New project seeks to build the capacity of stakeholders from the public and private sectors to implement trade facilitation reforms.
UNCTAD has launched a project to assist Paraguay in implementing reforms to make trade more efficient by enhancing the capacity of its national trade facilitation committee (NTFC).
The project rolled out in February aims to reinforce the role and capacity of the NTFC to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
It is supported by the World Bank Group and the European Union.
“We’re seeking to help Paraguay's NTFC increase opportunities for the private sector, particularly micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), to integrate regional and global supply chains,” said Pamela Ugaz, an economic affairs officer in UNCTAD’s trade facilitation section.
UNCTAD will build the capacity of the Paraguayan NTFC comprising stakeholders from the public and private sectors to develop project proposals and better monitor trade facilitation reforms.
It will also provide country-specific advisory services to the NTFC Secretariat and help it develop a workplan and communication strategy.
The project will also raise awareness on the importance of mainstreaming gender in trade facilitation reforms by training the NTFC members on how to enhance the role of women in the reforms.
Simplifying trade procedures
The project will build on Paraguay’s commitment to advancing the simplification and efficiency of trade procedures.
Paraguay ratified the WTO’s TFA in January 2016. According to its notifications to the WTO, the south American country has implemented 52.5% of the 36 measures contained in the TFA.
It has indicated that 19.3% of the measures would require a transition period for implementation, while the remaining 28.2% would need additional capacity-building support.
Paraguay formally established its NTFC in 2017 in compliance with the TFA. This body is responsible for the national coordination and implementation of the TFA.
It boasts multisectoral membership with representatives from the public and the private sectors jointly working together to make trade cheaper and faster.
Partnership to bolster business climate
The project falls under a European Union-funded programme dubbed "MiPYME COMPITE", aimed at promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth and creating formal jobs through more competitive MSMEs.
In addition, it contributes to the World Bank Group’s work in reducing barriers to the formalization of MSMEs and investment from the private sector through improvements in the regulatory framework in Paraguay.
UNCTAD is contributing to these initiatives through its long-standing experience in trade facilitation.
As part of its technical assistance mandate, UNCTAD supports the formulation of trade facilitation strategies in developing countries and least-developed countries.
This helps to increase intra-regional trade and trade efficiency through reduced time and costs of trade procedures.
UNCTAD’s approach focuses on improving the institutional environment of trade facilitation at both national and regional levels as well as strengthening the capacities of NTFCs.
It has supported more than 50 NTFCs around the world through its different programmes, notably the Empowerment Programme for NTFCs, an intensive professional programme for secretariats and their members.
The programme helps NTFCs implement, in a coordinated manner, trade facilitation reforms, including the provisions of the WTO TFA.