ITC and Switzerland launch Global Trade Partnership to empower small businesses and promote sustainable trade

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International Trade Center (ITC)
International Trade Center (ITC)

Through the new contribution agreement, SECO will invest CHF 8 million throughout 2021-2025 to strengthen the competitiveness and resilience of small businesses across developing countries with a focus on global public goods. Ms. Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, State Secretary and SECO Director, and Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of ITC, signed the contribution agreement during a ceremony in Bern today. This initiative reconfirms the collaboration between the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO and the International Trade Centre (ITC).

The funding will help sustain and expand tools and platforms that enable small businesses connect to international markets, trade more sustainably and tap into digital opportunities. This includes the International Trade Centre’s work on the Global Trade Helpdesk, a multi-agency initiative that simplifies market research for small businesses by integrating trade and business information into a single online portal. Another priority is StandardsMap, a unique platform providing neutral information on over 300 voluntary sustainability standards (VSS). The partnership also focuses on strengthening business support organizations, the economic empowerment of women and linking small businesses to the digital economy.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ms. Ineichen-Fleisch highlighted SECO’s longstanding collaboration with the ITC and particularly stressed ITC’s important role in providing global public goods. ‘We share the same objective of promoting sustainable and inclusive trade. With this new contribution, we want to provide ITC with more flexibility in its operations and further strengthen its capacity for innovation.’

Ms. Coke-Hamilton said: ‘We are grateful for Switzerland’s continued trust in ITC. ITC and Switzerland share the common goal of a more sustainable economy. Through this contribution we can help small businesses to make a green recovery and it gives us the flexibility required to respond swiftly to the priorities of our beneficiary countries. I thank the people and the Government of Switzerland.’

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