Project Title

Capacity Building and Technical Assistance to Implement Programs related to WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) Article 1: Publication and Availability of Information 

Project Year

2017   

Project Number

CTI 16 2017A 

Project Session

Session 2   

Project Type

Standard 

Project Status

Project in Implementation   
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Project No.

CTI 16 2017A 

Project Title

Capacity Building and Technical Assistance to Implement Programs related to WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) Article 1: Publication and Availability of Information 

Project Status

Project in Implementation 

Publication (if any)

 

Fund Account

APEC Support Fund 

Sub-fund

ASF: APEC Supply Chain Connectivity 

Project Year

2017 

Project Session

Session 2 

APEC Funding

100,000 

Co-funding Amount

47,903 

Total Project Value

147,903 

Sponsoring Forum

Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) 

Topics

Trade Facilitation 

Committee

Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) 

Other Fora Involved

 

Other Non-APEC Stakeholders Involved

 

Proposing Economy(ies)

United States 

Co-Sponsoring Economies

Australia; Japan; Mexico 

Expected Start Date

01/01/2018 

Expected Completion Date

31/12/2018 

Project Proponent Name 1

Kenneth Schagrin 

Job Title 1

Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative for APEC Affairs 

Organization 1

US Trade Representative (USTR) 

Postal Address 1

Not Applicable 

Telephone 1

Not Applicable 

Fax 1

Not Applicable 

Email 1

Kenneth_Schagrin@ustr.eop.gov 

Project Proponent Name 2

Ann Katsiak 

Job Title 2

Chief of Party 

Organization 2

US-ATAARI 

Postal Address 2

1777 N Kent Street, 14th Floor, Arlington, VA22209, USA 

Telephone 2

1-703 5167743 

Fax 2

Not Applicable 

Email 2

akatsiak@nathaninc.com 

Declaration

Kenneth Schagrin and Ann Katsiak 

Project Summary

Publication is the act of making information available to a third person or the general public by display, distribution, or circulation (UNCTAD, 2011). Pursuant to Article 1 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), economies are obligated to implement new commitments on transparency including publication and internet publication.  Transparency is, one of the primary components of the multilateral trading system which provides for a more predictable trade and business environment for all businesses, large and small. This capacity building project will undertake technical assistance and capacity building for developing member economies working to address obligations under Article 1 of the Agreement. Specifically economy-level programs will look at issues related to the publication of import/export guides setting forth the practical steps necessary to import, export and transit in an economies territory (TFA Article 1.2.1), as well as the requirement for economies to publish all fees and charges related to import/export and transit of goods (Article 1.1(c)). Programs will look to conduct on the ground assessments and develop targeted technical assistance programs based on an economy’s priorities.

Relevance

In 2010, APEC Leaders set forth the objective of a 10% improvement, within five years, in supply chain performance in terms of reduction of time, cost, and uncertainty of moving goods and services through the Asia-Pacific region. In Bali in October 2013, APEC Leaders recognized that achieving this objective would require robust capacity building efforts. APEC Leaders agreed to accelerate work to achieve the objective, including by advancing the systematic approach to improving supply chain performance. They also instructed officials to develop a capacity building plan and endorsed the inventories of policy recommendations for all eight Supply Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan (SCAFP) chokepoints to assist economies, particularly developing economies, in overcoming specific obstacles they face to improving supply chain performance. APEC Trade Ministers welcomed this plan in May 2014, alongside of establishing the APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2) - a public private mechanism for stakeholders to formally engage in APEC’s supply chain work.  Since then, five projects are in various stages of development under CTI including advance rulings (AR). Since then, robust capacity building has taken place on a number of programs, but APEC economies still fell short on the improvement target and many APEC economies have many elements of the TFA left to implement. To respond to this, APEC finalized Phase Two of Supply-Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan (SCFAP) 2017-2020, which aims to refocus and deepen work in chokepoints where additional improvements can be made on time, cost and uncertainty. In this context, the PO has developed the following proposed technical assistance program, which will address key elements of the TFA article one, publication and availability of information. This will greatly enhance predictability and reliability of information for all traders in the region, when economies publish related basic information related to import/export. Specifically, this project links to SCFAP2 chokepoint four: Limited Regulatory Cooperation and Best Practices. These programs will enhance economies ability to provide timely and accurate information on rules and regulations impacting import and export activities. The project will conduct individual capacity-building for select economies in order to improve implementation of TFA commitments. This capacity-building is the most direct and cost-effective means of achieving this.

This project directly addresses two Rank 1 criterion: “demonstrate a direct link to promoting regional economic integration via free and open trade and investment”. Specifically, in addition to supporting trade and Investment facilitation, the project focuses on enhancing APEC's supply chain connectivity and implementation of the SCFAP 2.

Objectives

1) Align with economies’ obligations under (Article 1) World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) particularly related to making available a description of its practical steps for importation, exportation and transit in one of the WTO official languages (TFA Article 1.2.1) and Publication and availability of Information and in reducing trade costs (TFA Article 1.1(c)), particularly in the area of customs and border management, including publication of duties taxes and fees.

2)  Help economies meet objectives under SCFAP2, especially when it comes to improving regulatory cooperation and applying best practices across APEC economies.

3) Directly involve officials in supply chain agencies of developing economies in the technical assistance efforts. 

Please see additional information in the M&E section on how these objectives will be measured.

Alignment

In 2014, APEC Leaders agreed in the APEC Connectivity Blueprint for 2015-2025, that: "We will further strengthen the initiatives under the APEC SCFAP by systematically improving supply chain performance through implementing a capacity building plan to assist economies in overcoming specific obstacles within the eight chokepoints of the SCFAP". 

This was also echoed in the overarching goal of SCFAP Phase Two: To reduce trade costs across supply chains and to improve supply chain reliability in supporting the competitiveness of business in the Asia Pacific region” Furthermore, the project serves as mechanism to help member economies implement their pending WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement obligations on expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods which are aligned with the SCFAP Chokepoints.  It should also be noted that the activity-level terms of reference (TOR) for each recipient economy will be developed with the parameters of the TF Agreement in mind to ensure coherence.

CTI does not have a strategic plan, but CTI has endorsed the Framework for Phase Two of the Supply Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan 2017-2020 (SCFAP Phase II)  and is working on action plans to determine how economies will lead on various issues under the framework and which priority issues it will examine.

TILF/ASF Justification

This project will be financed by Supply Chain Connectivity Sub-Fund, and it will directly support capacity building efforts of targeted developing economies as the activities in this project will be made up solely of tailored technical assistance activities including customs and other government agencies, as well as the trade community.

Beneficiaries and Outputs

Outputs: All economies face different challenges when it comes to improving supply chain connectivity. Following confirmation from volunteer economies and their interest in receiving technical assistance, the PO will work with the recipient economy to develop a detailed terms of reference (TOR) to tailor technical assistance to the economy’s specific needs. The TOR will take into account the diagnostic reports for relevant chokepoints, the policy inventories as well as the WTO TF Agreement where applicable. 

It is expected that out of the economy-level technical assistance programs the Project Overseer will implement the capacity building action items planned in the TOR developed for a specific economy- examples include; technical expertise to help develop import/export guides, incorporation of SMEs into consultation and targeted dissemination process, conducting outreach for customs and the trade community that can act as validators of the work product, and bolster use of the new guides and publication process, and incorporation of other border agencies into development and publication of information, on an agency-by-agency basis. 

An outcomes and next steps report will be developed by the POs in coordination with the consultant team, which will be submitted to the developing economy to continue to guide them in program implementation following the TA program, as well as to CTI for the information of other APEC economies.

Outcomes: It is expected that out of the economy-level technical assistance programs- commitments under TFA Article 1: Publication and Availability of Information programs will either be developed or strengthened as a result of the technical assistance programs. Economies will be asked to report out on the technical assistance programs at CTI meetings as a result of the capacity building efforts. Each TOR developed for a specific economy activity will include outcomes as well. 

Beneficiaries: Direct beneficiaries will be composed of the specific developing economies who will volunteer for the TA programs. The POs will work closely with those in the SCCP to generate the desired enthusiasm to participate in target economies. In addition to customs and other government agencies, the project will work with the larger trade community which includes customs brokers, importers, exporters and freight forwarders. Other stakeholders include APEC governments, multilateral organizations such as the World Customs Organizations (WCO) and WTO, private sector, academia and non-governmental organizations who are presently engaged in trade facilitation initiatives in the region, and also via the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. The PO will also work with the A2C2 as well as the economy’s customs agency to identify the best mix of counterparts to meet with during all phases of technical assistance. Ultimately, the beneficiaries to this project will be the business community at large, civil society and consumers, since improvements to TFA Article 1 will improve trade facilitation.

Dissemination

All materials developed for the purposes of training will be made available via the APEC document database. The CTI as well as the Friends of the Chair (FOTC) on Supply Chain Connectivity will receive regular updates on the implementation of the expedited shipments technical assistance activities. In addition, all activities will be disseminated at the working level, and also coordinated closely with the SCCP. Finally, the technical assistance programs will look to utilize resources already developed, such as USAID’s handbook on advance rulings and any resources on the topic that exist with the WCO. Economies will be encouraged to share results and key lessons learned with the SCCP.

Gender

Women will be directly and actively involved in the project. Programs will be directed at both women and men involved in customs reforms and POs will make a concerted effort to include women. If the technical assistance program designed for an economy includes domestic workshops-. Project organizers will aim to have 40% of women as participants in trainings and actively encourage female participation in the nomination process of participants. The project proponents will also ensure that the evaluation forms to be distributed at the end of the workshop will include information on gender for disaggregating of data for project assessment and will help in evaluation of specific responses of women and men. Surveys at trainings etc. will also include indicators that measure the impact of the technical assistance on women such as the number of women activity participating.

Work Plan

Project Overseers will alert economies to the project to solicit volunteer economies for technical assistance as soon as the project proposal is approved. This will be done via A2C2, CTI and SCCP. Following confirmation that a volunteer economy would like to receive technical assistance (TA), the project overseers will work with that recipient economy, in close consultation with the economy’s customs division and finance division, to develop a detailed terms of reference (TOR). This voluntary participation by developing economies is crucial to the project’s success. POs will ensure that participating economies identify their capacity-building needs and articulate them in a frank manner to ensure that the resulting TORs are suitable. The timeline for each TA activity will be determined as part of the TOR and these technical assistance activities will be implemented throughout 2017-2018. The TOR will be structured to include the following elements: targeted/participating agencies and officials responsible for the particular elements of article 1, timeline for implementation, proposed expert team, specified deliverables and indicators for measuring impact that would link the project directly to SCFAP Phase II. 

Illustrative Timeline: 

Time

Tasks

Deliverables

Early 2018

Seek and confirm volunteer economies; identify their needs and priorities of focus area

Status update and priority list

Mid-late 2018

Development of TOR

Final TOR

Late 2018

Finalize report

Final Report

Risks

The most significant risk to this project is that economies do not volunteer to participate in the capacity building programs. To mitigate this risk, POs will actively engage in outreach efforts through the different group (A2C2, CTI, SCCP) to recruit potential volunteer economies, and follow up regularly with economies that have expressed interest. On the opposite side, too many economies could volunteer so that resources do not match the demands from economies on this program. At this point, project proponents would consider submitting a second project proposal for funding. Also, given that there have been project delays due to lack of response in implementing action plans, PO will consider setting a deadline of early Q2 whereby no further additional volunteer economies will be engaged. This will be made clear if and when doing outreach to volunteer economies. 

In addition, given the amount of tailoring of capacity programs that each economy will require, the appropriate experts might not be available at the time of the programs, and may require a complex combination of experts. The project proponents will work with a variety of sources to ensure the appropriate experts for each activity. Project organizers will also engage the local government in the beginning stages to ensure they are aware of illustrative timeline to guide the design of the TOR so that the PO can take control of timeline and manage the risk of delays. 

Finally, as the projects are short term in nature, the risk that economies do not have a long term result/impact of strengthening transparency in publication and availability of information does exist. Economies will be expected to report out on the impact and progress of the programs to CTI and the FOTC on supply chain connectivity incrementally following receipt of the technical assistance. If economies do not show progress, this will also be taken into account in the selection of volunteer economies for other supply chain fund projects, which hopefully will serve as additional incentive for economies to ensure ownership of the reforms following these short term programs.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Project overseers will obtain feedback from the economy- government officials at the completion of the programs to gauge impact of the activities. This will be done in the form of a survey for government officials, which includes indicators like “number of US-ATAARI supply chain recommendations implemented by APEC economies”. The POs have utilized this assessment tool in previous projects and found it to accurately measure whether objectives have been achieved, etc. For trainings, organizers will assess the level of knowledge gained by participants by undertaking baseline and end line surveys, if relevant. These will be supplemented by a series of follow-up surveys via email which will be conducted one year after the completion of trainings. The follow up surveys will serve to evaluate the extent to which participants are able to apply the knowledge, skills, and capabilities gained. However the real impact is focused on what elements of the Customs reforms now align with the WTO TFA. Economies will be asked to report out on the technical assistance programs at CTI meetings as a result of the capacity building efforts. Each TOR developed for a specific economy activity will include outcomes as well. In addition to this, all deliverables developed for the purposes of training will be made available via the APEC document database. The CTI as well as the A2C2 will receive regular updates on the implementation of the technical assistance activities. In addition, all activities will be coordinated closely with the SCCP. 

Project organizers will aim to have 40% of women as participants in trainings and actively encourage female participation in the nomination process of participants.

Linkages

The activities will be closely implemented with the SCCP, given that customs agencies are a primary counterpart and stakeholder of these activities. In addition, results and outcomes as well as plans and schedules of the work will be disseminated to the World Customs Organization (WCO) as well as the World Trade Organization (WTO), private sector. Other stakeholders such as academia and non-governmental organizations who are presently engaged and linked to the Trade Facilitation Agreement will be engaged in these activities. Finally, we have established relationships with donors and programs throughout the APEC economies that we will engage as they are doing relevant TFA implementation work to ensure work is complementary and not duplicative of other efforts already underway. Thus, the POs will ensure that potential stakeholders and beneficiaries include those in the broader trade community, including both external (WCO and WTO) and internal (A2C2) stakeholders.

Sustainability

The goal is for economies that currently have weak commitments to transparency, especially in publication and internet publication, but are open to the possibility and advantages that come with this development to receive in depth training to help an economy launch and/or expand a program. 

After project completion, economies will be better able to tap into resources available with the WCO and other international organizations as well as within APEC to continue to expand their programs.

These types of programs are involved and it is likely that to have sustainable programs, economies will need to identify follow on activities to further implement and refine these programs in order to ensure the programs established are expansive and sustainable. The key to creating sustainability is to work continuously with our economy-level counterparts and ensure that they have the ownership over the reforms to continue implementation.

These economy-level activities will be targeted and will ensure that economies understand additional steps that could be taken to continue to expand their programs,  either via separate APEC projects (for example, possibly applying for additional supply chain capacity building funding) or self funding and other donor funding. 

The long term benefits of this project are enhanced predictability and reliability of information for all traders in the region, which will result from economies publishing basic information related to import/export. This project will enhance economies’ ability to provide timely and accurate information on rules and regulations impacting import and export activities.

Project Overseers

Ms. Katsiak is Chief of Party of the US-APEC Technical Assistance to Advance Regional Integration (US-ATAARI) Project. She has more than 12 years of experience in trade facilitation and economic development issues, and presently provides program management and technical expertise on ASEAN and APEC programs for USAID. Ms. Katsiak holds an MA in International Affairs from George Washington University. 

Mr. Kenneth Schagrin is the Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative for APEC Affairs, covering Japan, Korea and APEC Affairs at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in the Executive Office of the President. He holds a J.D. from the SUNY Buffalo Law School and an LL.M from American University Washington College of Law.

Cost Efficiency

Not Applicable.

Drawdown Timetable

Not Applicable.

Direct Labour

It is envisioned that this project will engage several subject matter experts for in-economy capacity building activities. These experts will be independent consultants and once the economy terms of reference is refined, will be identified.

Waivers

Not Applicable.

Are there any supporting document attached?

No 
Attachments
Version: 3.0 
Created at 27/01/2018 22:42  by Lucy Phua 
Last modified at 31/01/2018 10:52  by Lucy Phua 
Version HistoryVersion History

Project No.

Project Title

Project Status

Publication (if any)

Fund Account

Sub-fund

Project Year

Project Session

APEC Funding

Co-funding Amount

Total Project Value

Sponsoring Forum

Topics

Committee

Other Fora Involved

Other Non-APEC Stakeholders Involved

Proposing Economy(ies)

Co-Sponsoring Economies

Expected Start Date

Expected Completion Date

Project Proponent Name 1

Job Title 1

Organization 1

Postal Address 1

Telephone 1

Fax 1

Email 1

Project Proponent Name 2

Job Title 2

Organization 2

Postal Address 2

Telephone 2

Fax 2

Email 2

Declaration

Project Summary

Relevance

Objectives

Alignment

TILF/ASF Justification

Beneficiaries and Outputs

Dissemination

Gender

Work Plan

Risks

Monitoring and Evaluation

Linkages

Sustainability

Project Overseers

Cost Efficiency

Drawdown Timetable

Direct Labour

Waivers

Are there any supporting document attached?

hdFldAdmin

Project Number

Previous Fora

Secretariat Comments

Reprogramming Notes

Consolidated QAF

Endorsement By Fora

PD Sign Off

Batch

Forum Priority

Committee Ranking Category

Committee Priority

PDM Priority

Priority Within Funding Category

Monitoring Report Received

Completion Report Received

PMU Field 1

PMU Field 2

PMU Field 3

On Behalf Of

Proposal Status

Originating Sub-Forum

Approval Status
Attachments
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