Project Title

Capacity Building and Technical Assistance to Implement Programs on Expedited Shipments - Phase 2 

Project Year

2017   

Project Number

CTI 18 2017A 

Project Session

Session 2   

Project Type

Standard 

Project Status

Project in Implementation   
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Project No.

CTI 18 2017A 

Project Title

Capacity Building and Technical Assistance to Implement Programs on Expedited Shipments - Phase 2 

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

48,407 

Total Project Value

148,407 

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

Japan; Philippines; Viet Nam 

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, VA 22209, USA 

Telephone 2

1-703 5167743 

Fax 2

Not Applicable 

Email 2

Kenneth_Schagrin@ustr.eop.gov 

Declaration

Kenneth Schagrin and Ann Katsiak 

Project Summary

Through all modes of transportation, including ground and air, maintaining procedures that allow for the rapid release of expedited shipments have a substantial impact on reducing the time, cost, and uncertainty of trade in goods. For APEC economies, the establishment of procedures to facilitate expedited shipments through the border can significantly expedite customs clearance decreases the workload for customs administrations, and facilitates trade. This capacity building project will build on previous technical assistance work, specifically with the Philippines and Viet Nam, to operationalize and implement technical assistance recommendations from the on-ground assessments conducted in 2016, for a reliable and WTO TFA-compliant Expedited Shipments regime. It will also allow for other developing economies to undertake technical assistance that have not yet been developed.

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 expedited shipments (ES). Given that APEC economies still fell short on the improvement target and with elements of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation (WTO)’s Agreement (TFA) remaining to implement for many APEC economies, APEC has finalized Phase Two of Supply-Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan (SCFAP) 2017-2020, which aims to refocus and deepen work in revised chokepoints where additional improvements can be made on time, cost and uncertainty. In the context of Expedited Shipments, the program is aimed at expediting customs clearance times, allowing for a de minimis that promotes growth of e-commerce, decreases the workload for customs administrations, and facilitates trade. Over the period of 2014-2016, the PO has supported two economies under the program – the Philippines and Viet Nam. 

For the Philippines and Viet Nam, the assessments were completed in March 2016 and October 2016. The Philippines assessment focused on implementing regulations and procedures pertaining to expedited shipments, including the application and use of a new (increased) de minims value in the cargo clearance process. Since that time, the Philippines has worked to implement a number of the recommendations made in the APEC report, and it is anticipated that follow up technical assistance will be provided focused on developing operating procedures and training on the new customs law and procedures related to expedited shipments. Similarly, the assessment for Viet Nam examined the economy’s expedited shipment practices and provided recommendations on how the economy can develop rules and regulations to better govern the application of its expedited shipment program and achieve compliance with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. The assessment report, while completed, is still in the final stages of review. The assessment will be used to design the second phase of the capacity building program. Looking ahead, the PO will look to build on the initial success of these economy level projects to support the Philippines and Vietnam to implement the continue supporting their expedited shipments regimes and ensure they are compliant with TFA obligations. 

This project advances 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 technical assistance activities that are pertinent the expedited shipments programs in both economies.

Objectives

1)  Continue supporting volunteer developing economies in operationalizing and implementing technical assistance that establish a reliable and comprehensive Expedited Shipments regime. This will provide businesses with greater certainty and consistency of rulings; expediting flow of goods across the region and moving APEC towards 2020.

2) Align with economies’ potential obligations under (Article 7.8) World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) particularly in reducing trade costs, and in the area of customs and border management.

3) Reach the goal of 10% improvement in supply chain performance in terms of reduction of time, cost, and uncertainty of moving goods and services through the Asia-Pacific region. 

Improvement in supply chain performance in terms of reduction of time, cost, and uncertainty of moving goods and services through the region will be an expected result of this project because it is connected to trade facilitation target of members. Thus, reaching the previously stated objectives will bring long-term impacts of the project in the region.

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”. Trade costs, connectivity and logistics have direct correlation to businesses’ ability to maintain their competitive edge in any economy. This 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. Alignment – Forum: CTI does not have a strategic plan, but in 2013 CTI adopted a work program organized around five priority areas that contribute to APEC 2013 Priorities under the theme of “Resilient Asia-Pacific, Engine of Global Growth.” One of these areas, directly linked of this project, is promoting connectivity. Furthermore, while specific action plans for each of the Chokepoints are still being developed, this project is aligned with CTI’s and the Subcommittee on Customs Procedures (SCCP)’s efforts to advance the systematic approach to the SCFAP through targeted capacity building to implement the TFA- in this case Article 7.8.

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.

Beneficiaries and Outputs

Outputs: The second phase of technical assistance will utilize the outputs from the first phase, the assessment reports from Philippines and Viet Nam, to implement the recommendations developed. One of the main outputs will be a terms of reference (TOR) for each activity undertaken. Each TOR will be tailored for the economy’s needs and will include a timeline of activities. The TOR will be based on inputs following status updates from the economies following the assessments and will be based on the economies’ priorities and focus areas moving forward. It will include a timeline on the implementation of recommendation based on the findings. The TOR will also be based largely on the findings and recommendations from the assessment reports from the first phase. Finally, it will include any relevant data that would be beneficial in establishing a baseline for monitoring and evaluation, including specific indicators. The TOR will take into account the diagnostic reports for relevant chokepoints, the policy inventories as well as the WTO TF Agreement where applicable. The TOR will also take into account gender considerations and sensitivities.

In the Philippines, it is anticipated that the focus of additional TA will be on developing implementing regulations (in progress) and developing SOPs for the customs and other departments involved with implementing them. In Viet Nam, likely assistance will include working with Customs to review legal requirements for specialized examinations for low value shipments.

This TOR will be structured to include the following elements: targeted/participating agencies and officials responsible for expedited shipments in specific economy, timeline for implementation, proposed expert team, specified deliverables and indicators for measuring impact that would link the project directly to APEC’s overall ten percent performance improvement goal. The experts participating in the APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2) will provide advice on the development and delivery of these projects, volunteering expertise and resources as appropriate. They will also receive reports on progress made under the technical assistance activities at each appropriate meeting. 

An outcomes and next steps report will be developed by project overseers in coordination with the consultant team at the completion of each technical assistance activity. This will be submitted to the developing economy to continue to guide them in program implementation following the TA program, as well as to the CTI for the information of other APEC economies. Economies will report out on changes made along the lines of the TFA to CTI. 

Outcomes: It is expected that out of the economy-level technical assistance programs- domestic level expedited shipments programs will be strengthened as a result of the technical assistance programs. Philippines will focus on developing operating procedures and trainings on the new customs law and procedures related to expedited shipments. Vietnam will use the assessment report to design the capacity building program in expedited shipments. 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 have received TA under this program previously, specifically the Philippines and Viet Nam. 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, and the designated Postal Operator of the economies. 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 the second phase of technical assistance. This will directly impact these beneficiaries as the project will enable easier trade facilitation with faster customs clearance times, growth of e-commerce, and a lessened workload for customs administrations.

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 working level and also coordinated closely with the SCCP and lessons learned and key takeaways will be shared with the SCCP. Economies may choose to seek further funding for subsequent projects that might include workshops where the findings of this project could be disseminated. This type of workshop might include among others: express operators, brokers who are nominated by their respective association; regulatory government agencies; and representatives from the designated postal operator.

Gender

Women are becoming increasingly engaged in the international trading system, although there is particularly high concentration of women operating in the informal sector. Challenges experienced at formal border crossings have led many women traders to seek informal routes for cross-border trade. As these women are also consumers and users of public services, it is important to engage women in any changes to Customs in order to understand the impact it can have to women users. 

In this regard, this program will encourage active participation of women in customs reforms to engage in these considerations. The design of the TOR will include sensitivities and considerations around gender. The organizers will make a concerted effort to include women who range from experts in customs to government officials to women traders in any technical assistance program designed that includes domestic trainings. Including women traders will be especially crucial to ensure that women’s experiences and challenges are represented in the trainings. Project organizers will aim to have 30-40% of women as participants in trainings and actively encourage female participation in the nomination process of participants. Project organizers 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.

Work Plan

The project overseers would work with that recipient economy, in close consultation with the economy’s customs divisions, to develop a detailed terms of reference (TOR). The TOR will be tailored towards the economy’s needs and will include a timeline of activities. The TOR will be based on inputs following status updates from the economies following the assessments and will be based on the economies’ priorities and focus areas moving forward. The TOR will also be based largely on the findings and recommendations from the assessment reports from the first phase. Finally, it will include any relevant data that would be beneficial in establishing a baseline for monitoring and evaluation, including specific indicators. The TOR will take into account the diagnostic reports for relevant chokepoints, the policy inventories as well as the WTO TF Agreement where applicable. 

The TA will be tailored to that economy’s specific needs in the second phase of capacity building for their respective ES programs. 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. Given that these economy level assessments have taken place at least a year or more ago, as an initial step in the process, the project overseer will ask for a brief status update from the economy on the current ES program and a priority list of focus areas for the activity. This will be guided mainly by the specific recommendation for capacity building were noted in each economy’s technical assessment reports. The TOR will then be developed with these inputs, which should include any relevant data or statistics that will assist in setting a basement for monitoring and evaluation. Outcomes- 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- examples include workshops to provide necessary technical training; conducting outreach for customs and the trade community that can bolster the economy-level use and modernization of ES programs, in their utility and implementation; or modifications to procedures in customs and other border agencies to accommodate and apply ES. 

Illustrative Timeline: 

Time

Tasks

Deliverables

Jan-Feb 2018

Complete review of previous assessment reports

Early 2018

Engage economies and provide status update from the economy on the current ES program and a priority list of focus areas for activity

Status update and priority list

Mid 2018

Development of TOR

Final TOR

Mid-late 2018

Implementation of TOR tasks

Late 2018

Finalize report

Final Report

Risks

The most significant risk to this project would be if the economies that are already involved in Phase 1 (Philippines and Viet Nam) lose interest or available resources for their trade and customs government officials to participate and engage in this work. To mediate this, the Project Overseers will take an immediate status check at the start of the project to take stock of what has occurred since the assessments and ensure that the economies are ready to move forward with implementation of the recommendations proposed. In the unlikely chance that targeted volunteering economies are not able to be engaged in this project, this activity will focus on reaching out to other volunteer economies to conduct assessments provided there is sufficient time and budget. 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 for the TORs 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. 

Due to the short length of the project, there is a risk that economies do not see the long term results/impact of establishing a reliable and comprehensive Expedited Shipments regime. The goals are longer term, with this work coming in the context of the Phase Two of Supply-Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan (SCFAP) 2017-2020. There is a longer-term goal to expedite the flow of goods by 2020, so economies may not see immediate benefits. Ideally this provides an incentive to encourage economies to think critically about what they can do to demonstrate both short term and long term impacts.

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”. 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. 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. 

Women will be directly and actively involved in the project. Programs will be directed at both women and men involved in customs reforms. If the technical assistance program designed for an economy includes domestic workshops- the project proponents will 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. Project organizers will aim to have 30-40% 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 the customs focus. 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 WTO and the 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, providing that they engage from the start. The PO will also look to coordinate with other relevant efforts and ensure that activities remain discreet and do not duplicate. The PO will also want to build upon the best practices and lessons learned from other APEC CTI programs to develop future projects in this area, including proposing potential technical assistance activities that could respond to the needs identified during the project.

Sustainability

Phase 2 builds on the initial Philippines and Viet Nam assessments, completed in March 2016 and October 2016 respectively. In continuing this support to the Philippines and Vietnam by supporting their expedited shipments regimes and ensuring they are compliant with TFA obligations, the POs will ensure that the impacts are sustainable. First, the technical assistance will provide ample resources for the economies to draw on. After project completion, economies will be able to utilize these resources, which will include continuing to draw on experts from the APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2). These experts can continue to serve as a resource, as they will while the project is underway, to provide expertise and resources if helpful. Economies could also draw on the expertise of the PSU to look at how to establish a good mechanism for Expedited Shipment in member economies. 

The technical assistance in Phase 2 will involve direct work with targeted agencies and government officials responsible for expedited shipments, thus ensuring that their capacity is strengthened and they are able to maintain the work moving forward. Further, one way to encourage sustainability of this activity is to emphasize the follow-on surveys that are conducted one year after completion to assess improvements and applicability as a method of creating buy-in to stakeholders. By providing this follow-on survey, the activity can encourage those responsible for improvements to aim to see sustainable results beyond end of project date. 

Progress will be tracked through specific indicators designed to measure impact that will link the project directly to APEC’s overall ten percent performance improvement goal.

The project entails objectives that would provide long-term change. Improvement in supply chain performance in terms of reduction of time, cost, and uncertainty of moving goods and services through the region will be realized.

Project Overseers

Ms. Katsiak is deputy chief of party of the US-APEC US – APEC Technical Assistance to Advance Regional Integration and has managed and implemented more than ten APEC workshops over the last three years. She has more than 8 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 
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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?

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Reprogramming Notes

Consolidated QAF

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PD Sign Off

Batch

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Monitoring Report Received

Completion Report Received

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