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    From the Executive Director

     

     
     
    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/1999

    The year 1999 looks promising for ITC beneficiaries. While 1998 marked the end of a comprehensive organizational reform, 1999 and future years will be devoted to increased field activities aimed at national capacity building and benefiting from ITC's enriched technical assistance tools and its ever-growing "product- network" approach.

    The year 1999 looks promising for ITC beneficiaries. While 1998 marked the end of a comprehensive organizational reform, 1999 and future years will be devoted to increased field activities aimed at national capacity building and benefiting from ITC's enriched technical assistance tools and its ever-growing "product- network" approach.

    Demand for ITC's product range and partnership in the development of the export capability of the private sector is buoyant. Over 30 partnership agreements with public- and private-sector agencies are already in place, diffusing the benefits of ITC's benchmarking, diagnostic and other export business improvement tools. Effective collaboration with other international organizations is expanding rapidly. Some of these recent developments are reflected in part in this magazine, and will be reviewed more thoroughly at the next Joint Advisory Group (JAG) meeting to be held in Geneva from 19 to 23 April 1999. ITC partners and beneficiaries are strongly encouraged to participate in the meeting.

    In the past year, ITC has launched web sites such as Juris International, the Services Exporting Homepage and the Market News Service, and updated many others. This is reflects ITC's increasing attention to bringing the benefits of information technology and, in particular the Internet, within the grasp of small exporting businesses.

    This issue's Close-Up section, "Investing in the Internet", takes another step in that direction. It targets small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries. How can businesses use the Internet to improve exports and imports? Which businesses are most suited to sales and marketing via the Internet? What are the experiences of small firms? Are there "lessons learned" for executives wishing to integrate the Internet in their business strategy?

    I hope that the tips, case examples, web site addresses and expert opinions expressed in this section will help businesses develop their own practical solutions to increase exports.

    Finally, allow me to thank readers for their enthusiastic response to the magazine's new format and orientation. Several readers have already signalled interest in contributing to the Partners: News and Views section.

    I encourage all our readers to contact our Editor to share their experiences on export development and trade promotion. We continue to welcome your contribution and feedback. This helps us develop and provide the information most relevant to you.