What Are the Different Types of International Trade Agencies?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
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Some international trade agencies, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), are large and complex and focus on numerous aspects of foreign trade. Entities such as the Agency for International Trade Information and Cooperation (AITIC) and the World Fair Trade Organization focus on providing assistance to those in poorer nations. Sometimes, as is seen with the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), international trade agencies are concerned with benefiting a single nation, even if it is not poor.

The WTO, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, is one of the most globally recognized entities in this group. There are a wide range of WTO agreements, which are complex legal rules that are developed through negotiations. The agency helps countries to develop these rules and encourages agreement. One of the primary goals of the WTO is to help facilitate trade by promoting adherence to principles that result in free trade, fair competition, and trade without favoritism among nations. When it is necessary or beneficial, the agency also helps to support trade barriers, such as those that would protect consumers from exposure to harmful imported products.


AITIC is another of the international trade agencies based in Geneva. The focus of this agency, which is mostly funded by developed European nations, is to provide information to some of the world's poorest countries. The type of help that the AITIC offers include informing those without access to the WTO about new policies or changes implemented by that organization that may affect or benefit them. The AITIC also helps to enable poor countries to obtain goods or services that they may need by way of trade instead of having to purchase those items.

One of the oldest international trade agencies is the ICC, which was founded in 1919. This agency considers itself to be the voice of international business, and it is an avid supporter of multilateral trade. Helping nations to gain access to global markets is one of the highly notable tasks that the ICC engages in. Through its experts, who are divided into commissions, the ICC analyzes almost every aspect of trade, from banking to international property rights to maritime transport. The agency also has commercial crime services, which address issues such as counterfeiting and cybercrime.

The WFTO is an entity whose goal is to help ensure fairness throughout the supply chain, especially with regard to small-scale producers who tend to be overlooked when policies and structures are developed and implemented. It is composed of members who pledge that they are wholly committed to to this cause by applying the principles of the organization. Monitored members are allowed to display a distinguishable fair trade logo to represent their complete commitment to fair trade to the public.

Although independent, the USTDA is an entity funded by the US Congress. It is focused on helping US businesses to find development projects abroad. By helping businesses to exploit the opportunities to export their goods and services to these markets, the USTDA aims to boost domestic employment. To accomplish the goal, the USTDA offers grants to foreign entities who sponsor projects. In return, those sponsors select US providers to supply them with goods and services.


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