Trade capacity building (TCB) is an important part of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency’s (USTDA) global portfolio, and is an area where the agency has had significant success. During fiscal year 2008, TCB accounted for approximately 50 percent of the agency’s global investments. TCB activities are designed to enhance a country’s ability to efficiently participate in the modern international trade system. These activities can take a wide variety of forms, including studies and technical assistance related to World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments, the negotiation of free trade agreements (FTAs), customs reform and modernization, the development of industry standards and regulations, intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement, and infrastructure modernization.
The following is an illustrative list of USTDA-funded trade capacity building activities:
APEC Regional eManifest Pilot Project – USTDA provided $601,893 to partially fund an APEC regional demonstration project, hosted by Vietnam Customs. Together with the National Center for APEC, with cost sharing from Unisys and FedEx, the project is helping implement to the World Customs Organization Framework to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade in the APEC region. The eManifest system project demonstrated advanced customs clearance transactions for airfreight carriers. It was profiled during the APEC Leaders Meeting in November 2006.
China Standards and Conformity Assessment Cooperation Program – A $500,000 USTDA grant has launched an innovative public-private sector initiative that is expanding cooperative technical efforts in industrial and commercial standards and conformity assessment procedures in China. The program consists of a series of seminars, workshops and training modules that will enable U.S. industry and government representatives to engage their Chinese counterparts on specific industry sectors and trade-related standards of mutual interest. USTDA funding will be matched by industry contributions. The U.S. National Electrical Manufacturers Association (Arlington, VA) is coordinating the program and industry participation.
Europe and Eurasia
Latvia Air Traffic Management System Advanced Modernization Program – USTDA is providing $690,170 to fund technical assistance in planning for air traffic capacity increases, air traffic control technologies upgrades and ongoing facilities maintenance at Riga International Airport. Contractor selection for this activity is currently underway.
Latvia Integrated Master Port Security Plan – USTDA is providing $390,740 to the Ministry of Transport for technical assistance in developing an integrated master port security plan for the ports of Riga, Ventspils, and Liepaja. The assistance will re-engineer the security processes at each port to provide a layered, comprehensive security system. Sullivan Cove Consultants of Baltimore, MD, is conducting the study.
Southeast Europe Regional Cross-Border Trade Facilitation – USTDA provided $549,070 to the Macedonia Customs Administration to partially fund a Cross-Border Trade Facilitation Technical Assistance and Pilot Project. This technical assistance and pilot is facilitating trade by simplifying transit documentation requirements through a regional “single window” entry system for the Customs Administrations of Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria. ICL Logistics of St. Louis, MO is providing the technical assistance.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Colombia Cartagena Secure Port Initiative – A $399,962 grant to Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Cartagena S.A. supported efforts to improve maritime cargo security at the Port of Cartagena. The technical assistance promoted security enhancements at the Port, which ships over one-quarter of its total container volume to the United States. On September 13, 2007, the Port received Container Security Initiative status from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Guatemala Customs Transit Control System – A $387,500 USTDA grant to Guatemala's Superintendent of Tax Administration (Superintendencia Administracion Tributaria, SAT) is supporting efforts to develop a more efficient and secure system that allows SAT to closely monitor customs warehouse transfers and cargo inspection activities, capture all commercial transactions, and reduce losses. The technical assistance seeks to support SAT’s implementation of improved customs transit processes and ICT systems consistent with the World Customs Organization Framework of Standards.
Honduras Port of Cortés Dry Bulk Unloading Terminal – A $470,000 USTDA grant is funding a feasibility study for the Honduran National Port Authority on the development of a dry bulk unloading terminal, which will improve the overall infrastructure and efficiency of operations at the Port of Cortés.
Nicaragua National Ports Law – A $510,000 technical assistance grant to the Nicaraguan National Port Authority is furthering the development of a framework for a National Ports Law. The law will establish a framework for attracting private investors and operators in the port sector.
Middle East and North Africa
Morocco Cold Storage Needs for Palm Dates – USTDA is providing a $531,810 grant to the Ministry of Agriculture in Morocco to fund technical assistance in the development of cold storage infrastructure for palm dates. The assistance will include a comprehensive study to identify the specific needs for cold storage infrastructure and facilities that would help reduce losses in palm date production in Morocco, and a training component on the importance of cold storage that targets producers and producer associations.
Morocco-U.S. Free Trade Agreement – USTDA sponsored an reverse trade mission to bring senior-level government officials from Morocco to the United States for three industry-specific seminars to present trade opportunities within the Moroccan business environment to U.S. industry representatives.
West Bank Internet Data Center – USTDA is providing a $412,093 grant to Safad Engineering & Electronics Ltd., to fund technical, business and financial advisory services related to the establishment of an Internet Data Center (IDC) in Ramallah, West Bank. The IDC would offer a secure data facility to provide web hosting, web services, managed services and other advanced applications for the local Internet and digital services marketplace.
South and Southeast Asia
Indonesia Seafarer’s Identification Document System – USTDA sponsored a $358,000 technical assistance activity to aid in the development and design of a system to produce rapid, accurate and verifiable identification documents and a database for Indonesian seafarers. This assistance, conducted by Decision/Analysis Partners, will help Indonesia to enhance its compliance with International Labor Organization and International Maritime Organization standards.
Vietnam Customs Cooperation and Trade Facilitation – A USTDA-sponsored reverse trade mission brought a senior customs, finance and provincial government delegation from the General Department of Vietnam Customs to the United States. The delegates met with U.S. businesses and government officials to become acquainted with international customs standards as practiced in the United States.
African Trade Lanes Partnership – USTDA launched a two-year, $4 million initiative in April 2008 to promote the development of sub-Saharan Africa’s trade lanes and transportation networks to facilitate local, regional and global trade. The initiative is designed to promote regional cooperation and connectivity in all modes of transportation, including aviation, maritime, land, and rail. As an initial activity under the initiative, USTDA awarded a $725,050 grant to the Zambian Ministry of Communications and Transport. The grant will fund the development of a master plan for Zambia’s four international airports, Lusaka, Livingstone, Ndola and Mfuwe.
Road Construction Planning and Equipment – USTDA sponsored an reverse trade mission in Fall 2008 to the United States to expose key stakeholders and decision makers in the road planning and construction industry to U.S. technologies, companies, policies, and best practices in road building. The visit was inspired by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)’s compact agreements with Tanzania, Mozambique, Ghana and Burkina Faso, which provide for road investments totaling approximately $1.1 billion.
Upgrade of the Dar es Salaam to Isaka Railway – A $653,600 USTDA grant is partially funding a study on the technical and financial feasibility of upgrading the 1,000 kilometer rail link from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to Isaka, Tanzania from narrow gauge to AREMA standard gauge. The goal of the study is to improve rail service in Tanzania, promote the extension of rail service into land-locked Rwanda and promote regional integration in transportation.
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