?economy, Council of Foreign Relations staff members James McBride and
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Focusing largely on standards and regulations, both crucial to a firm’s generic value chain, the report found however that when authorities take steps to reduce compliance costs, the competitiveness of SMEs is greatly improved.
It also underlined an important shift which is seeing more and more developing countries setting voluntary sustainability standards (known as VSS, these are set by businesses and NGOs) which govern international trade together with public standards and regulations.
Findings show that while 75 percent of VSS originate in countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation
and Development, over a third of new voluntary standards are thought up in developing countries, up from eight percent in 1990.
The outlook also outlined that many regions across the world can increase their export potential “by directing regulatory efforts to boost SME competitiveness.”
In the Middle East and North Africa region for example, researchers found there is large untapped export opportunity in the fresh and processed food sec
tor, while metal and basic manufacturing represent 28.4 percent of Eastern Europe and Central Asia’s unexploited export potential.
In China, ITC estimated that telephone sets have an unrealized export potential of more than $100 billion, while other prod
ucts including automatic data processing machines and parts and accessories for printers also have potential.
held a meeting in Tokyo on May 26-27 to work out policy recommendations for the leaders.