China and ITC announce partnership to support Belt and Road initiative

15 May 2017
ITC News

International Trade Centre to strengthen competitiveness of SMEs along the new Silk Road.

(Beijing/Geneva) – The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Government of the People’s Republic of China have announced that they will step up their collaboration to strengthen the trade capacities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) along the new Silk Road.

The announcement was made by China’s Vice Minister of Commerce, Wang Shouwen, and ITC Executive Director Arancha González, who signed a new cooperation agreement in Beijing on 15 May. The signing follows the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, a meeting to boost cooperation and connectivity and promote the building of railroads, ports, pipelines and other land and sea infrastructure joining China to Asia, Europe and Africa.

In support of the Belt and Road initiative, ITC and China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) will be working to jointly promote trade and investment, sustainable and inclusive growth, greater South-South cooperation and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

‘China has maintained sound cooperation and a good partnership with ITC for nearly 40 years. The Memorandum of Understanding signed between us today is a monument for our cooperation. MOFCOM and ITC will strengthen cooperation on the Belt and Road initiative, jointly promoting trade development, building trade capacities and improving trade facilitation among the countries along the Belt and Road,’ Mr. Wang Shouwen said.

Ms. Arancha González said: ‘ITC is pleased to strengthen its partnership with China to deliver greater inclusive growth for small and medium-sized enterprises along this modern Silk Road. The Belt and Road initiative will be a fundamental component of driving economic integration and ITC will be a strong partner in supporting trade facilitation reforms, sustainable value chains and good regulatory frameworks.’

Unlocking trade and investment

As part of efforts to unlock trade and investment potential between China and countries involved in the Belt and Road initiative, the collaboration will focus on promoting regional economic integration and South-South cooperation, improving regional trade facilitation, increasing export competitiveness, trade and investment, and building trade capacities in rural areas.

China and ITC already work together on other trade and development projects, including the Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa (PIGA). Supported by UK’s Department for International Development, PIGA encourages Chinese investment in the agro-processing and light manufacturing sectors in Africa to spur export-oriented growth and job creation.

China also supports the Enhancing Export Capacities of Asian LDCs project, which has trained more than 250 SMEs from six Asian least developed countries (LDCs) on how to export to China. Another key project partner is Alibaba, which is providing support through research on cross-border e-commerce.