In the past 60 years, ITC has assisted millions of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries around the world

    Six decades of trade-driven success

    Founded in 1964, the International Trade Centre started out as four people sitting around a desk brainstorming on how to create an effective trade organization to uplift the economies of the world. It is now a powerful institution of more than 400 persons of diverse backgrounds focused on ‘trade for good’.

    With its market-led and business-oriented approach, ITC has enabled entrepreneurs to become important engines of economic growth and employment in their communities and has informed global debates on trade-related technical assistance.

    ITC is an important development partner for policymakers, trade-related institutions and companies and is at the forefront of fundamental changes in the business of trade promotion and export development.

    ITC is proud to champion growth and resilience in developing countries around the world, including during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. We will continue to adapt to the world’s evolving trade environment and work towards sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the areas where we are needed the most.

    Meet our former executive directors

    Ms. González, a Spanish national, has extensive knowledge about international relations, trade and economics, coupled with broad experience both in the public and private sectors, as well as in management at multilateral organizations. Before joining ITC, Ms. González served as Chief of Staff to World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy from 2005 to 2013. During her tenure at the WTO, she played an active role in launching the Aid for Trade initiative and served as Mr. Lamy’s representative (Sherpa) at the G-20. Prior to working at the WTO, Ms. González held several positions at the European Commission, conducting negotiations of trade agreements and assisting developing countries in trade-development efforts. Between 2002 and 2004, she was the European Commission spokeswoman for trade and adviser to the European Union Trade Commissioner.

    During Ms. Francis’ tenure at ITC, the annual project implementation almost doubled the delivery of technical assistance with larger, multi-year programmes representing more than 50% of the portfolio. She led a change-management process which established a strategic planning and reporting cycle; mainstreamed Millennium Development Goals programmes for gender, environment and poverty; and introduced results based on management and accountability principles.  Ms. Francis came to ITC from Jamaica Trade and Invest, where she served as president for ten years. She was a member of Jamaica’s Cabinet Committee for Development and served twice as president of the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies and the China-Caribbean Business Council.

    Mr. Bélisle launched his career in the Canadian foreign service as an Assistant Trade Commissioner in Washington, DC. He later worked for Canadian Pacific Consulting Services, as Executive Vice President and for the federal government as Vice President of the Canadian International Development Agency. Prior to joining ITC, he served as Canada’s Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger. During his tenure, ITC created programmes, tools and publications for use throughout the developing world and increased the delivery of services by over 80%.

    Mr. Engblom studied law before joining Sweden’s foreign service. He spent more than 20 years in the diplomatic service and was also Head of Section in the Swedish Foreign Ministry, responsible for trade with Latin America and Eastern Europe. He also served as Swedish Ambassador to Bolivia and Peru. For nine years he worked in various managerial posts for the General Export Association of Sweden and was later appointed General Manager of the Swedish Export Council.

    Mr. Alexander studied economics and history in India before joining the civil service. He held various posts related to industrial development and foreign trade and a number of trade-related chairmanships, including the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade and the Export Inspection Council. He spent seven years as a senior technical adviser to the United Nations in industrial development, specializing in small-scale industries and industrial estates, and took part in his country’s trade negotiations with other countries.

    Mr. Santiapillai studied economics and pursued a career in the civil service. He held various positions concerned with (then) Ceylon’s bilateral trading relationships and with various international trade organizations, focusing on commercial policy, trade and commodity agreements, market research, trade promotion and trade representation. He spent four years as Ceylon’s Trade Commissioner in the United Kingdom in the early 1960s. This was followed by a period as Head of the International Commercial Relations Division of the Ministry of Commerce in Colombo, after which he joined ITC.

    Mr. Jacobson studied social sciences in the United States and spent the first part of his career in journalism and mass media activities there and as Director-General of radio networks in Trieste and Berlin. He then worked as a foreign business consultant to an Italian publishing house and as export manager of an Italian pharmaceuticals company. Before joining ITC, he was southern European regional representative of the Cotton Council International for five years.