Press releases

Investing $1 in promoting trade yields huge results for exports and growth, ITC study finds

4 February 2016
ITC News
Investing in Trade Promotion Generates Revenue is based on data from 94 countries and assesses the impact of the work of TPOs on national trade performance, including growth in exports and on GDP.

(Geneva) – Just one dollar more spent on helping companies to develop and improve their export activities and trade can generate an increase of US$ 384 in a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and US$ 87 worth of additional exports, according to a new study published by the International Trade Centre (ITC).

The study, Investing in Trade Promotion Generates Revenue, is based on data from 94 countries, with a special focus on 14 countries that are members of the European Trade Promotion Organisations (ETPO) network . It assesses the impact of the work of trade promotion organizations (TPOs) on national trade performance, including growth in exports and on GDP per capita.

TPOs, and increasingly Trade and Investment Support Institutions (TISIs) are active in most countries. They provide vital services and expertise, including, market intelligence, financial assistance, such as credit and insurance, and assistance with transport logistics, product certification and participation in trade promotion events. Some TPOs promote exports across all sectors while others focus on a limited range of non-traditional exports.

The findings of Investing in Trade Promotion Generates Revenue will be presented on 5 February during a meeting of the ITC Advisory Board on Trade and Investment Support Institutions Strengthening taking place at the World Trade Organization’s headquarters in Geneva.

The study shows that successfully promoting exports has positive spin-off effects on the domestic economy by raising productivity and competitiveness of non-exporting sectors.

In addition, the study found that the way in which a TPO is run also makes a difference. Some practices result in faster and higher export growth than others such as having private-sector representation on the TPO board, charging fees for services, targeting a few sectors and countries, and focusing on established exporters. Results also show that investing in country branding and also focusing on small and medium-sized firms can help GDP per capita to grow faster.

Arancha González, Executive Director of ITC, said: ‘This is a broad-based, rigorous economic study that confirms the positive relationship between investing in a trade promotion organisation and greater economic growth. It provides important policy insights for trade support institutions who can achieve exponential impact with targeted instruments and a clear focus on investing in trade and market intelligence. Supporting bigger firms helps boost trade. But helping small and medium-sized enterprises can have an even greater social and economic impact.’

Walter Koren, Director-General of Advantage Austria, said: ‘We are happy that this scientific study supports and strengthens our strong belief that TPOs provide a very high return on investment, help to develop a national economy and do contribute significantly to GDP growth of a nation.’

‘On behalf of the ETPO I would like to thank ITC and the University of Geneva for their effort, expertise and time spent to conduct this study.’

Download Investing in Trade Promotion Generates Revenue.

Notes to the Editor

Journalists are welcome to attend the presentation of the findings of Investing in Trade Promotion Generates. The presentation of the study will take place in at 12.30 on Friday 5 February at the World Trade Organization (Room E, third floor). The heads of trade promotion organization from Australia, Benin, Costa Rica, Finland, Mauritius, Morocco, Spain, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe will also be present during the launch. Journalists wishing to attend are asked to kindly notify ITC Media Officer Jarle Hetland of their participation (see contact details below).

To download a copy of Investing in Trade Promotion Generates Revenue, please visit:

ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the UN Global Goals. For more information, visit Follow ITC on Twitter: @ITCnews


Contact: ITC

Jarle Hetland

Media Officer

P: +41 22 730 0145

M: +41 79 582 9180

E: hetland [at] (hetland[at]intracen[dot]org)