Countries / Territories

The ITC approach

  • approach our approach

    As frontrunners in trade strategy, ITC’s proven process results in a unique strategy tailored to a country’s profile, needs and goals.

    Our process

    ITC works with partner countries to develop unique strategies that are tailored to each country’s needs and goals. The steps to achieving export success are outlined below.


    1. Assessment: In order to gain an understanding of the country's background, specialized audits are conducted. These assessments provide an understanding of the country's current position, performance and competitiveness. Existing development plans and strategies are reviewed to ensure consistency with existing government objectives.

    2. Identification: ITC and partner countries work with policymakers, trade and investment support institutions, enterprises and development partners to identify constraints that limit export development, and international market opportunities.

    3. Prioritization: As resources are limited, prioritization is essential. Prioritization is done among sectors and within sectors to identify the best opportunities for sustainable economic growth. Prioritization is also done among key trade support areas as to benefit the whole economy.

    4. Design and action planning: The design of a national export strategy results in an agreed plan of action between policymakers, institutions, enterprises and civil society. This plan of action is detailed, and sets targets and timelines, allocates activities and assigns implementers.

    5. Implementation: To ensure the strategy is implemented, ITC’s assistance continues after the design of the national export strategy is completed through our strategy implementation management programme. ITC provides tools and support to enable countries to strengthen institutional capacities, guide implementation and manage resources. 

    A comprehensive approach

    To be truly relevant, a strategy must have a combined competitiveness and developmental orientation. A strategy’s comprehensive approach enables prioritization across four dimensions:


    Supply-side capacities: Supply-side issues address the country’s capacity to effectively respond to opportunities in the international marketplace. These include:

    • Capacity development issues relate to export production capability – with regard to productivity, volume, quality and value addition.
    • Capacity diversification involves the production of new product lines and new products or services.
    • Human capital development concerns the need to generate, and continuously upgrade, the country’s vocational and technical competencies.

    Quality of the business environment: Business environment issues address regulatory and administrative procedures that delay or dissuade export transactions. These include:

    • The cost of doing business in a country.
    • Trade facilitation and regulatory reform reviews regulations, administrative procedures and documentation requirements.
    • Institutional support addresses the quality of institutional offers related to the needs of potential exports and investors.

    Market entry: Market entry issues address constraints that hinder market access and market entry. These include:

    • Market access and policy reform relate to negotiations of market-entry conditions and effective management of external trade policy through an assessment of tariffs, non-tariff barriers and related entry issues on the country’s medium- to long-term export prospects.
    • National promotion and branding raises the country’s profile by building and reinforcing its international image to boost exports and inward investments.
    • In-market support facilitates trade for the export community through the coordination of export promotion activities, dissemination of trade information, and identification of commercial opportunities.

    Development goals: Development issues reflect the extent of the export sector's contribution to economic and social development. These include:

    • Poverty alleviation and gender issues relate to measures that can reduce poverty, especially income poverty, and provide equal opportunities for men and women.
    • Environmental sustainability and climate change concerns maximizing synergies between environmental sustainability, export development and competitiveness.
    • Regional development and integration involves constraints that limit integration and development of regional economic groupings.

    Leveraging ITC's state-of-the-art analytical tools

    Our strategy design process leverages the wide variety of tools developed and maintained by ITC. These tools enable our strategy specialists to provide state-of-the-art analyses to our clients. Many of the tools ITC maintains are used by private sector consulting firms and other international organisations. These tools include:

    • Export Potential Map: The Export Potential Map is a tool that identifies product–market combinations for more than 200 countries with export potential. The tool also indicates which products have export diversification potential.
    • Trade Map: The Trade Map is an interactive online database that provides users with highly dis-aggregated data on export volumes and values. This data supports the trade information needs of exporters and importers, trade support institutions, trade policy makers and academic institutions in developing countries.
    • Market Access Map: The Market Access Map is an interactive online application that provides users with highly dis-aggregated data on tariffs for individual products. This data supports the trade information needs of exporters and importers, trade support institutions, trade policy makers and academic institutions in developing countries.
    • SME Competitiveness Surveys: SME Competitiveness Surveys assess the strengths and weaknesses of enterprises and their business ecosystem. The surveys provide a comprehensive overview of the state of SME competitiveness in an economy.
    • Benchmarking tool for trade and investment support institutions: A management tool for TSIs to assess their performance, efficiency and effectiveness against globally recognized good practice.

    If you would like to learn more about ITC's trade development strategies, please contact us.



    Enquiries should be directed to:

    Anton Said

    Chief, Trade Development Strategies Programme
    +41 (0)22 730-0588

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