The International Trade Centre (ITC) has revamped its Market Access Map – an online trade analysis tool, to boost trade and facilitate the analyses of trade related policies for small businesses in developing countries looking to break into new markets.
This comes after importers, exporters researchers as well trade analysts and negotiators expressed various concerns saying that activities such as customs tariffs imposed on products ought to be more transparent in order to enhance trading activities.
Importantly, trade experts see this tool as essential for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in developing countries – which have limited access to reliable information about foreign markets, as this will in turn propel them to be competitive in the business environment.
Majority of small businesses in Africa find it difficult to navigate global markets to take advantage of existing opportunities due to the emergence of new trade relationships and increasingly complex trade barriers. The new Market Access Map will provide MSMEs with the necessary information and analytics to make the right export decisions such as finding potential trade partners and identifying products with export opportunities.
For example, a Ghanaian cashew exporter looking to export the produce to Europe can use the platform to search for market access conditions applicable to the produce in the European market. This would enable the exporter get market information such as customs tariffs, tariff rate quotas, trade regimes and tariff preferences, trade remedies and regulatory requirements. Having prior information, the exporter can chart a better export strategy and connect with potential buyers in Europe and other markets.
The revamped portal comes with enormous potential benefits not only to exporters and importers, but policymakers, trade and investment support institutions, researchers and trade negotiators to better understand and analyse market-access conditions.
Importantly, policymakers and Trade Investment Support Institutions such as Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) respectively, will be able to better identify prospective markets for exports diversification, develop better trade policies, and negotiate better outcomes in trade agreements and compare customs tariffs as well as other market-access requirements.
With regards to exporters and importers, the Market Access Map will assist them to find information and other market-access requirements quickly, easily and free of charge; it would also enable them to compare customs tariffs faced by their competitors in the market to be able to ascertain whether they have tariff advantage relative to their competitors.
The platform responds to users’ specific needs depending on their profile as well as ensuring transparency in trade through providing free and easily accessible data and trade-related information.
The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations which assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets.