CBI Policy Framework

The Netherlands  Enterprise Agency (hereafter RVO) has been commissioned by the Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation (hereafter Foreign Affairs) to execute the activities of the former CBI agency (hereafter the CBI assignment).

The framework of the CBI assignment is aligned with Foreign Affairs and with the Director of International Programmes of RVO and thus forms  "the policy framework for the CBI assignment”. For the implementation of the CBI assignment, Foreign Affairs ​​has conferred the mandate, the power of attorney, and authorization to RVO.

Goal of the  CBI assignment

The goal of the CBI assignment is to contribute to private sector development by increasing the access to international markets. RVO thereby contributes to the policy goal of Foreign Affairs for a strengthened  private sector and an improved investment climate in developing countries.

The CBI assignment  sets out to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth by increasing the self-reliance of SME exporters in low- and middle-income countries by enhancing the access to international markets. The lack of market knowledge, the lack of (export) skills to apply this knowledge, and the stringent market access requirements and high quality standards for products that can be traded in for example the European market, form a barrier for producers in low- and middle-income countries. In particular for the least developed countries, where the European market is still a step too far, efforts can be directed at increasing access to regional markets as a stepping stone to the European market.

Activities arising from the CBI assignment

From the CBI assignment within RVO, the following activities may be performed:

• To provide up-to-date market information, including information on market requirements;

• Improving the local export climate by strengthening the services of business support organizations to local SME’s; and

• Advising local authorities and other stakeholders  to improve the local business climate and the international trading system.

In addition, for selected SME businesses in low- and middle-income countries who wish to orient themselves on export, export coaching is offered and matchmaking between businesses in low- and middle-income countries and potential buyers in the target markets. To be considered for this, a number of entry criteria must be satisfied.

Access to a (country) programme  for SME exporters in low- and middle-income countries

If you are an SME entrepreneur in a low- and middle-income country which wants to focus on export, you may wish to sign up for a (country) programme. The programmes (that are open for application) are listed on https://www.cbi.eu/projects/.

A programme may help you to adapt your company and products to the EU market requirements and standards, become familiar with EU markets and business practices, develop an export marketing strategy, start exports to the EU market or consolidate your company’s export position in the EU.

For your company to get involved in a certain (country) programme, is determined by the following criteria:

  • At least 51% locally owned, or by (co-)owners who reside in another developing country (excluding developing countries characterized as UMIC (Upper Middle Income Countries) or higher);
  • 25 to 500 employees;
  • No joint venture with a company based in a country with a classification of UMIC or higher;
  • Compliance or the willingness to comply with EU market requirements;
  • No licensing commitments that prohibit or limit export possibilities of products to the EU competitive prices and sufficient production capacity;
  • A management which is able to communicate in English; and
  • The willingness and capacity to invest in adaptations of, for instance, product assortment and production processes, if and as required by the European market.

It may be that for some (country) programmes, additional or different criteria apply. Please, check the page of the specific (country)programme. Find more information about this at this link: www.cbi.eu/projects

You may submit your application via the projects page on our website. After it has been determined that you meet the relevant criteria, a company audit will be conducted by an external expert.

If your company does not meet the applicable criteria or if your company cannot access a (country) programme based on the findings of the company audit, your company will receive a message with an explanation. If you do not agree with the decision, you can appeal against it by sending your appeal to RVO.nl, Afdeling Juridische Zaken, PO Box 40219, 8004 DE, Zwolle, The Netherlands.

If you have been admitted to the (country) programme as a result of the findings during the company audit, the company will have to agree to an action plan. This action plan forms the basis for further cooperation with us