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The International Trade and Industry Unit (ITIU), as part of the Subregional Headquarters of ECLAC in Mexico, focuses its work on Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) as well as Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. The principal responsibilities of the ITIU include investigation and technical assistance for the countries in the region in the areas of:

  • International trade and development
  • Competitiveness and international insertion
  • Regional integration
  • Industrial policy, value chains, and strengthening of the productive sector
  • Innovation and technological change

For the ITIU it is a priority to contribute to the design of public policies that promote sustainable economic development and distribution of the benefits associated with international trade, both between countries as well as between different economic actors within a country. Thus, the ITIU performs studies and offers technical assistance to support better positioning of countries in the region in their process of international integration, so as to better conduct negotiations with their principal trade partners. The ITIU periodically elaborates studies that evaluate the advancements made in national policies regarding international trade and the processes of international market entry, with special attention given to the effects of these policies on levels of economic efficiency and international competitiveness.

The ITIU also develops studies and provides technical assistance to the governments of the countries in the region in themes of productive development, such as: industrial policy, attraction and promotion of foreign direct investment, and technological change and innovation, among others. It is worth distinguishing the experience of the ITIU in aiding governments and the private sector in the design of strategies for the incorporation of micro, small, and medium enterprises. The methodology as well as specific examples can be found in the book “Strengthening value chains as an industrial policy instrument: Methodology and experience of ECLAC in Central America”.

The ITIU has a close relationship with the organizations that promote regional integration in the Central American sub region. In this sense, constant dialogue is maintained with the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA) and serves as the focal point of ECLAC in the Institutional Technical Assistance Group of the Mesoamerican Project.

Aside from research and technical assistance, the ITIU generates and contributes to the development of statistical trade databases for the Central American region. The ITIU created and maintains the MAGIC database, “Module for the Analysis of Growth of International Commerce”, allowing for the analysis of trade and competitiveness of exports to the United States with a level of disaggregation up to 10 digits. This important vision of country assistance is complemented by the promotion of expert meetings and training in areas important to regional integration and trade and industrial policy.

To contact ITIU´s team please use the email

To access the documents produced by ITIU, you can consult the digital repository of publications which contains all the intellectual output of ECLAC