The World Trade Organization, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and the International Trade Centre recently signed an agreement to advance the development of an online platform aimed at making it easier for companies across the world (particularly micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises) to increase their participation in global trade and reduce trade costs and helping policymakers make better-informed decisions about trade and investment.

A joint press release states that the Global Trade Helpdesk will contain comprehensive information from various sources on market requirements (e.g., tariffs, taxes, and relevant health and safety standards for export products), export and import procedures (e.g., pre-shipment formalities and certification and inspection processes), business opportunities (e.g., market prices and upcoming events), and current trade statistics. Development will take place over three three-year phases but the platform is scheduled to be fully functional in phase 1.

Under a recent memorandum of understanding, the WCO, UNCTAD, and ITC will provide technical assistance to developing countries to help them maintain up-to-date information on this platform. They will also work to raise awareness among MSMEs about how to benefit from this trade information.

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