Letter from the field

1 April 2022
ITC News

ITC Executive Director mission to the border city of Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado, Guatemala

We hear a lot about adjusting to trade. How change is a good thing. How we need to make way for efficiency and progress in international borders, and how these changes are a good thing.

And they are. Better trade facilitation means that industries can grow. It raises the purchasing power of families. It creates business opportunities and value chains and economic transformation.

But that doesn’t mean that change comes without a cost. That’s why I came here to the border between Guatemala and El Salvador.

I came to visit the community of Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado. A community of traders, customs brokers, service providers and families that has thrived for decades on cross-border trade - but whose livelihoods are now at risk from a measure to move the border post - a move that will benefit their country but impact their community.

That’s why ITC partnered with USAID and municipal authorities here in Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado to give the community hope after this trade shock. That’s why, together, we built a project called CRECER: Creating Resilience and Employment for Communities in Remote Environments.

Its a project that understands that if you’re trying to survive, you can’t dream. CRECER helps remote communities make their dreams a reality.

We did a full analysis of new opportunities in the local market. We engaged with the ITC’s constituency of micro, small and medium sized businesses and local authorities. We set up training sessions in service sectors like gastronomy, transport and personal care. We trained hundreds of women and young people.

This work is paying off. It’s helped MSMEs pivot into new opportunities to serve their own community. The skills and opportunities generated by CRECER will give young people a future right at home and rebuild economies ravaged by the pandemic.

This work lies at the heart of our vision of inclusive trade. ITC understands that if we want to build a consensus around the benefits of trade, we need to not only build export champions but also support those trading at the margins.

ITC is committed to supporting communities like Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado make the most of trade. We are committed to making trade a road to a better life.


1 April 2022