STRENGTHEN Publication Series

Spotting Export Potential and Implications for Employment in Developing Countries

STRENGTHEN Publication Series Working Paper No. 5

Access to information about untapped export opportunities at the sectoral and product levels can help governments design policies and strategies that use export development as a means to foster inclusive and sustainable growth. By identifying products and markets for which a country has underutilized export potential, a country can seize export opportunities that have been missed and, in some cases, remove the bottlenecks that prevent the country’s firms from realizing their export potential. The International Trade Center (ITC) has developed a methodology to compute the extent of unrealized export potential at the sectoral and product levels given data on supply, demand, and trade costs. This paper, which is an outcome of an ILO-ITC collaboration, extends the methodology to measure how the utilization of a country’s export potential would translate into the expansion and upgrading of employment by population groups (e.g., women, youth, high- versus low-skilled workers, etc.). Such projections could inform a country’s development strategies as they provide information on the sectors and products that promise more of both export revenue and jobs.