The Commonwealth countries have a huge untapped trade and investment potential. Their exports to the world amounted to US$ 2 trillion in 2015 and their combined market in terms of imports from the world was around US$ 2.3 trillion. However, intra-Commonwealth trade amounts to only 14% of the total Commonwealth global trade. Given their common language, similar legal & political institutions and diverse membership, the cultural distance between these countries is relatively much shorter than their physical distances.
In order to actualize this existing potential trade and investments opportunities within Commonwealth countries, the Commonwealth Secretariat launched India-Commonwealth SME Association (ICSA) in June 2016 name of which was further broad-based to Intra Commonwealth SME Association. (In its earlier Avatar, the Association was by-product of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s study on “India’s Global Value Chains: Linking LDCs” where export opportunities for lead products of India were identified in 50 markets including USA, EU, UK, RCEP countries, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and South Africa as well as potential market access into India to link into India’s Global value chains was identified 20 LDCs and 3 South Asian countries.)
The main objective of ICSA is to provide a sustainable platform for exporters and importers to regularly meet, build awareness of existing global standards as well as to encourage regional and extra regional investments in areas where the countries have competitiveness but lack capacity.
Problems faced by the SME sector in the Commonwealth countries are similar, mainly in terms limited access to finance, slow incorporation of latest technologies, Lack of awareness of international standards, lack of quality assurance, lack of research and development, innovation of new products, etc. ICSA aims to overcome some of these problems through initiating satiable platforms on sharing innovation, knowledge, technology, etc. It will link the SME sector and enable Indian firms to source their inputs more competitively while it will help LDCs to improve their supply capacities as well as diversify their export baskets. It will therefore help in enhancing and diversifying the exports of Commonwealth countries. This is first of its kind Association where SMEs are at the front and connect the Commonwealth countries.
 Antigua and Barbuda, Kenya, Samoa, Australia, Kiribati, Seychelles, The Bahamas, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Malawi, Singapore, Barbados, Malaysia, Solomon Islands, Belize, Maldives, South Africa, Botswana, Malta, Sri Lanka, Brunel Darussalam Mauritius Swaziland Cameroon Mozambique United Republic of Tanzania Canada Namibia Tonga Cyprus Nauru Trinidad and Tobago Dominica New Zealand Tuvalu Fiji Islands Nigeria Uganda Pakistan United Kingdom Ghana Papua New Guinea Vanuatu Grenada Rwanda Zambia Guyana St. Kitts and Nevis Zimbabwe India St Lucia Jamaica St Vincent & The Grenadines