UN calls for technology and cooperation to boost poor countries' trade

19 February 2003

A United Nations trade body has called for new technologies and cooperation between governments, business and international organizations to help entrepreneurs and small- and medium-sized enterprises in the world's poorest countries boost trade through strategic marketing.

"Despite the challenges and risks posed by globalization, increasing international interdependence and the proliferation of new technologies are key factors that can enable businesses from the world's 49 least developed countries (LDCs) to penetrate key niche markets around the world," Denis Belisle, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), said in a briefing yesterday at UN Headquarters in New York.

The Geneva-based ITC is the focal point in the UN system for technical cooperation with developing countries in trade promotion, and acts as an executing agency of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

"Upgrading coffee production to gourmet status and holding international auctions over the Internet and exporting translation services are examples of marketing opportunities the ITC has used to help LDC-based business," Mr. Belisle said.

The strategy focuses on products that may or may not derive from raw materials but have more value added, stimulate more employment and fetch a higher price on the international market, he said.

But Mr. Belisle warned that LDC exports were severely limited by demand and supply-side constraints and unfavourable market access in rich countries.

The 49 nations classified as LDCs currently account for less than one-half of one per cent of global trade.

The session was sponsored by the Office of the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States and moderated by the High Representative, Anwarul K. Chowdhury.

 

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