Vienna, 30 April 2008 - The Agency for International Trade Information and Cooperation (AITIC) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) concluded a relationship agreement, which formalises the cooperation between the two organisations on matters of mutual interest.
AITIC Executive Director Dr. Esperanza Durán, together with UNIDO Director-General Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, signed the agreement on April 25 2008. The signature ceremony took place in Accra, Ghana, during the 12th Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XII).
Through their cooperation, AITIC and UNIDO intend to exploit their respective strengths in order to offer trade-related assistance to less-advantaged countries. AITIC and UNIDO look forward to working together at the service of their members.
AITIC was established in 2004. It is an intergovernmental organization which assists resource-constrained countries in actively participating in international trade.
Through the provision of trade-related technical assistance and capacity-building AITIC assists its members in promoting trade-led growth. The agency provides free, tailored assistance, focusing on the information and analysis of trade and development issues. A priority area for AITIC assistance is Africa, although activities also cover the Caribbean, Central America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific.
Additionally, AITIC assists its participating members and other resource-constrained countries, especially least developed countries, in the organization of seminars, training sessions, workshops and meetings, preparation of background notes, information briefs and ad hoc documents prepared on demand on topics relating to international trade and development.
AITIC also assists countries that cannot afford to establish and maintain a permanent representation in Geneva. AITIC provides officials from these countries with constant information on trade-related developments through briefing notes and background information. AITIC also provides logistical support and temporary office space during the process of setting up a mission in Geneva.
The current focus is on agriculture, industrial goods, services, rules and trade facilitation. Other activities are related to technical assistance on sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, World Trade Organization (WTO) accessions, regionalism, trade policy reviews and promotion of public-private sector partnerships. Other development related areas in which AITIC is currently active and offering assistance are: implementation of the Aid for Trade and Enhanced Integrated Framework initiatives and economic partnership agreements.
As of 31 March 2007, AITIC had 66 members of which seven are sponsoring and 59 are participating members. AITIC is funded by Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The regular annual budget of AITIC is funded by contributions from the sponsoring members and by voluntary contributions.
AITIC has observer status in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Conference on the WTO and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore.
AITIC has signed agreements with UNCTAD, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the International Law Institute (ILI).
The fact that many UNIDO Member States are also members of AITIC enhances the potential for cooperation in several areas of common interest:
- Assistance to overcome supply-side constraints;
- Incorporation of trade into development strategies;
- Assessment of needs in trade facilitation;
- Promotion of transfer of technology and business knowledge;
- Support of environmentally-friendly industrialization;
- Involvement of the private and industrial sectors in the Aid for Trade and process of Enhanced Integrated Framework initiatives;
- Assistance to economies in transition to develop market-oriented trade networks.