Western and Central Africa
Eastern and Southern Africa
Eastern Europe and Central Asia
This year’s SME Competitiveness Outlook focuses on standards and regulations. The report combines data analysis, academic insights, thought leader opinions and case studies to provide guidance for policymakers, business managers and standard setters.Standards and regulations have a major impact on SME competitiveness. By meeting the standard for trade, the theme of the 2016 edition, SMEs increase their chances to connect to international value chains and consumers in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner.The report contains:
Executive Summary [English] [French] [Spanish] [German]Full Report [English]Part I : Standards and Regulations Matter [English]Part II : SME Competitiveness and Export Potential [English] Country Profiles and Technical Annex [English]Launch event programme
Chapter 1: Standards and Regulations – a part of our daily lives
Standards and regulations are an integral, if easily overlooked, part of our daily life. They determine whether a plug fits into a socket or whether one mobile phone can connect to another. They determine whether water is deemed safe for human consumption, whether a medicine can be sold to the public or whether a financial institution is allowed to accept deposits and provide credit.
Chapter 2: Running a business: Standards every step of the way
This report shows just how widespread standards are at every stage of a firm’s internal value chain, and in its interaction with both suppliers and customers. The point is that, from the business manager’s perspective, the presence of standards and regulations is felt across the business.
Chapter 3: Zeroing in on sectors and products
The report discusses the types of standards and regulations present in 13 sectors, and concludes that although commonalities exist, standards and regulations are highly sector and product specific.
Chapter 4: The impact of standards and regulations on competitiveness
Smaller and less productive firms find it harder to cover fixed costs to comply with standards and regulations. This report finds that a 10% increase in the frequency of regulatory or procedural trade obstacles encountered, decreases the export value of large firms by 1.6%, and by 3.2% for small firms.
When standards are set by for-profit organizations, producers and other stakeholders are more likely to share implementation and certification costs with suppliers in their chain. Accessing IVCs, however, is easier said than done. SMEs must reach a certain level of competitiveness before they can access IVCs and reap the benefits. If you can’t access the chain, you get left behind.
Chapter 5: The manager’s perspective
This report highlights where managers can find relevant information, how to assess the costs and benefits of compliance, how to implement standards, how to demonstrate compliance and how to use standards to boost sales.
Chapter 6: Making Standards and regulations work for trade
A key finding of this report is that resource constrained governments often have to make strategic decisions with respect to which product lines they will support with new or better internationally recognized technical infrastructure. To make these decisions, the report suggests that governments assess the following factors:
This report presents a 5 point action plan for policy makers and trade and investment institutions (TISIs) who wish to think strategically about SMEs’ ability to compete in markets where standards and regulations matter.
By combining data on a region’s export potential and the technical regulations it faces in destination markets, the report can inform policy makers on which sectors to prioritize when thinking about strategic investments in technical infrastructure.
Middle East and North Africa:
Latin America and the Caribbean:
Eastern Europe and Central Asia:
The first seminar in support of the Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment, which over 120 WTO members and observers endorsed on the margins of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference, will be held on Friday 16 March 2018 at the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland...
The Hungarian National Trading House (HNTH), in collaboration with the International Trading Centre, has conducted a firm level data collection exercise to assess the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in three key sectors of the country’s economy ...
Businesses and policymakers have strategic choices to make about selecting and investing in standards, a key to international value chains. This session outlined key findings of ITC’s flagship report “SME Competitiveness Outlook 2016: Meeting the Standard for Trade” and showed how businesses and policymakers can address these issues...
As part of the 2015 Trade and Development Symposium taking place in Nairobi, ITC and IDB are organising a joint session to discuss how SMEs can effectively connect to global markets. The increased integration of developing countries into the global trading system continues to transform the trade landscape. The logic of such integration is that firms can no longer just rely on being competitive in the domestic, or even regional, market to ensure their long-term survival. Watch the event here.
ITC presented its new annual flagship publication, the SME Competitiveness Outlook 2015. This year’s theme was: Connect, Compete, and Change for inclusive growth. The report contains rich data for trade and investment institutions, and investors.
In 2015, ITC launched its new Working Papers series. The first set of working papers focus on SME competitiveness, trade and development.
At this ITC policy debate first findings of the forthcoming ITC SME Competitiveness Outlook were presented to the Geneva based policy and trade expert community as part of ITC’s consultation exercise on the forthcoming flagship publication.
In preparation for the launch a new flagship publication on SME Competitiveness, ITC organized a workshop where the authors of the SMEs, Trade and Development Series presented their initial findings. You can find more information including their presentations here.