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"
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
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
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.