The International Trade Centre (ITC) is a joint technical cooperation agency of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations dedicated to supporting the internationalisation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), a mandate that combines focus on expanding trade opportunities with fostering of inclusive sustainable development through economic empowerment and job creation. ITC is 100% Aid for Trade agency, helping translate trade opportunities into trade impact for good.
ITC’s three objectives are to (i) strengthen the integration of the business sector of developing countries into the global economy, (ii) improve the performance of trade support institutions for the benefit of SMEs, and (iii) improve the international competitiveness of SMEs.
Trade, aid and investment play a critical role in generating the means of transformative change required to end extreme poverty by 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals adopted September 2015, reaffirm this position and have put trade, as well as technology, at the centre as an enabler of inclusive sustainable economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction, with equal opportunities given to all, in particular women empowerment.
ITC is responding to the 2030 Agenda. It’s SME Competitiveness Outlook, which combines analysis, thought leader insights and case stories about developing country SMEs in international markets together with the supporting country profiles, emphasises that SMEs are the ‘missing link’ to inclusive growth and a key element of development policy. For the gains from trade to be distributed equitably and benefit the economically vulnerable – and the majority of employees – SMEs have to be at the heart of our development efforts.