Bhutan: Supporting Participation in the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Trade Facilitation Program

Sovereign Project | 47025-001 Status: Active


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Project Name Supporting Participation in the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Trade Facilitation Program
Project Number 47025-001
Country Bhutan
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 8437-BHU: Supporting Participation in the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Trade Facilitation Program
Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction US$ 1.50 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Regional integration
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Industry and trade - Industry and trade sector development

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome
Progress Toward Outcome Bhutan acceded to the Revised Kyoto Convention in September 2014, and is committed to implementing necessary measures to bring regulatory frameworks and procedures into line with the General Annex of the Convention. The amended Customs Act, associated Rules and Regulations, and Regulatory Impact Assessment, drafted with assistance from the TA, will be discussed in the National Assembly summer session 2016, for subsequent approval by the National Council in the winter session, January 2017.
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs
Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

1.1. Bhutan acceded to the Revised Kyoto Convention 15 September 2014, as the ninety-eighth contracting party. The technical assistance is supporting implementation of the General Annex of the RKC. Training was delivered on implementation of specific modules of the RKC delivered 9-13 June 2014 in Thimphu, Bhutan for the Department of Revenue and Customs (DRC), together with external stakeholders for sensitization purposes. Further, a nation-wide series of RKC awareness-raising workshops and consultations with all stakeholders was successfully conducted by the Department of Revenue and Customs during October and November 2014.

1.2. A Regulatory Impact Assessment Report (based upon amendments made to Bhutan's Customs Act and Rule) has been certified by the Department of Revenue and Customs.

1.3. Comprehensive consultations with public and private sector stakeholders have been held on the proposed amended Customs Act and Rule (October 2014).

1.4. An international Customs modernization expert is being financed through the TA to support DRC in drafting and finalizing the Rules and regulations during June-Oct 2015.

1.5. A Consultation Workshop on the Rules and Regulations will be held (September 2015) to familiarize all affected at-border and behind-the-border agencies and departments.

1.6. To support implementation of the provisions of the RKC, DRC conducted a National Experts Workshop on Customs Valuation in Paro, Bhutan (June 2015), focusing on development of Customs valuation Standard Operating Procedures manual. The Workshop was guided by expertise form the WCO/ROCB A/P, and funded by the TA.

1.7. A second consultation workshop was conducted on the final draft Rules and Regulations in December 2016, where the consultant presented the completed Rules and Regulations documentation.

2.1. User Acceptance Testing of the Customs module within RAMIS continued through the final quarter of 2014, and necessary adjustments made.

2.2. Schedule of roll out of all Customs sub-modules of RAMIS for 2015 has been agreed.

2.3. RAMIS technical developer has conducted week-long user acceptance test and training of trainers on use of priority 1 module (25 May-01 June 2015), focusing on sub-components of import India and export, for 32 participants from DRC, in Thimphu, Bhutan. Onward training to 262 Customs officers will follow from this training in June 2015.

2.4. RAMIS developer conducted a 10-day user acceptance test and training of trainers on use of priority 2 module (17-26 August), focusing on third-country import, and export (including post parcel, courier, passenger terminal, air cargo, and others) for 34 participants from DRC, in Thimphu, Bhutan. Onward training to 262 Customs officers in six strategic locations around Bhutan followed on from this training during September 2015.

2.5. The third and final user acceptance testing and end user training is envisaged for June 2016, following stakeholders' meeting in February 2016, in Thimphu.

2.6. The TA is supporting two international Customs/IT consultants to work closely with DRC in conducting a gap analysis on the functional and system requirement specifications of the RAMIS Customs modules currently under development, to ensure compliance with the needs of DRC and the provisions of the RKC.

3.1. Support rendered to Bhutan's National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) in strategic planning, and logistical convening of first five General Meetings of the Committee (January, May, September, and October 2014, and May 2015).

3.2. The TA is financing capacity-building activities for the NTFC, including development of a trade information portal, hosted by Bhutan's Department of Trade, and coordinated through the NTFC.

3.3. Bhutan's NTFC was expanded in August 2015, by Executive Order of the Ministry of Finance, to become the National Trade Facilitation and Transport Committee (NTTFC), to accommodate the requirement for a National Transport Facilitation Committee, under the provisions of the recently signed Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement.

3.4. The NTTFC Secretariat established its first Working Group committee and conducted an orientation for the Working group in September 2015, where agreement was reached on the Working Group's work plan.

3.5. The TA supported a National Workshop on the Single Window, Coordinated Border Management and WCO Data Model, with technical expertise from WCO in November 2015. The workshop was held in Paro, Bhutan and a total of 24 participants joined form relevant NTTFC agencies. A special day-long session was held for the Committee Members of the NTTFC, to focus on strategic visioning and planning of a single electronic window system for Bhutan.

3.6. Under the auspices of the NTTFC, the Department of Trade (DoT) is conducting a feasibility study for development of an effective and dynamic trade information portal (TIP) in Bhutan. A team of international and national consultants were fielded in January-February 2016 to work with the NTTFC Secretariat, DoT, DRC and other relevant border agencies and develop options and scenarios for a TIP, supported by the TA. The final report and recommendations is currently under consideration by DoT and other relevant agencies of the NTTFC.

3.7. The TA supported the drafting of a Strategic Framework and Action Plan for the NTTFC 2016-2017, conducted by national Customs expert in Bhutan.

Geographical Location

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design The SASEC Transport and Trade Facilitation Working Group (TFTWG) met in Kolkata, India in March 2012 and in Thimphu, Bhutan in November 2012, where continued support from ADB was requested for the implementation of priority trade facilitation measures in SASEC countries. In particular, the DRC of Bhutan requested ADB to provide specific technical support to strengthen the capacity of Bhutan's Customs in trade facilitation. In November 2012, an ADB mission to Thimphu, Bhutan met with the Ministry of Finance (Department of Public Accounts [DPA]) and the DRC to further discuss TA requirements. The SASEC Trade Facilitation Week held in Bangkok, Thailand in March 2013, together with an ADB mission to Thimphu, Bhutan in April 2013 that met with DRC and DPA, identified specific customs components for inclusion in the TA. All consulted parties agreed on the expected impacts and outcomes of the TA with strong support for the TA design and implementation.
During Project Implementation

Business Opportunities

Consulting Services A total of 147 person-months of consultancy services will be engaged for this TA including 86 person-months of national consultancy. Consultant firms and individuals will be engaged in accordance with ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2010, as amended from time to time).

Responsible Staff

Responsible ADB Officer Rosalind McKenzie
Responsible ADB Department South Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Div, SARD
Executing Agencies
Asian Development Bank
6 ADB Avenue,
Mandaluyong City 1550, Philippines


Concept Clearance 16 May 2013
Fact Finding -
Approval -
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 03 Mar 2016

TA 8437-BHU

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
20 Aug 2013 11 Sep 2013 11 Sep 2013 31 Jul 2015 31 Dec 2017 -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
0.00 1,500,000.00 150,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1,650,000.00 20 Aug 2013 612,081.24

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