TradeMalta hosted the European Trade Promotion Organisations (ETPO) Working Group meeting in Malta between the 27th and 29th of September. The meeting was attended by representatives of 23 Trade Promotion Organisations from Europe. Over the two-day conference the participants discussed the latest practices in export and trade promotion and how Governments should assist SMEs in finding international markets.
The Malta meeting proved to be a very successful one, with active participation from those present and a line-up of speakers from both academia and industry. Professor Pavlos Dimitratos and Dr Margaret Fletcher from the Adam Smith Business School of the University of Glasgow delivered a key note presentation on the developments in the export assistance services offered by Trade Promotion Organisations. The scholars, together with Mr Joe Schembri from TradeMalta, presented evidence that TPOs are customising their services to the requirements of SMEs while striving to identify high potential ones to accelerate their internationalisation.
The study found that at the same time, TPOs are upgrading the role of their network of overseas offices to provide more knowledge-intensive services. Their zooming in on high potential SMEs and their traditional focus on sector and clusters can be at odds, a strategic dilemma that was observed in the interviews which were the basis of the paper presented.
The authors outlined the practical implications for TPOs, in their orientation and internal set up as well as the way they measure performance. The study, based on structured interviews as well as documentation from 14 European agencies, was very well received and led to discussions thereafter.
The next ETPO Working Group meeting will be held in Prague in April 2018.