WTO, UNCTAD & ITC Sign Data Sharing MoU
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WTO, UNCTAD & ITC Sign Data Sharing MoU

International bodies look to inspire digital business

The World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to advance the development of the sharing of trade data.

The agreement takes the form of an online platform — the Global Trade Helpdesk — which is aimed at providing businesses with faster and easier access to trade data and information on potential export markets.

An early version of HelpMeTrade.org was launched at the WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December 2017.

The signing of the MoU between Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD; Arancha González, Executive Director of the ITC; and WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo
The signing of the MoU between Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD; Arancha González, Executive Director of the ITC; and WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo

Under the MoU, the WTO, ITC and UNCTAD agree to further develop the platform, with the aim of improving the quality and accessibility of trade information needed by businesses to access market opportunities.

As part of the agreement, the three organizations will provide technical assistance to developing countries to help them maintain up-to-date information in the Global Trade Helpdesk and will raise awareness among MSMEs about how to benefit from this trade information.

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WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said: “Gaining access to information on tariffs and other requirements for accessing export markets imposes costs on firms wishing to trade, and for small businesses this can be a substantial barrier to market entry.

“The Global Trade Helpdesk is a joint endeavour to help remove this barrier by providing businesses with the critical information they need.

“It will be particularly helpful for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, which need reliable data to pinpoint export opportunities.”

Negotiations between the parties
Negotiations between the parties

Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, said: “The Global Trade Helpdesk is a practical tool that enables companies to access the data they need to make informed decisions about trade.

“It is an innovation that helps level the information playing field.

“Working hand in hand with our partners at the ITC and WTO, we’re addressing the needs of the trade community in a concrete fashion, and helping to transform actions into real results.”

Arancha González, Executive Director of the ITC, said: ‘‘ITC is extremely pleased to partner with UNCTAD and the WTO to ensure greater coordination and efficiency on trade information.

“Trade and market intelligence is fundamental for companies’ decision-making and competitiveness, in particular for micro, small and medium sized enterprises, and the Global Helpdesk is an important platform to facilitate greater coordination amongst the three agencies in delivering effective trade-related capacity building on the ground."

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