About the Trade Strategy Map (TSM)
The Trade Strategy Map (TSM) is a repository of strategic policy documents dealing with trade and development issues from around the world. In an increasingly complex policy landscape, the tool allows policymakers, trade practitioners, donors and technical assistance agencies to access strategic policy documents from more than 150 countries.
The TSM database is made available free of charge by the International Trade Centre (ITC), the focal point within the United Nations system for trade related technical assistance (TRTA).
The Trade Strategy Map (TSM) is a repository of strategic policy documents dealing with trade and development that have been or are being implemented around the world. This is the first time that a systematized effort of this nature has taken place.
The database offers various levels of analysis, allowing users to sort documents by region, sector or country. Searches can also be conducted by thematic focus, e.g., gender, regional integration, trade finance and youth. In addition, users can examine the design of the document, e.g., whether the document is primarily country-owned, whether the design process was participatory or even whether strategic policy paper includes a plan of action.
Although the TSM includes documents initiated as early as 1993, its focus is on strategies approved between 2011 and 2012. Roughly half of the documents in the database are classified as international, including ITC-facilitated Trade Strategies, UNDAFs, PRSPs and DTISs. The database includes strategies directly initiated and implemented by local authorities covering a wide range of issues, including: environment, trade, economic growth, and education. Typically, the purpose of these strategies is to ensure long-term consistency in national policies.
The documents included in the TSM meet three conditions, including:
- A focus on trade and economic development;
- Are tools for strategic policy planning; and
- Are legitimated instruments of policy.
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With a view to increasing access to trade intelligence and furthering the global policy debate around trade and development, the TSM database compiles an exhaustive inventory of documents that have a significant development and trade strategy component.
The numerous ITC-facilitated trade and export strategies, PRSPs, DTISs, and UNDAFs can easily overwhelm and confuse trade strategy clients and donors. Despite similarities, these initiatives are based on entirely different methodologies and are not equivalent. The TSM, therefore, acts as the first step for trade strategy clients and donors in understanding the recent proliferation of initiatives, strategies and efforts to promote or mainstream trade in national development frameworks. Thus, the TSM will be useful for:
- Policymakers, as these will gain direct access to national documents and to comparable policy documents in related sectors from other countries;
- Development partners, as it will enable these to gain a better understanding of priorities formulated in existing national policies, helping to avoid policy duplication and encouraging policy alignment and synergies;
- Academics and researchers, as these will gain access to the most comprehensive and widely available source of information that can be used for policy-impact research on trade and development.
While the Trade Strategy Map facilitates the comparison of the different trade strategies, it is in principle not intended for benchmarking or ranking purposes.
The Trade Strategy Map is created by the Export Strategy section of the International Trade Centre (ITC), which focuses on trade development under a joint mandate from the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Export Strategy is the section responsible for ITC’s Trade Strategy Business Line, with the principal objective being to strengthen the capacity of partner countries to formulate, manage and implement trade development strategies.
ITC’s Export Strategy section:
- Facilitates the design and implementation of trade strategies (products and services) at the sector, national and regional levels
- Helps establish formal and operational public-private dialogue platforms as the basis for ES design and implementation (e.g. National Export Council, Coconut Board, Cassava Steering Committee)
- Assists with identifying national/sectoral priority objectives and actions, structured in a single Plan of Action, ready for implementation
- Helps manage strategy implementation, develop and plan projects, raise funds for implementation and guide coordination of Aid for Trade
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