Launch of $1.5 million Japan fund for Poverty Reduction Technical Assistance in Bhutan for Trade Facilitation
3 February 2014
Mr. Nim Dorji, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance represented the Royal Government of Bhutan at the official launch of activities under a $1.5 million technical assistance project financed by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR), on 16 December 2013 in Thimphu, Bhutan. The capacity development technical assistance will support trade facilitation initiatives being carried out under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Trade Facilitation Program. Mr. Shoichiro Yuyama, First Secretary of the Government of Japan’s Embassy in New Delhi, India, represented JFPR, and Mr. Sekhar Bonu, Director, South Asia Regional Department, represented the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The technical assistance was approved by ADB in August 2013 and will support Bhutan in implementing necessary trade facilitation reforms and measures, in line with the ADB-financed SASEC Trade Facilitation Program, approved in November 2012. It will work to reduce the time and cost of trade for Bhutan; align Bhutan customs procedures and practices with internationally accepted standard; and decrease the time to import and export goods. Specific activities include:
- Supporting Bhutan’s accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), promoting understanding and awareness among key stakeholders of the benefits and implications of the RKC;
- Enhancing the capacity of Bhutan Customs automation through support for systems upgrades to Bhutan’s Regulatory Audit Management Information System and provision of technical expertise and limited software and hardware assistance to bring implementation of customs facilitation measures in line with the RKC; and
- Assisting Bhutan in the establishment of a National Trade Facilitation Committee through provision of strategic and technical support to the government of Bhutan.
The Government of Bhutan will provide counterpart support equivalent to $150,000, and the technical assistance will run until July 2015. JFPR is also financing a $1.5 million regional technical assistance initiative to support trade facilitation in the three SASEC countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal.