Consultants initiated preparation work as of 1 July 2010. They conducted desk research and were fielded in August 2010 to prepare for the inception workshop.
During the Inception Period, 7 August to 15 September 2010, the Consultant Team:
Undertook field visits to two major border crossing locations, one each along the PRC-Vietnam and PRC-Mongolia borders;
Held initial meetings with concerned key government agencies, private sector organizations and other key stakeholder group representatives in the PRC and Mongolia;
Conducted Inception Workshop for Consultant Team members to review TA implementation work plans, approach and methodology in Nanning, PRC;
Identified priority border crossing point locations along the PRC-Vietnam and PRC-Mongolia borders for inclusion in the SME Border Trade Survey (BTS);
Completed interviews and discussions with prospective survey services providers in Vietnam and the PRC;
Developed a detailed design and plan for implementing the SME BTS; and
Finalized arrangements, including corresponding draft documents, and timetable for the selection and recruitment of survey services providers in Vietnam, the PRC and Mongolia.
At the end of the inception period, an Inception Report was delivered. The report detailed potential locations of the survey sites. They are:
PRC: Erlian, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and MON: Zamyn-Uud, Dornogobi
PRC:Ganqimaodao, Bayonnaer, IMAR and MON: Gashuun Sukhait, Omnogobi
PRC:Pingxiang, Guangxi and Vietnam:Lang Son
PRC: Dongxing, Guangxi and Vietnam:Mong Cai
PRC:Long Bang, Guangxi and Vietnam:Cao Bang
Additionally the report detailed proposed methodology and approach for conducting the SME Limited-Scope Survey (LSS).
An Inception Workshop was held in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region from 16-21 August 2010. This planning workshop was attended by all members of the Consultant Team. Following a detailed TA orientation, Team members undertook a thorough review of TA implementation work plans, timelines, approach and methodology for carrying out each component of work. Topics covered include: a presentation on the current border trade environment and key constraints limiting SMEsability to engage in cross-border trade; discussions relating to survey methodology for the planned SME BTS; a presentation on financial sector constraints for SMEs; and findings from the PRC experience on factors affecting SME border trade. Furthermore the workshop provided an opportunity to meet with key government stakeholders whose support would be essential for the succes of the project.
The SME Border Trade Surveys were completed in January 2011 in Mongolia and completed in early February 2011 in Vietnam. The LSS interviews have commenced in both countries and are expected to be completed by the end of February in Mongolia and by end-February/early March in Vietnam. The subcontract agreement with the CAND Group, the PRC survey services provider, was approved by ADB and executed in mid-January 2011. The translation work of the survey instruments into Chinese language and the recruitment and training of enumerators was completed at the end of January. The SME BTS and the LSS interviews in PRC commenced in early February and are expected to be completed by mid to late March 2011.
The initial results of the survey work were presented in a series of seminar/workshops events in Mongolia, Vietnam, and PRC beginning June 2011; through which detailed feedback was solicited from a wide range of public and private sector stakeholders. The dissemination meeting was organized to seek views of stakeholders in both countries on the findings and recommendations of ADB consultants regarding the results of the BTS and verify the initial conclusions.
Going forward, there will be continued dialogue with government counterparts in developing solutions to address the barriers that were highlighted in the surveys; initiate planning for the second wave of seminars to promote analysis/dissemination and related training activities.
The results of the survey work and those which emerge from ongoing seminar/workshop events together will provide a structured take-offpoint for critical research/analysis and training activities for the remaining term of project; and the eventual development of targeted and prioritized recommendations designed to address critical policy/institutional constraints to enhanced SME involvement in border trade networks.
The consultants submitted a draft Interim Progress Report on activities carried out from June 2011. During June-December 2011, eight national and regional seminars were held on the results of the SME BTS. Consultants and analysis of the LSS. These activities had more than 285 participants from the stakeholders of the borders and the capital cities. In Mongolia, a national seminar was held in Ulaanbaatar and a workshop in Zamyn Uud. Given the BTS results that most of the traders and small and medium enterprises in Mongolia operate from the capital city, the national seminar effectively covered also those trading at the Gashuun Sukhait border while the Zamyn Uud workshop took care of the larger trade with PRC.
In PRC, the workshops/seminars were held in Kunming, Yunnan province covering the border of Hekou (with Lao Cai in Viet Nam), and in Nanning, Guangxi Autonomous Region covering the borders of Pingxiang (with Lang Son in Viet Nam), Dongxing (with Mong Cai in Viet Nam), and Longbang (with Cao Bang in Viet Nam). A national seminar in Beijing was held in July 11, 2011 where national officials were the participants. The workshop/seminar held in Lang Son border covered the 4 borders of Viet Nam with PRC together with national officials from Hanoi in attendance. A separate workshop/seminar was held in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia PRC on October 11, 2011 covering the borders of Erlian and Guanqimaodao with Mongolia.
The workshops/seminars managed to draw in (varying across the countries) the private sector in the proceedings. On the other hand, the national seminar in PRC held in Beijing focused mainly on policy issues and thus the participation was principally government agencies. The results of the earlier meetings before the national seminar provided the feedback from the private sector (traders, SMEs, banks) which were reported at the national seminar.
The consultants prepared an internal report on fee structure (tariffs imposed on cargo movement), transport costs, information system, and training following on the results of the BTS focusing on Mongolia.
The consultants undertook in October 2011 an intensive research mission to visit the countries, meet with finance officials and private financial institutions, and examine the regulatory environment and related constraints to more robust SME participation in border trade financing networks. They met with a range of financial sector and SME counterparts, and selected host country officials, to discuss and analyze key constraints to and potential innovative institutional responses to effectively and sustainably address the financing needs of SMEs engaged in border trading activities.
Nine workshops have been conducted during March and June 2012, three consecutive workshops in each country. Each of the 3 workshops had specific objectives and distinct target groups. Workshop 1 was to disseminate the implications from the BTS and LSS surveys on SME financial access, and the results of the mission of the Access to Finance Expert to Mongolia and Viet Nam. Workshop 2 was to foment a proactive discussion of and provide initial training related to a range of financial products and services to support SME cross-border trade. Workshop 3 was to address and provide effective e outreach support on the broader non-financial constraints to SME cross-border trade expansion. Thus the participants to Workshop 1 were mostly public and private sector agencies (both finance and non-finance areas); those in Workshop 2 were financial organizations and financial regulatory agencies; and those in Workshop 3 were government and non-government organizations with broader cross-border interests which included beyond financing issues. An interim progress report was submitted in May 2012.
The final workshops were held in Viet Nam on 13 July 2012, Mongolia on 18 September 2012, and PRC on 20 September 2012. The final workshops sought each government's feedback on findings and recommendations on enhancing cross-border trade services and rules for SMEs, to determine the succeeding policy and program directions, and to define the government's and AD's roles in the process. A regional workshop to be participated by three countries is proposed to discuss common and bilateral issues.
The regional workshops originally scheduled in the second half of 2012 has been delayed due to government transition in Mongolia, preparation of action plan of recommendations in Viet Nam, and difficulty in fulfilling the convenience of participating coutries, and now scheduled on 23-24 May 2013 in Beijing.