimp development: Under an ITC project financed by the Government of Norway to develop exports of shrimp and shrimp products from Central American countries, a market study tour was organized to Japan during the quarter for representatives of selected enterprises in Costa Rica and Guatemala. * Europe, Mediterranean and Middle East

Jordan: In the framework of a World Bank loan aimed at developing export industries, ITC was recently requested to formulate and implement an analysis of the present institutional set-up for export promotion in the country.

Somalia: An ITC mission recently went to Mogadishu for discussions on technical cooperation activities to be undertaken with the Somali Chamber of Commerce and Industry in trade information, trade fairs, legal aspects of foreign trade and training. In addition to that project, the Ministry of Commerce requested ITC cooperation in the international marketing of selected products, export packaging, import operations and training. Both projects will be financed by UNDP.

Regional: In January an ITC mission visited the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Riyadh, which has expressed interest in technical cooperation with ITC in promoting intraregional trade. A project proposal to be financed by the GCC is under preparation covering supply and demand surveys and promotional activities.

ITC was represented at a seminar organized by the General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for Arab Countries in Cairo from 8 to 10 January, attended by the directors of such organizations. The theme of the event was services that can be extended to the private sector in Arab countries. Following the seminar, ITC submitted a proposal to UNDP for the technical strengthening of Arab chambers.

ITC participated in a UNDP seminar in Tunis in February to discuss ways to promote trade between Maghreb countries. * Africa ECOWAS: High-level delegations from ITC, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Government of Italy inaugurated a trade promotion workshop on product selection and the methodology for supply and demand surveys in Rome from 15 to 19 January. The workshop, organized jointly by ITC and ECOWAS within the framework of a project financed by the Government of Italy, was attended by trade promotion officials and representatives of chambers of commerce from the 16 ECOWAS countries. The event was aimed at promoting export-oriented production and trade development within the subregion.

During the workshop products with intra-ECOWAS trade potential were selected, for which detailed supply and demand surveys will be conducted under the project over the next four years. ITC's methodology for carrying out such surveys was presented as part of the workshop programme. Other subjects covered were activities of the ECOWAS Secretariat to promote trade expansion in the subregion; physical distribution techniques, presented by UNCTAD; and the role of trade information in expanding intra-ECOWAS trade.

PTA: A PTA Leather Fair took place in Addis Ababa from 25 to 30 January. Over 100 companies from 12 member countries of the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern African States (PTA) attended the event, which was organized with support from ITC's project with the PTA Secretariat on trade and production development. In preparation for the fair, detailed supply and demand surveys had been made on leather products in 11 PTA countries, which formed the basis for a buyer-seller meeting held concurrently with the fair. Business transactions negotiated during the meeting amounted to several million dollars. The technical cooperation project is financed by UNDP, with contributions from the Governments of Austria and the Netherlands. * Asia and the Pacific

Jute: ITC participated in an expert meeting as part of government consultations among jute-producing countries, organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in New Delhi from 29 to 31 January and presented several market promotion projects for selected jute products.

Import operations: An ITC mission went to Malaysia in February to prepare a three-week seminar on import procurement of projects in the electrical sector for participants from Asian developing countries, to take place in May and June. The seminar will be financed by the Government of Finland.

Training: A one-week workshop on consultancy skills in international marketing was held in Kuala Lumpur from 19 to 30 March for 18 trainers as part of a regional ITC project to strengthen selected Asian training institutions in the foreign trade sector. The workshop was financed by UNDP.

Centre news contributors: B. Bhandari, C. Cellich, A. Chevalier, J.J. Jouvin, F. von Kirchbach, G. Langer, P. Lindholm, Y. Mori, S. Piskolti, J. Selin, E. Sierra, M. Thomas, D. Tunik and I. Vanore-Speer.
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Publication:International Trade Forum
Article Type:column
Date:Jan 1, 1990
Words:3187
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