Project Title

Capacity Building and Technical Assistance to Implement Programs related to WTO TFA Article 8 (Border Agency Cooperation) 

Project Year

2020   

Project Number

CTI 05 2020A 

Project Session

Session 1   

Project Type

Standard 

Project Status

Project in Implementation   
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Project No.

CTI 05 2020A 

Project Title

Capacity Building and Technical Assistance to Implement Programs related to WTO TFA Article 8 (Border Agency Cooperation) 

Project Status

Project in Implementation 

Publication (if any)

 

Fund Account

APEC Support Fund 

Sub-fund

ASF: APEC Supply Chain Connectivity 

Project Year

2020 

Project Session

Session 1 

APEC Funding

65,000 

Co-funding Amount

135,000 

Total Project Value

200,000 

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; Chile; Japan; Peru; Singapore 

Expected Start Date

01/09/2020 

Expected Completion Date

31/12/2021 

Project Proponent Name 1

Scott Pietan 

Job Title 1

Deputy Assistant 

Organization 1

US Trade Representative of APEC Affairs 

Postal Address 1

Not Applicable 

Telephone 1

(1-202) 3959646 

Fax 1

Not Applicable 

Email 1

Scott_Pietan@ustr.eop.gov 

Project Proponent Name 2

Jeremy Schanck 

Job Title 2

Deputy Chief of Party, US-Support for Economic Growth in Asia (US-SEGA) 

Organization 2

Nathan Associates 

Postal Address 2

Not Applicable 

Telephone 2

(1-202) 4683305 

Fax 2

Not Applicable 

Email 2

jschanck@nathaninc.com 

Declaration

Scott Pietan and Jeremy Schanck 

Project Summary

The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA) Article 8 (Border Agency Cooperation) requires members to ensure that authorities and agencies responsible for the border clearance of goods cooperate and coordinate their activities to facilitate trade. These practices are especially important for economies who share a common border. This approach—also referred to as coordinated border management (CBM)—benefits customs officials, border agencies and the private sector alike. Customs/border agencies can better allocate resources by making clearance more efficient; the private sector saves time and money through the elimination of duplicative inspections and coordinated risk-based selectivity programs. Practices that facilitate trade have proved essential in economies’ responses to COVID-19. This project will provide economy-level technical assistance to improve compliance with Article 8. The project will share results and lessons from this assistance with APEC stakeholders at a virtual workshop in 2021.

Relevance

Relevance – Region: The APEC region enjoys a high degree of trade integration; however, in some economies traders face barriers in the border clearance of goods. Customs and other border agencies (e.g.; agriculture and public health inspectors, border police) sometimes inspect goods in a siloed, uncoordinated manner, duplicating procedures and diminishing the benefits of trade liberalization and trusted trader programs. As articulated in recent APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity (A2C2) meetings, this disconnected management at the border costs regional traders time and money, and compromises the efficiency of border agencies already operating with resource constraints. Across APEC, border inefficiencies and coordination gaps have been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Critical goods have been held up on both sides of the border due to a lack of clarity on inspection standards and a lack of communication between border agencies. COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of border agency coordination as an effort to liberalize trade across the region and ensure that essential supplies are available to citizens in times of crisis. 

This project will provide economy-level technical assistance to APEC economies requesting assistance for WTO TFA Article 8 implementation. It will also share best practices/lessons learned at a regional workshop on the margins of SOM1 in 2021. By focusing at the economy- and regional levels, this project will widely benefit all 21 APEC member economies. 

Relevance – Eligibility and Fund Priorities: APEC Leaders have set forth the objective of reducing the time, cost, and uncertainty of moving goods and services through the Asia-Pacific region by 10%. Recognizing the achievement of this goal might require capacity building, APEC developed a plan (and sub-fund) to help developing economies implement the APEC Supply Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan (SCFAP), Phases 1 (2010-2015) and 2 (2017-2020). The proposed project is directly relevant to SCFAP goals and its capacity-building sub-fund. 

Relevance – Capacity Building: Several assistance-eligible APEC economies have notified WTO Article 8 as Category B or C, signaling the need for technical assistance and training to comply with Article 8 requirements. The project overseers have already made preliminary contact with potential volunteer economies to gauge their interest and brainstorm potential terms of reference. Through economy-level assistance, this project will build those economies’ capacity to reduce the time and cost of trade through border agency cooperation. This project can also help inform broader efforts to develop economy-level single windows: streamlining and harmonizing border-related processes will ensure that economies are automating best practices. Illustrative assistance areas could include improving the legal basis for border agency cooperation, business process analysis of border agency procedures, coordinating risk selectivity programs, analyzing ICT compatibility across border agencies and supporting cross-border public-private dialogue. The planned workshop for 2021 will build capacity by sharing best practices across APEC.

Objectives

This project will build economy-level compliance with WTO TFA Article 8 to improve the efficiency, predictability and transparency of border clearance of goods for APEC economies. This will help achieve APEC’s regional goal of lowering the time and cost of trade by 10%. By sharing the lessons learned and best practices from economy-level assistance at a regional workshop (2021), the project will raise region-wide awareness of the importance of coordinated border management (CBM) for the public and private sectors.

Alignment

Alignment - APEC:  The APEC Connectivity Blueprint (2015-2025) commits to strengthen APEC SCFAP initiatives by building the capacity of assistance-eligible economies to overcome specific obstacles identified by SCFAP Phase 2. SCFAP Phase 2 specifically identifies border agency cooperation as a chokepoint for APEC, with an observed decline in cooperation in recent years according to the OECD Trade Facilitation Indicators database. Enhancing the coordination, efficiency and transparency of the border clearance of goods will help facilitate trade and assist economies to overcome major trade obstacles, and increase their compliance with the WTO TFA. 

Alignment – Forum: CTI does not have a strategic plan; however, CTI has endorsed SCFAP Phase 2 (2017-2020).

TILF/ASF Justification

Not Applicable.

Beneficiaries and Outputs

Outputs: 

1.   Economy-Level Rapid Assessment for One (1) Economy. The project will procure the services of a team of trade facilitation experts to examine the “as is” status of border agency cooperation in one volunteer economy. This may include a legal review of customs and trade laws, circulars and implementing regulations; observations of border agency cooperation in the inspection of agriculture-related and public health-related goods; assessments of one-stop border posts coordinated by APEC economies sharing common borders; and interviews with key public (customs authorities, agricultural inspection (SPS) authorities, food and drug administrations/public health authorities, trade ministries, domestic trade facilitation committees) and private sector stakeholders, such as regional chambers of commerce or sector-based (agriculture, health) associations. The project will capture results in a concise yet rigorous rapid assessment document and validate the results with the volunteer economy. Once the rapid assessment has been validated and finalized, the project will collaborate with economy-level public sector- and industry representatives to develop prioritized, time-bound “to be” implementation action plans. The plans will include performance milestones and targets (see also below) as well as a strategy to communicate results and demonstrate impact.

2.  Technical Assistance (Economy-Level). Depending on action plan needs/priorities, the project will procure the services of international and/or domestic technical experts to work directly with counterparts to conduct one technical assistance activity to improve border agency cooperation. Illustrative examples of assistance include (1) draft new laws or regulations based on international best practices promoting improved border agency cooperation; (2) advise customs authorities or trade ministries on increasing cooperation among state agencies and between neighboring economies;(3) conduct business process mapping for the coordination of border clearance of goods, including agriculture or health-related goods; (4) assess operations of one-stop border posts; (5) clarify roles and responsibilities of border-related agencies through training; (6) coordinate risk management selectivity programs between border inspection agencies; (7) facilitate cross-border dialogues between public and private sectors of APEC economies sharing common land borders; and (8) craft strategies to increase public awareness of border agency cooperation requirements and best practices. 

3.  Regional Best Practice Workshop. The project proposes to hold a virtual Border Agency Cooperation Best Practices Workshop, in 2021, consistent with New Zealand’s announcement that its APEC host year will be completely online. The workshop will engage participating customs authorities; trade ministries, agriculture and health inspectors; and industry representatives on key aspects of border agency cooperation, including roles and responsibilities, institutional best practices; legal and regulatory reforms for border agency cooperation; and interagency coordination and communication. The workshop will also feature progress and results on the economy-level assistance described above, to encourage other economies to volunteer for technical assistance and training. The PO will also produce a short (2-3 page) workshop summary report describing the economy-level presentations, discussions on how border agency cooperation can be simplified and facilitated, and potential next steps for Article 8 support. The PO will share the report with the SCCP, A2C2 and Secretariat for their knowledge and comment.

Outcomes: The overall outcome of this project corresponds closely to its stated objective: to share best practices in border agency cooperation to increase the transparency, efficiency and predictability of trade among APEC economies by improving the implementation of WTO TFA Article 8. To facilitate project proposal review, in the chart below we also map the support of “sub-outcomes” to the specific outputs presented in #4 (“Outputs”) above. The measurement of these outcomes is also discussed in #11 (Monitoring & Evaluation) below. 

              Outputs

Supported Outcome(s)

1)   Economy-Level Assessments

·    Volunteer economy better understands and prioritizes TFA implementation gaps

·    Assessment documents and action plans

2)   Technical Assistance

·    Business process maps, institutional capacity building plans, communications plans for improved interagency coordination

·    Information for public sector, industry, general public on improved border agency cooperation

3)   Best Practices Workshop

·   APEC economies learn from border agency cooperation best practices

·   Increased demand for economy-level assistance to introduce regional best practices

·   1 new economy volunteers for AR technical assistance and training

4)   Workshop Summary Report

·    APEC economies have a digestible reference of best practices in border agency cooperation and a record of potential next steps

Beneficiaries: This project will benefit public sector and private sector stakeholders alike. The public sector—specifically customs authorities, agriculture and health inspectors, and ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) responsible for improving regional and domestic trade competitiveness—will benefit from the more efficient allocation of resources through clarified policies, procedures and roles/responsibilities. As stated in recent A2C2 meetings, the private sector will benefit from the reduced time and cost of trade, exemplified by fewer duplicative inspections through approaches such as coordinated risk-based selectivity. Women traders often bear a disproportionate burden at borders when clearance procedures are unclear—unscrupulous officials can take advantage of female traders with unequal access to information. This can take the forms of bribes or even physical violence. Greater efficiency and transparency can especially help these vulnerable traders.

Dissemination

The results of the project will be made available widely with all APEC economies. All relevant materials will be made available via the APEC document database, and be shared through SCCP and the A2C2.Beneficiary economies will also be encouraged to share their outputs (such as the economy-level assessments described in #4 above) with relevant stakeholders. In addition, the project will disseminate information and reports within the volunteer economy, to actors at the policy and working levels. This will also be coordinated closely with the SCCP. Finally, the technical assistance programs will look to utilize resources already developed, such as resources on the topic that exist with the WCO, WTO, UNCTAD or ADB. We do not intend to sell any outputs arising from this project. 

The volunteer economy for technical assistance will also be encouraged to share its outputs (assessment, analyses) with relevant domestic stakeholders. In addition, the project will disseminate information and reports within the volunteer economy, to actors at the policy and working levels. We do not intend to sell outputs from this project. 

For the best practices workshop, the project will produce a summary report. This summary report will likely be around 4-5 pages, with the intention of being share with the SCCP for comments and ultimately endorsement. The purpose of this document is to have an official SCCP summary of the event so that future work may be built upon the findings of this workshop. POs will consider publishing this document and making it available by APEC Website based on consensus from other economies.

Gender

International studies have shown that borders can be dangerous places for women traders, whose interactions with predominantly male customs officers, customs brokers/freight forwarders and border officials makes them subject to these officials’ discretion. More efficient border agency cooperation can reduce this vulnerability, saving female traders time and money, reducing opportunities for corruption/coercion and promoting women’s economic empowerment. This program will encourage active participation of women in improving border agency cooperation. The organizers will make a concerted effort to include female experts from government and industry and to target women’s participation in economy-level technical assistance and training. This will ensure that women’s experiences and challenges are represented in our work. Project organizers will aim to have a minimum of 30% of speakers/experts be women, and a minimum of 40% of women as participants in trainings. The POs will also actively encourage female participation in the nomination process of participants. This target takes into account that women are generally underrepresented in customs and border management professions. 

This speaks directly to APEC’s promotion of women’s economic empowerment through increasing access to markets—one of five pillars as cited in the APEC Project Guidebook Appendix H.

Work Plan

Time

Tasks

Deliverables

ECONOMY LEVEL ASSISTANCE

Jul-Aug 2020

Secure economy-level commitment for TA and training

Economy commitments

Aug-Sep 2020

Develop assessment terms of reference

Recruit technical experts and local partners 

Assessment TOR

Consultant contracts

1 Oct 2020

Submit APEC Project Monitoring Report (MR)

APEC Project Monitoring Report

Sep – Dec 2020

Conduct assessment research and fieldwork

Develop first draft of assessment

Assessment draft

Jan-Feb 2021

Finalize assessment draft and validate with counterparts 

Develop action plan based on assessment recommendations

Final assessment

Prioritized action plan

Mar – Dec 2021

Implement action plan (technical assistance, training, etc.)

Share validate activity results in workshops and/or PPDs

Draft initial activity report; share Workshop summary report / results (Output #4 above)

(Illustrative) guidebooks, regulations; plans, assessments

Workshop Summary report

Apr 2021

Develop and submit APEC Project Monitoring Report to APEC

APEC Project Monitoring Report 2021

Jun 2021

Deadline for identifying/engaging one volunteer economy

N/A

BEST PRACTICES WORKSHOP

Q4 2020

Develop draft workshop agenda (based on study outline)

Identify potential economy representatives and NMP speakers 

Draft agenda

List of potential venues

Q1 2021

Identify potential economy representatives and NMP speakers (cont.)

Finalize workshop agenda, speakers/moderators/panelists 

Send out general information email to announce the workshop (2 months before event date)

Coordinate with APEC on nomination and NMP process 

Begin developing communications briefs and other materials

Final agenda

Draft participant list

Draft NMP list

Comms materials 

Q1 / Q2 2021

Finalize presentations (including nomenclature review)

Conduct workshop

Write and submit workshop summary report

Present summary report at CTI 2 2021 and SCCP

Summary presentation

(Workshop and SCCP)

Final presentations

Workshop summary

Summary presentations

OTHER REPORTING

Feb 2022

Draft and submit APEC Project Completion Report (two months after project completion in Dec 2021)

APEC Project Completion Report

Jun 2022

Conduct M&E Surveys (6 months after project close)

Inputs to APEC M&E plans

2022

Participation in Long Term Evaluation of APEC Projects

Risks

1) Developing economies are not aware of the program and do not volunteer for assistance: The project will develop short fact sheets summarizing the scope of the Article 8 support program, and case studies of economy-level assistance implemented in other APEC economies.  These will then be disseminated through CTI/SCCP points of contact and other project partners. To ensure the project is completed on time, we will establish a cutoff date of June 2021 for economy-level volunteers.

2)  Appropriate economy-level stakeholders do not attend the best practices workshop. To mitigate this risk, we will hold the best practices workshop on the margins of the 2021 SOM1 to make it easier for delegates attending other meetings to participate. We will also work with CTI and the APEC SCCP to ensure the most appropriate stakeholders attend. 

3) Customs authorities are working with other projects or donors on similar issues: During the rapid assessment phase, technical teams will meet with domestic customs authorities, trade ministries, domestic trade facilitation committees and other donors to ensure that our project does not replicate efforts and is addressing implementation gaps.

4)  Economy commitments made at the policy level do not translate to commitment at the working level: This is another risk that can be mitigated during the initial rapid assessment. Even before traveling to the volunteer economy, project technical teams will consult with domestic counterparts to ensure the government has identified and appointed appropriate counterparts at the working level; that working level actors are empowered to cooperate with the project; and that project objectives and timelines are well understood. This understanding will be facilitated by using a local partner (see also below).

5) Project implementation commitments and timelines slip: The project will procure the services of local partners with a sustained economy-level presence to ensure that implementation remains on time and on task. The local partners should be either individual technical experts, consulting firms with trade facilitation experience or research institutes with deep experience working with the local counterparts. This will mitigate against the project essentially being run by “remote control” from outside of the economy—it will also help build and maintain political will for implementation, as local partners will understand the political economy of reforms and ways to introduce change within specific cultural contexts. This practice has worked well so far in economies such as Peru and Viet Nam, where we worked closely with a local research institute and US-government project partner, respectively.

6)  Implementation needs are complex and transcend available project resources and budgets: Donor-funded trade facilitation programs tend to operate on multi-year timelines with budgets to match; however, the operating environments in developing economies can still accommodate nimble, “laser-focused” projects. These larger projects may not also have APEC’s convening power to bring other economies’ best practices to bear. We will identify short-term impactful activities such as developing draft legislation, making strategic changes to make websites more user-friendly, developing standard operating procedures for updating and maintaining ministry, office, department and agency websites; institutional capacity building, and communications and marketing strategies that fall within our mandates and our budgets.

7) Economy focus on combatting COVID-19 leaves limited bandwidth for technical assistance: Economies across the region are allocating every resource available to combat COVID-19, leaving some MDAs unable to participate. The project will hold consultations with all interested economies to assess readiness and feasibility of an Article 8 and tailor capacity building efforts to the available and interested ministries. 

COVID-19 impacts project’s ability to hold capacity building workshop on the margins of SOM1 2021 as proposed. Given travel and large-group gathering restrictions across the world, convening a one day workshop on the margins of the 2021 SOM1 meetings may not be feasible. The project will coordinate closely with the APEC CTI forum on any guidance or updates on the scheduling of the SOM1 2021 meetings.  The project will remain flexible as scheduling updates are confirmed, and will work closely with volunteer economies and the CTI forum to execute the proposed outputs as scheduled.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Indicators/Measures

OUTPUTS

·  Number of attendees: We expect one, if not two, participants from each APEC economy and approximately 10-15 industry representatives to attend. Of the APEC economy participants, we expect at least 15-20 will represent developing economies (sex-disaggregated);

·  The PO will present workshop participants with an M&E survey at the end of the workshop. We expect workshop participants to report that the workshop on border agency coordination best practices was useful based on monitoring and evaluation surveys, as well as to measure if this workshop is valuable, practical and/or applicable in their current positions—these are the indicators of success; and

·  Summary report: We expect to draft a summary report on the workshop including summaries of the presentations and discussions that will be submitted to the SCCP for endorsement.

OUTCOMES

·  Points of consensus: We hope to reach consensus around defining regional guidelines for border agency cooperation

·  We also hope to see more economy-level volunteers for technical assistance and training to fill gaps between “as is” Article 8 implementation and international best practice

·  Number of border authority representatives trained on respective and coordinated functions and responsibilities.

·  Number of joint meetings to exchange information among border inspectors

·  Number of joint meetings to exchange information among economies sharing common land borders

APEC has made efforts to bring about greater gender awareness as part of the process of integrating women more fully into the regional economy. The impact on women will be captured through the sex-disaggregation of data for all relevant indicators (as noted above).

Data Collection: We will collect data for the above indicators using project administrative documents. These documents will include workshop sign-in forms, a workshop feedback form administered to workshop participants to gauge if their knowledge of key concepts covered in the training was useful, and a follow-up survey. The follow-up survey will be administered to workshop participants approximately 6 months after the workshop to identify how (and if) participants are working to incorporate globally recognized standards into their approaches, and the workshop outcomes report.

Linkages

Project activities will be closely coordinated with the SCCP, given customs authorities’ direct relevance to the activities. We will also coordinate with the World Customs Organization (WCO), World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee for Trade Facilitation, private sector actors at the regional (including A2C2) and economy levels, academia and non-governmental organizations. Activities will also be coordinated with other regional and economy-level donor-funded (USAID, European Union, ADB) programs throughout APEC. This will mitigate against the duplication or redundancy of technical assistance and training.

Sustainability

Through the implementation of WTO TFA Article 8-related assistance, we will establish close relationships with developing economy counterparts. These counterparts will actively participate in assessment interviews and the development of their own project implementation action plans. Counterparts will understand that this assistance is “their” project, not something imposed from outside the economy. The project will also support public-private dialogue that contributes to an enduring culture of mutual trust and cooperation. This is a good indicator for the sustained impact of the project. We will turn over tools, best practice guidelines, analytical frameworks and standard operating procedures to economy-level counterparts. When appropriate, we will also translate deliverables/products into local languages to facilitate economy-level uptake; though English-language deliverables will remain the “official” APEC versions. 

Another means of encouraging sustainability is to emphasize the follow-on surveys that we will conduct six months after completion to assess improvements and applicability as a method of creating buy-in to stakeholders. By providing this follow-on survey, the project can encourage those responsible for improvements to aim to see sustainable results beyond project close.

Project Overseers

Mr. Scott Pietan is the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for APEC Affairs. In this capacity, Mr. Pietan is responsible for developing U.S. trade policy in APEC and serves as the U.S. delegate to the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment.  Mr. Pietan has over 18 years of trade experience with the U.S. government.  His time includes 12 years in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative where he also served as the Director of International Procurement Policy and the Director of Industry Trade Policy.  Prior to USTR, Mr. Pietan served as an economist in the International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Belize. Mr. Pietan has a BA in history from Hampden-Sydney College and a MA in international relations from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. 

Mr. Jeremy Schanck is the Deputy Chief of Party of the US-Support for Economic Growth in Asia (US-SEGA) project. He brings more than 15 years of experience leading trade facilitation and economic growth (EG) projects including the development of regional transport corridor analyses and trade facilitation handbooks and tools (e.g., he co-authored the Authorized Economic Operator Handbook). Mr. Schanck has worked throughout the APEC and Indo-Pacific regions, including in Bangladesh; Chile; Indonesia; Laos; Malaysia; Peru; the Philippines; Republic of Korea; Thailand; Timor-Leste and Viet Nam. He began his development career in Asia and has since led several efforts in Southeast and South Asia including designing a winning technical approach for a $22 million trade facilitation USAID program in Viet Nam. He has a Master’s degree in International Affairs from American University, where he focused on Comparative and Regional Studies with a focus on Southeast Asian political and economic systems.

Cost Efficiency

Not Applicable.

Drawdown Timetable

Not Applicable.

Direct Labour

Not Applicable.

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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Previous Fora

Secretariat Comments

Reprogramming Notes

Consolidated QAF

Endorsement By Fora

PD Sign Off

Batch

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Committee Ranking Category

Committee Priority

PDM Priority

Priority Within Funding Category

Monitoring Report Received

Completion Report Received

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