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  • Creative Industries
    Creative Industries uses an individual's creativity, skill and talent for job and wealth creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property. ITC’s assistance in Creative Industries targets the sectors of artisanal products, visual arts and music in developing and transition economies by adding the entrepreneurial dimension and providing technical assistance to promote trade opportunities and develop producers’ export capabilities.

    While working directly with artisans, artists and musicians to increase their benefits by including their creations into domestic and international value chains, ITC enhances the services of the sector’s associations to their clients and encourages the integration of creative industries into national trade development strategies.


    Creative Industries are increasingly acknowledged worldwide for having enormous potential as engines driving economic and social development. Not only do they account for higher than average growth rate and job creation, but they are also channels of cultural identity which play a key role in promoting cultural diversity. Expand this section to access links to online resources related to Creative Industries.

    The creative industries sector accounts for 7% of the world’s GDP, growing at an annual rate of 8.7%. Even so, the majority of cultural goods are exported by developed nations, with developing countries accounting solely for 1% of total exports despite their rich cultural heritage and abundance of talent. The development of the creative industries sector is not only an engine to increase the share of developing countries in world trade, but can also directly benefit poor communities by generating income, creating jobs and empowering artists and people.

    Online Resources:
    ITC’s definition of Creative Industries, Visual Arts and Artisanal Products
    ITC’s position paper on the sector
    ITC’s sector chart

    Publications :
    Marketing Crafts and Visual Arts: The Role of Intellectual Property – a Practical Guide:
    This guide deals with the relationship between the successful marketing of crafts and visual arts, and the appropriate use of intellectual property (IP) system instruments. It:

    • identifies situations where obtaining formal IP protection ought to be considered
    • explains how to implement marketing and IP strategies within a business framework and marketing management process
    • and presents case studies and examples of managing IP assets in marketing from the craft and visual arts sectors in developing countries.

    International Craft Trade Fairs: A Practical Guide
    How to identify, select, budget, and plan participation in international craft fairs. It:

    • discusses advantages of participating in a fair
    • deals with product and stand design
    • product costing and pricing
    • promotional operations and material
    • stand management
    • interacting with stand visitors
    • matters to be finalized before and after returning to home country
    • includes check-lists and sector related reference material
    • presents and recommends the most important international fairs of the sector.

    International Trade Forum publications on Creative Industries

    Data and Research

    Expand this section to see the top exporting and importing countries for selected sample products.
    Click on the thumbnail to the left to see the top statuette and ornament exporting countries displayed on a map. Click on the thumbnail to the left to see the top statuette and ornament exporting countries displayed on a map.
    Click on the thumbnail to the left to see the top statuette and ornament importing countries displayed on a map.Click on the thumbnail to the left to see the top statuette and ornament importing countries displayed on a map.

    Advisory Services

    ITC’s assistance targets the sectors of crafts, visual arts and music -in developing countries and transition economies. ITC provides market information, training and advisory services to assist Trade Support Institutions (TSIs) to better support the sector, and to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in order for them to improve their competitiveness. ITC also works with policymakers to encourage the integration of a cultural dimension into national trade development policies.
     To achieve this objective, ITC enhances the management, marketing and product design skills of project partners, NGOs and companies. ITC furthermore facilitates training of producers in technical production aspects, association building, quality control and costing / pricing. To create linkages with international buyers, ITC offers training programmes in trade fair participation, from starting with the preparation of samples, promotional material, price lists, production capacity, etc., over participating in the fair itself to post event follow-up with the encountered buyers. Study tours to craft importing countries are organized to enable beneficiaries to understand trends, competitors and product presentation as well as marketing tours directly to selected buyers.

    TSIs and sector associations better serve their clients when they have the latest information and a far-reaching network. ITC provides access to networks and training to TSIs and sector associations on their own structure, on trade promotion and other services offered to their clients.

    Please refer to the list of advisory and training services publications and tools for creative industries.


    ITC organises hands-on training and workshops, for project partners, individual artisans and artists, trainers as well as institutions, aimed at creating internationally competitive enterprises and improving their ability to manage the functional aspects of trade, including e-commerce. Training is mostly delivered in collaboration with local partners, enabling them to pass on knowledge to entrepreneurs and business managers. These partners include: national governments (e.g. ministries of trade), trade support institutions such as chambers of commerce or sector organizations and NGOs.

    The following generic training materials is available, in addition to tailor-made training material in the framework of ITC's assistance:

    TPRP artistic cultural module (English)
    How to develop local artistic and cultural talents as well as better trade services in developing countries through the tourism value chain.

    TPRP Training module on handicrafts (English / Français)
    The module shows ways how handicraft producers in developing countries can better link to the tourism value chain in order to increase their income and to provide facilitators with the know-how to develop sustainable business linkages between handicraft producers and tourism markets.

    Product Costing and Pricing: Artisan as Entrepreneur: Training Module (English / Français / Español)
    Aimed at artisan entrepreneurs and craft organizations working with artisans - deals with elements, strategies, and formulas for calculating costs accurately and determining approprate prices for artisanal products; explains various stages of costing and pricing process and provides relevant exercises; includes case studies for practical learning.



    Geared to artisans, craft entrepreneurs and visual artists and their associations, in developing and transition economies, the list of online sites provides information on networking opportunities such as international trade fairs, biennials and exhibitions, events, online links to business contacts, and buyer-seller websites.
     The creative industries networks directory will help exporters find industry contacts and assist Trade Support Institutions with how to better advise their clients.


    For more information about ITC's Creative Industries related projects expand this section.

    Developing and implementing projects

    Through tailor-made technical assistance, ITC enables artists, artisans and musicians from developing countries and transition economies to meet international market requirements and thus enter the export value chain. The overall development objective of the projects and programmes is to reduce poverty, generate employment opportunities and income, as well as empower women to create a sustainable livelihood. 


    ITC also provides legal advice on how to draft contracts with buyers and/or agents relating to international and country-specific regulations to empower artisans and musicians to sell their products in a sustainable way and be able to make a living out of their creations. ITC collaborates in these aspects with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to explain decisive linkages between successful marketing and the appropriate use of Intellectual Properties by artisans, craft entrepreneurs, visual artists and musicians


    ArtisanConnect is a web portal dedicated to supporting trade in crafts from developing countries. The objective of the portal is to enable the craft sector to benefit from trade opportunities. It offers sources on markets, design, techniques and projects to artisans and keeps organizations up to date regarding trade fairs and other related events worldwide.

    The portal hosts an extensive database of organizations, glossaries, and useful links. With its large database of organizations, it endeavours to create intra-industry linkages, especially between developed and developing countries. Artisanconnect allows users to highlight or share their expertise and expand their network. One can contribute content to the site, discuss and comment on a particular document, find new contacts and partners.

    Mozambique Joint Programme on Creative Industries
    The Joint Programme for Strengthening Cultural and Creative Industries and Inclusive Policies in Mozambique is a 3-year programme funded by the UNDP/Spain Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDG-F). It aims to strengthen the role of culture in the development process of Mozambique through economic development and through the cross-cutting role of culture in other areas of development. UNESCO is the lead agency together with the other participating agencies ITC, ILO, FAO, UNHCR, and UNFPA. The Programme is taking place in the provinces of Inhambane, Maputo and Nampula. For more information, please refer the project brief.


    CARIFORUM creative industries promotion

    The project’s objectives are to (1) build capacity among selected micro, medium, and small enterprises to respond to international market demands, particularly with regard to product design and development; (2) enhance the capacity of Caribbean Export; the organization of Eastern Caribbean States Export Development Unit (OECS EDU) and national craft support institutions to provide improved services to the CI sector and to (3) increase awareness of the CARIFORUM creative industries sector. 

    Enhancement of Arab capacity for trade (EnACT)

    The project aims at reinforcing trade policy making function, trade promotion and enterprise competitiveness in five Arab countries: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. Ultimately, EnACT seeks to promote additional trade, both from the region outward and between selected countries. EnACT has a craft component and is built around four major output areas: (1) Trade Intelligence & Policy and Export Strategy; (2) TSI Strengthening for Export Competitiveness, (3) Market Development and Support for Enterprises; and (4) Gender and Youth Mainstreaming in Trade.

    Cambodian sector-wide silk project 

    The project contributes to achieve the vision of the sector-wide silk sector strategy: to create a competitive and well-organized silk sector that can generate income and employment to reduce poverty for all stakeholders along the supply chain. Concretely, the project has the following objectives: (i) increasing supply of flexible sized silk cloth in Phnom Penh for large producers and exporters; (ii) improving quality management through training of weavers in 50 villages and (iii) enhancing marketing and promotion of Cambodian silk and silk products, including the development of a quality label.


    Past Projects – some examples:

    Support to trade promotion and export development (Government and Sector Association level):


    • Cambodia: development of sector wide silk strategy
    • Viet Nam: arts & crafts - creation of an operational trade support network at the national level between government, TSOs and exporting enterprises and an effective trade information capacity
    • Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine (UEMOA): Programming assistance to the Commission of the UEMOA, in support of the “Programme communautaire en matière d’artisanat”. Design and formulation of a regional project on "Export Development and Promotion of Artisanal Products"


    Export-led Poverty Reduction Programme (Producer and Sector Association level):



    Export development for craft enterprises:


    • Sri Lanka: Development of private sector export capacity (gems and jewellery sector)
    • Buthan: Private sector access to export markets in the context of a WTO compliant
    • Tibet: Development of export market for Tibetan hand-knotted carpets
    • SADC: Trade promotion and development of crafts and visual arts


  •     World Tariff Profiles 2011
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