SECO wants to maximise the number of producers and SMEs in developing countries that gain from globalisation, i.e. the progressive opening up of markets and the internationalisation of value chains. The key here is to make companies more competitive and facilitate their market access.
More international trade brings the prospect of more jobs and equal opportunities for developing countries. To export with success, companies depend on various services and instruments that improve their competitive standing.
SECO contributes with the following measures:
Promoting exports from partner countries
Customs procedures, quality requirements, certification, market intelligence, packaging and product labelling: these are just some of the challenges every exporting company has to learn to deal with. For newcomers on the market, they often pose a considerable barrier to entry. SECO thus works to build technical and institutional capacities in partner countries, so that they can fulfil those requirements. It enables export promotion agencies, business associations and other support organisations to offer reliable advice to potential exporters. This gives new entrants the knowledge they need to overcome export barriers.
Sustainability as a competitive advantage
Today’s consumers and buyers want to know the conditions under which products are manufactured. In many export sectors, standards and labels on ecological and social criteria have become the norm. SECO helps exporters deal with such standards. It ensures that more information is available on standards and also that producers learn how to apply these standards efficiently and improve their marketability. SECO supports efforts by the organisations that develop and implement such standards. These align the requirements with the needs and capacities of SMEs and small-scale producers.
Facilitating market access
Developing countries often have significant export opportunities in agriculture or the garment industry. However, customs duties are still relatively high in these sectors, representing a considerable cost factor for exporters in developing economies. Tariff preferences relieve exporters – particularly those in the poorest developing countries – from customs duties and quotas.
Contact with importers
For manufacturers in developing countries, the demand and legislation on foreign markets often represent a huge unknown. Accordingly, SECO engages with potential exporters in partner countries to facilitate access to Swiss and EU importers. In particular, it helps exporters prepare for and participate in international trade fairs. Such events offer producers an opportunity to meet with potential buyers.