Written by Mekong Institute  

The Mekong Institute (MI) conducted a one week Regional Training Programme on Product Market Identification for GMS ” from April 29 – May 3, 2013 at its Residential Training Center in Khon Kaen, Thailand. This training program is part of the three-year project on “Capacity Building for the Integration of CLMV Economies into ASEAN Economic Community” from 2012-2014, funded by New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP).

Thirty participants from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Yunnan Province of PR. China attended this regional training programme. They were senior or mid level of officials and staff from government departments from Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Trade Promotion Agencies, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Business Association and business entrepreneurs.
The programme aimed to support SME through identification of external market for their exportable products. SMEs in the GMS countries have been producing a wide range of products capable of capturing the external foreign markets. However, it is common that SMEs in the first stage of internationalization would require support with systematic procedure and process of obtaining information about the external markets. With this backdrop, the training is designed with the following objectives:

  1. To facilitate the SMEs of the GMS countries in identification of external markets for their products.

  2. To develop a pool of experts from each of the GMS countries who are well acquinted with the product market idenfication process with the help of trade data and using simple but effective trade analysis tools.

  3. To develop a product – market identification system by using requisite software developed for the purpose and which can be readily used by different producers of GMS countries seeking external markets for their products.

  4. The training programme was designed and delivered using a modular training approach with three progressive stages: i) “Learn to Do” – training on concepts, techniques and tools to be employed; ii) “Do to Learn” – the participants were required to apply what they learned in their work assignments with proper coaching from assigned advisors; and iii) “Share to Learn” – the participants had an opportunity to present the results of their group work, learning experiences and lessons learned. Dr. Gautam Dutta, an expert in International Marketing and SME Cluster Development acted as lead resource person for the training. Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, an in house resource person, delivered sessions on strategies for export development through formation of export consortia. Mr. Sa-nga Sattanun also contributed through coordinating the programme.
The training programme was delivered through five inter-related modules:
Module 1: Understanding mechanism of international trade and documentation system of these trade data in trade data base systematically for future use by the traders, analyst and policy makers. This module also introduced trade data base like trade map to the participants.
Module 2: Understanding the product codification system like Harmonized System code (HS code) and use of these product codes used in trade. This module also developed a list of exportable products with the involvement of the participants for each of the GMS countries and identify HS codes for the products of export interest of the GMS countries.
Module 3: Understanding the different trade data analysis tools like Shift Share approach, Revealed Competitive Advantage, Trade Intensity Index.
Module 4: Using trade data for target market identification for selected product/products through systematic use of the trade tools, stage wise, and short listing the countries of export interest. Use of concept like relative growth vs. absolute growth in arranging the countries of marketing interest are also introduced.
Module 5: Understanding the level of competition in the target countries due to export by other countries. Understanding the market access requirements like tariff and non tariffs existed in the target market through use of trade data base.

As part of the training requirements, the participants developed action plans to identify top 20 exportable products from their respective countries The action plans, will be implemented within the framework of two months during June– July 2013.

The programme evaluation results revealed a high level of satisfaction among the participants.

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