The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF) is a public-private delivery mechanism created to support effective implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (“TFA”) through partnerships between governments and private sector. GATF is a cooperative effort funded by the governments of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Australia, and Denmark. The GATF Secretariat is composed of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC-WBO), and the World Economic Forum (WEF), with Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) as implementing partner.
CIPE strengthens democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform. CIPE is one of the four core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy and an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Since 1983, CIPE has been working from the ground up with partners to find locally driven solutions to problems that affect the lives of millions of people. CIPE believes democracy is strongest when the private sector is flourishing. Working with local partners that include business associations, chambers of commerce, think tanks, universities and advocacy organizations, CIPE is helping create the enabling environment for business to thrive. CIPE’s key program areas include enterprise ecosystems, business advocacy, democratic governance, and anti-corruption & ethics. CIPE delivers program excellence globally (www.cipe.org). CIPE is a public charity, tax-exempt under Section 501(c) (3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.
Trade facilitation is a key national priority for Vietnam’s government. Since 2014, changes in legal and regulatory frameworks have significantly simplified customs procedures and increased transparency. Yet many shipments are held within congested Vietnamese ports simply due to a lengthy release process. Vietnam’s hold rates for imports and exports remain among the highest in Asia. The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation is working with the government and the private sector to implement a modern customs bond system for the conditional release of goods. Vietnam will be the first country in Asia with such an all-encompassing system. Traders will be able to purchase bonds to guarantee their payment of duties and taxes as well as regulatory compliance, allowing customs to expedite release of their goods.
The project involves: (1) analyzing how the new system will enhance Vietnam’s competitiveness in global supply chains; (2) designing a bond management software module that will interface with Vietnam’s existing e-Customs system; (3) developing a customs bond pricing model in consultation with insurers; (4) providing training for customs and other government officials, as well as private sector stakeholders; and (5) supporting the legal and regulatory reforms required to implement the project.
2. POSITION OVERVIEW
CIPE is looking to retain the services of a Business Agent to work with CIPE’s Trade team in Washington DC and Vietnam.
The Business Agent handles all of CIPE’s transactions on the ground, providing administrative, logistical, and regulatory support to the Trade team to enhance the timeliness and efficiency of project implementation. The Business Agent will be closely working with the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF) project team, the in-country representative, in-country consultants and government entities tied to the implementation of the Project.
The role will report directly to CIPE’s Senior Program Officer for Trade. The selected candidate must demonstrate prior experience in complex and sensitive endeavors with a history of positive outcomes. The selected candidate is expected to be an established and registered entity in Vietnam with the proper licensing to undertake the role of a pass-through/similar entity. It is an operational requirement for the Business Agent to have a proper understanding of the legal and regulatory landscape of Vietnam as it relates to, but not limited to, labor, taxation, procurement, and immigration laws.
3. SCOPE OF SERVICES
The Business Agent shall be responsible for the following tasks:
- Conduct procurement, in line with Vietnamese law and CIPE procurement policy, of necessary services and items for project activity undertaking;
- Enter into and managing professional and labor contractual relationships in accordance with the tax and labor law of Vietnam, on behalf of CIPE, with Vietnamese citizens and residents for the purpose of undertaking Project Activities;
- Provide logistical support to the CIPE Trade Team to fulfill programmatic roles;
- Obtain information about or inspect conference facilities, equipment and accommodations to ensure that they meet specifications and events need;
- Submit periodic accounting reports on undertakings as deemed necessary and upon request by CIPE;
- Host the Country Representative in the capacity of retained foreign consultant and assist in retaining the proper documentation to work in Vietnam;
- Manage the Country Representative’s fiscal responsibilities and other legal responsibilities arising in connection with his contract with CIPE while in Vietnam, in such manner the Business Agent would afford to any ordinary consultant or employee retained in the ordinary course of its business.
- Other duties within the general framework of this scope of service as assigned by the CIPE Trade Team.
- Demonstrable financial good standing and sustainable organizational foundation
- Possession of valid license to advise foreign entities in Vietnam on the matters described in the scope of work
- Significant experience representing high level foreign entities in Vietnam
- Experience working with governmental or intergovernmental entities required
- Staff should possess fluency in written and spoken English and Vietnamese
- Ability to enforce contracts
- Staff must have the ability to travel within Vietnam
5. DURATION OF ASSIGNMENT
The term of this contract shall begin on August 1, 2019 and it shall end on August 31, 2020.
6. REPORTING ARRANGEMENTS
The role will report directly to CIPE’s Senior Program Officer for Trade.
7. SELECTION CRITERIA
CIPE will rate proposals based on the following factors: (1) Responsiveness to the requirements set forth in this request for proposals; (2) relevant performance and work experience; and (3) cost (CIPE reserves the right to award to the bidder that presents the best value to the interest of the project as determined solely by CIPE in its absolute discretion).
Minimum submission requirements met
2) Past Performance
Experience showing competence and expertise in meeting the requirements of the Scope of Service
4) Cost Proposal
The review of the cost proposal shall determine if the overall costs proposed are reasonable
Please submit the following documents for consideration:
- Cover letter indicating interest
- Narrative description of experience providing the services described in the Scope of Services
- Past Performance References
- Cost Proposal
Applications not including the requested information will not be considered
Please submit the documents requested in PDF format to Benjamin Shotzberger (BShotzberger@cipe.org) by 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, July 5, 2019. Include in the subject line: “Business Agent – CIPE TRADE/GATF.”
Please submit any questions in relation to this RFP by email to: BShotzberger@cipe.org and include in the subject line “Business Agent – CIPE TRADE/GATF RFP Questions