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Marcio Cruz, Daniel Lederman and Laura Zoratto

The number of export promotion agencies (EPAs) has increased substantially over the past decades. The authors describe the characteristics of EPAs around the world, using a novel database from the World Bank, in collaboration with the International Trade Centre in Geneva, covering the 2005–10 period. Most agencies are public-private institutions and have focused on assisting exporters in understanding and finding markets for their products. Several went through at least one type of institutional change in the short period between 2005 and 2010. EPAs spend more on small and medium firms, on established exporters (instead of new/occasional exporters or non-exporters), and on the provision of marketing services (e.g., trade missions) and export support services (e.g., training, technical assistance). Reviewing the recent literature, they find evidence of positive contributions of EPAs around the world in raising exports, through both, intensive and extensive margins of trade.