International growth of FITT programs requires new label
for professional designation
COMMUNIQUÉ - November 12, 2009
FITT is launching a new label for its professional designation for use in international markets. The new label for the professional designation will be FITT International Business Professional – FIBP. Success and growth in delivery of FITT products and services internationally has necessitated this change. The CITP will continue to be used in Canada. For more information please read the full communiqué below.
Ottawa, ON – The growth, recognition and demand for FITT’s programs and services internationally is resulting in exceptional opportunities for FITT, its members and Certified International Trade Professionals (CITPs). FITT’s strategic plan has outlined international growth as a key element in our commitment to expand the presence, profile and partnership opportunities available to the organization globally. As a membership based organization, it is equally important for FITT to expand its network of members and CITPs for the benefit of all. An excellent example is the partnership FITT established with the World Trade Centers Association in 2007. The FITT program is gaining traction in the United States (U.S.), the United Kingdom, China, ASEAN Region and European Union (E.U.).
As presented to members at the FITT Annual General Meeting in May 2009, FITT is now increasing its activities on an international scale and the organization has identified some potential challenges in the use of the CITP designation in certain international markets based on the existence of foreign trademark registrations for CITP.
In an effort to ensure that FITT continues to enjoy strong brand recognition and maintain the distinction and distinctiveness of its professional designations, FITT has been working for more than a year to search for the best new label that is available in all of its biggest markets.
Where are we today?
To capitalize on our existing reputation with the name “FITT”, we have chosen FIBP and FITT International Business Professional. FITT has applied for trademark protection in Canada, the U.S. and the E.U. Trademark registrations in each of these jurisdictions have been issued or are expected to be issued shortly.
It is now FITT’s intention to use and promote the FIBP as our professional designation in the U.S., the E.U. and other international locations. In Canada, FITT will continue to use CITP and we will maintain trademark ownership of this designation now and into the future. FITT is tremendously proud of its ownership of the CITP mark in Canada and does not want to give up on the efforts that have been undertaken by our founding partners, our current members and CITPs, our educational partners and our corporate partners. FITT and the CITP are well established brands in this country with excellent recognition and respect in the international trade community.
Thanks to the growth afforded to FITT by the interest in, and acceptance of, the CITP designation around the world, we now find ourselves in the position of rolling out our own international growth strategy. A cornerstone of this strategy is having a brand we are able to use, with all rights and privileges, exclusively in the countries where we will be developing partnerships. The FITT International Business Professional – FIBP designation is that brand.
Questions and Answers
Why does FITT need a new label for its professional designation in the first place?
FITT is experiencing tremendous growth since its founding almost two decades ago. Our members and CITPs span the globe and FITT’s products and services are now being delivered in the U.S., the United Kingdom and Jordan. Our first entry into China will be realized soon and FITT is exploring interest from the ASEAN Region as well. With partnerships developing from our Educational Partners and the relationship FITT has with the World Trade Centers Association, the standards and certifications FITT offers are reaching into many countries and our network of members and CITPs has grown exponentially. FITT currently has members in 24 countries who are affiliated with 418 organizations, associations and/or government agencies.
So what will be the new label for the professional designation?
FITT will be using FIBP and FITT International Business Professional.
How did FITT arrive at FIBP?
Thorough consideration was given to more than two dozen potential acronyms for the new label. FIBP and FITT International Business Professional were selected as having the greatest utility, brand recognition and being the most distinctive of the available choices.
Will I still be able to use CITP and is my designation still valuable?
Yes. FITT is still the only organization in Canada able to grant this valuable designation. FITT owns the trademark to CITP and Certified International Trade Professional in Canada and it is our intention to do so into the future. FITT also owns all legal rights to the French-language equivalent PACI or Professionnel accrédité en commerce international. If you are currently taking the FITTskills program or will be obtaining your CITP designation soon, but live outside Canada and want to carry the new FIBP designation, FITT will be able to accommodate your request. If your international trade career will be based in Canada and you wish to carry the already well recognized CITP designation, this option will also be available. The choice is yours, keep your CITP, migrate to the new FIBP designation or carry both if you wish.
As a FITT Educational Partner, how does this affect our association with FITT and what should I be promoting to our students?
FITT’s products and services remain completely unchanged in Canada. The training your students receive using or based on the FITTskills curriculum is still the most practical industry focused international trade training available. The course titles remain the same; our exams and project assessments remain the same; our policies and procedures for awarding the Certificate and Diploma remain unchanged. FITT is now providing a better choice of options for domestic and international students to consider as they expand their international trade careers after their education. FITT has established its reputation as the leading authority for international trade standards and certification in Canada and we are rapidly growing internationally. Many of our educational partners and their students ask about the recognition of FITTskills and our designation internationally, and we are now well positioned to provide them with credentials that can be carried anywhere and will be recognized globally.
What are the implications for CITPs who are already certified but are living and working in the U.S. or E.U.?
Those individuals already certified and living in the U.S. or E.U. can maintain their CITP designation or, if they choose, may switch to the FIBP designation. FITT is not making this change mandatory. All new approved applicants in these two geographic areas will be getting the FIBP designation. It will be important for those with the CITP in the U.S. and E.U. to know the designation has been registered as a trademark by others.
What is FITT doing to encourage the adoption or recognition of FIBP to employers, organizations and associations?
Every single day FITT is engaged in activities to promote our organization, our standards and certifications programs and our members. Many of you will be familiar with the email communications FITT sends out. Other FITT members and contacts are involved in various projects FITT engages in across the country and around the world, all aimed at promoting FITT, our certification programs, and international trade resources. FITT attends conferences, trade shows, and speaking engagements plus connects with as many of our educational partners as possible for classroom visits. FITT will be launching an aggressive outreach strategy that will run from September 2009 through to April 2010 targeting business associations, national organizations, all of Canada Sector Councils and individual employers of international trade professionals. We are hoping to create partnerships, seek out skills development opportunities and identify how international trade training can increase the competitiveness of Canadian SMEs.
On the international stage, FITT was present again at the World Trade Centers Association Annual General Assembly held in Barcelona. FITT also participated in the International Association of Trade Training Organization’s (IATTO) annual conference and we will engage in the NASBITE conference in the U.S. As members though, your help is still crucial in building awareness of FITT. Your participation and engagement in promoting your experiences with FITT to colleagues and contacts will equally serve to elevate the recognition and prestige of the organization and your membership in it. And finally we hope that you, friends of FITT, our members and CITPs, will represent your association as the global ambassadors you are. Use your designation on your business cards and in your e-mail signature. Share your experiences and knowledge of FITT with others and help us grow our network wherever you can.