The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) supports a wide range of customs, trade facilitation, and trade capacity-building activities in lower and middle-income countries. USTDA-funded activities utilize private sector expertise to define solutions to technical, financial, logistical, and other project implementation challenges. The following is an illustrative list of recent customs-related projects that USTDA has supported:
Global Customs Initiative – USTDA has launched a $4 million initiative to address critical customs training requirements in developing and middle-income economies and incorporate proactive private sector-driven approaches to customs-related technical assistance. The initiative involves a series of training sessions, reverse trade missions, and workshops. Potential topics to be addressed include port and supply chain security, intellectual property rights licensing and enforcement, anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy measures, customs valuation, rules of origin, and compliance with bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.
China: Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Training Program – USTDA signed a $383,000 agreement with the General Administration of Customs for an IPR training program for Chinese officials. The initiative follows a previous program on customs modernization, and aims to limit the amount of IPR violations by focusing on methods and techniques to identify counterfeit and pirated goods. The program centers on China’s World Trade Organization commitments. The program is being conducted by the Global Alliance for Trade Efficiency, Inc.
China: Shanghai Model Port Customs Information Technology (IT) Project – USTDA approved $176,800 to support training for the Shanghai Customs Authority on the implementation and utilization of IT for the Shanghai Model Port Project in China. This training represents one important element of a greater program designed to introduce U.S. IT systems at the Shanghai Customs Authority. The National Center for APEC was the contractor for this assistance.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Brazil: Customs and Transportation Security Study Tour – USTDA funded a $135,000 study tour designed to enhance Brazil's compliance with the International Maritime Organization's International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. Under this project, Brazilian port officials visited U.S. ports to examine the latest security technologies in a working environment and to learn how U.S. ports are complying with the ISPS Code. The study tour also allowed the Brazilian delegates to meet directly with U.S. technology providers.
Chile: Port of Valparaiso Secure Supply Chain – A $451,350 USTDA grant is helping the Empresa Portuaria Valparaiso (EPV), the state-owned port company, to improve the efficiency and security of its logistics chain. EPV is planning new infrastructure projects to improve access to the port and is modernizing its port community systems, the computer networks that link the port with its users, including truckers, rail companies, shipping lines, feeder ports, shippers, customs agents and customs officers.
Chile: Customs Advance Rulings and Customs Valuation – This $283,150 technical assistance grant is helping Chilean Customs meet their obligations under the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement, specifically Article 5.10(1)(b), on advance rulings and the application of customs valuation criteria. The technical assistance will develop a draft regulation on advance rulings; establish new procedures; develop and deliver training for Chilean Customs officers; provide tools, such as a training manual, to assist Chilean Customs with the implementation of an ongoing training program; and help design advance rulings and valuation databases, which Chilean Customs can use to facilitate the processing of advance rulings and the application of customs valuation.
Colombia: Cartagena Secure Port Initiative – USTDA provided a $399,962 technical assistance grant that supported Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Cartagena S.A. in its efforts to improve maritime cargo security at the Port of Cartagena in Colombia. The Cartagena Secure Port Initiative will promote security enhancements at the Port of Cartagena, which ships over one-quarter of its total container volume to the United States. Upon completion of the technical assistance, the Port of Cartagena received certification through the Container Security Initiative.
El Salvador: Single Window Electronic Customs Portal – This $252,822 technical assistance grant is helping the Dirección General de la Renta de Aduanas, the customs agency of El Salvador, analyze, design and develop a single window customs facilitation system that will enable importers and exporters to obtain all required permits and documentation via single Internet portal in a minimum of time with a minimum of manual intervention.
South and Southeast Asia
South and Southeast Asia Regional: E-Manifest APEC Pilot Project – USTDA is providing $601,893 for an APEC regional demonstration project, based at Vietnam Customs. Together with the National Center for APEC, with cost sharing from Unisys and FedEx in a public-private partnership, the project will help implement the World Customs Organization Framework to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade in the APEC region. The eManifest project demonstrated advanced customs clearance transactions for airfreight carriers designed to improve security risk management, timeliness, completeness and accuracy. It was highlighted during the APEC Leaders meeting in November 2006.
Vietnam : E-Manifest Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Pilot Project – USTDA provided $601,893 for an APEC regional demonstration project based at the General Department of Vietnam Customs. Together with the National Center for APEC, and with cost sharing from Unisys and FedEx, this public-private partnership is helping to implement the World Customs Organization Framework to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade in the APEC region. The e-Manifest system furthered this effort by demonstrating advanced customs clearance transactions for airfreight carriers designed to improve security risk management, timeliness, completeness and accuracy. The pilot project was unveiled during the APEC CEO Summit in Vietnam in November 2006.
Europe and Eurasia
Europe and Eurasia Regional: Cross-Border Trade Facilitation – USTDA is providing $549,070 to partially fund technical assistance on a "single window" entry system for the three Customs Administrations in Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia. The project will build a collection system for data whereby trade related information and/or documents need only be submitted once at a single entry point to fulfill all import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements. Inner Circle Logistics Inc. is providing the assistance.
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