The Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS)/Trade and Regulatory Capacity Building Division (TRCBD) provides trade partners with capacity building that enables their adoption and implementation of obligations under the international Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO). FAS and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) work hand in hand to increase Bangladesh’s ability to improve its institutional regulatory system through the Bangladesh SPS Trade Capacity Building Program. This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) supports the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Strategic Plan by the following:
1. Supporting trade policy by pursuing the development of rules-based international systems that facilitate global trade.
2. Supporting trade capacity building and Food Security by enhancing partner countries’ capacity for agricultural development and participation in international trade.
Land O’Lakes Venture37 is pleased to submit the semi-annual performance report for the Bangladesh Trade Facilitation project (BTF). BTF objectives are to expand trade in agricultural products by reducing the cost of trade and decreasing the release time of imported agricultural goods, and to increase agricultural productivity by improving processes through increased transparency, streamlining, and automating methods. As of the end of this reporting period, we are pleased to highlight progress against the performance indicators that had targets for Year 1 of project implementation
• 37 individuals (target: 20) received short-term agricultural sector productivity training.
• 37 individuals (target: 80) participated in USDA food security programs.
Because BTF is primarily a capacity building and organizational development activity, there were limited objective, quantified performance targets for the first year of implementation. The significant achievements during the period included analyses, assessments, and negotiations with cooperating Government of Bangladesh (GoB) agencies. The results of these activities are, as planned, the foundation for implementation in Program Year 2 and will result in the expected change in procedures, automation of processes, and public and private investments. The highlights include: Completing the Comprehensive Trade Assessment (CTA) was a principal activity for first program year. The findings were used to discuss and agree on the priority activities with nine GoB agencies, for which memorandums of understanding (MoUs) are pending execution with all nine agencies.
Drawing on organizational scorecards and more than 80 key informant interviews (KIIs), National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC) completed a Baseline Evaluation that reviewed the status of the trade facilitation framework and current capacities of relevant institutions. NORC also developed a trade model to further evaluate the impact of BTF. Based the team’s experience in other countries and aligned with global best practices for cold storage systems at ports, we completed an Investment Options Analysis and recommended opportunities for investment in cold storage infrastructure. The recommendations combine cold storage facilities with inspection points at major ports and will help stakeholders to understand the market situation and evaluate investment opportunities. Based on a preliminary review of laws and rules undertaken during the CTA, BTF operationalized recommendations to improve the legal framework. We completed detailed analyses of the Import Policy Order and the Export Policy and presented recommendations to the Ministry of Commerce (MoC). In addition, using comparative analysis, a practicum of legal students issued a report identifying current gaps and comparing Bangladesh’s legal and policy framework to other countries with respect to four World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) obligations and international best practices.