Quality for Trade Platform expected to drive SME growth

GENEVA-BASED International Trade Centre (ITC) and ARISE Plus Philippines said they will launch the Quality for Trade Platform geared towards opening up export opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Joshua Olson, associate management and program analyst of ITC, an arm of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, said many businesses don’t know basic information about exporting.

“With this platform, we can grow this body of expertise… (potential exporters) can come to one place to find institutional expertise or services that can be provided,” Mr. Olson said.

The platform will have four tools called Quality Compass, Quality Connect, Quality Insights, and Quality Success.

“We have four tools that serve a distinct purpose, but also connect very relevantly to the other tools in an integrated way,” he said.

Quality Compass, Mr. Olson said, collates the scattered information related to export requirements, standards, and market preferences in one tool.

“The information is out there… But it’s not necessarily tailored toward SMEs; it’s not in a format where I can find everything I need to know about this particular product in a structured and guided way,” he said.

“This is where the quality compass tool comes in. It’s really about simplifying the complexity,” he added.

Quality Connect provides a network of quality expertise.

“The second part of all of this is, now that I know what these requirements are, who can help me build towards compliance? Who are the people (and) institutions that can help me?” Mr. Olson said.

“The idea is that an SME can go to this tool and find the information on their product and then follow that up with finding the expertise that can help them comply with that particular requirement,” he added.

ITC aims to build a comprehensive service provider directory of institutions within the Philippines composed of testing laboratories, certification bodies and accreditation bodies.

“The Quality Insights tool serves as a resource library for learning more about quality-related topics,” Mr. Olson said, describing it as a “repository for browsing different, more generic quality topics, finding information on practical guides or quality related technical materials.”

The Quality Success tool allows quality champions to inspire readers with past successes.

“These are the stories from people who managed to overcome a particular quality-related hurdle,” Mr. Olson said.

The tool will remain under development and additional features and information will be added over time, Mr. Olson said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile