RFP Establishing a Center for Trade Facilitation and Good Practices in Colombia

RFP

ESTABLISHING A CENTER FOR TRADE FACILITATION AND GOOD PRACTICES IN COLOMBIA
 

TERMS OF REFERENCE
 

CONSULTING SERVICES FOR INSTITUTIONAL SET UP OF THE CENTER

1. BACKGROUND

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.

GATF is in the process of implementing a project to address proper execution of advance rulings in the automotive sector in Colombia through a specialized processing center. Industry importers have identified classification, valuation, and origin as their major concern at the border. Although the government has taken steps to address them, Colombia still faces challenges in the implementation of a fully functioning advance rulings regime. The issues are diverse: lack of harmonization of rulings, rare consultations between Colombian Customs and automotive industry, poorly functioning appeals mechanism, challenges to communicating rulings to the public, etc.

To address these challenges, GATF in partnership with the Colombian government proposes to establish the Center for Trade Facilitation and Good Practices (the Center). The Center will run a program for processing advance rulings focusing on tariff classification, valuation, and rules of origin for the automotive industry. The Center represents a new approach to address advance rulings challenges in Colombia. It is in principle based on the model, scope of work, and initial mandate of the Centers for Excellence and Expertise (CEEs) in the United States. This is a mechanism that attempts to centralize and harmonize customs rulings for the automotive industry regardless of the point of entry of the product. The Center is virtual in nature, focusing on commodities rather than the importer’s physical location, bringing all of Custom’s specific trade expertise in advance rulings to a strategic one-stop center, treating requests on an account rather than transaction basis. The Center will be a mechanism of specialized knowledge operating within Colombia’s customs authority (DIAN).

The project will eventually lead to better identification of procedural bottlenecks at the border for the automotive industry. In general, it should lead to increased coordination and trust among government agencies and the automotive sector, ultimately reducing wait times at the border. The industry should see an improvement of cargo movement and quicker release times, reduced costs, increased compliance with applicable laws, and better knowledge in DIAN to address industry-specific issues. Industry importers can also expect an increase in uniformity for rulings across all ports of entry. The government will gain more specialized knowledge about the automotive industry and be able to deliver harmonization and greater consistency in advance rulings, becoming better prepared to respond to a dynamic trade environment.

The project will be implemented in five (5) phases and has a total duration of twenty-four (24) months. A working group will be established during Phase I and II to supervise (1) the implementation of the Center, (2) development of preparatory work and education process for all stakeholders in Colombia, (3) development of the institutional set up of the Center, and (4) rulings reform. During Phase III, IV and V, the project will (1) plan for testing and launching of the Center, (2) conduct legal review and evaluation of requirements, as well as (3) an assessment of impact on external users.

To support the implementation of the project, GATF wishes to hire the services of a professional consultant who will work closely and cooperatively with the project working group to ensure the timely and adequate implementation of phase II of the project: institutional set-up of the Center.

CIPE is requesting proposals for the delivery of preparatory and technical advice to support the project’s educational mission in Colombia aimed at disseminating a better understanding of the functioning of the U.S. Centers of Excellence and Expertise established by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, with particular attention paid to the automotive industry.

2. GENERAL OBJECTIVES 

The objective of this consultancy is to support project stakeholders in the writing of a comprehensive next-step report, focusing on outlining  the institutional set up, necessary training, and a comparison of international best practices for the Center. The report will have to incorporate private sector input and have the full approval of DIAN.

3. SCOPE OF WORK

Under the supervision of the Program Officer of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation and liaising closely with the GATF Regional Representative, the selected candidate (whether a natural or legal person) is expected to conduct, the following activities, and technical services:

  • Provide technical support for the GATF educational visit scheduled for the first half of 2019. The goal is to educate local stakeholders on the functioning of the U.S. CEEs, specifically the automotive CEE. The consultant is expected to deliver a written report and conduct a training workshop to address at least the following topics:
    1. Purpose and history of the CEEs
    2. Definition and scope of work for Center Director
    3. Designation of Center Management at central and local level.
    4. Assignment of Importers to the Centers
    5. Transitioning of trade functions to the Centers
    6. Scope of Industries covered by the Automotive Center
  • Provide training regarding the understanding and content of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), and in particular focussed on the importance of advance rulings for tariff classification, valuation, and origin.
  • Provide a one day training on best practices for technical logistics for the automotive sector.
  • Work with an interdisciplinary team composed of experts from the government, private sector, and GATF, to implement the activities identified in the project plan.
  • Liaising with the Project Working Group and on a regular basis;
  • Any other relevant tasks as determined by the Program Officer and the GATF Colombia Country Representative.

4. SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES

It is expected that the consultant will conduct, at a minimum, the following activities:

  • Present research, analysis, and any recommendation(s) to the Project Working Group and participate in dialogue surrounding the report
  • Compile decision outcomes into a comprehensive report, detailing recommended regulatory changes.
  • Provide training workshops to the representatives from the Colombian government and the private sector in at least four cities in Colombia as assigned by GATF.
  • Provide all meetings and workshops in Spanish language is preferable; however, translation services for both English and Spanish languages may be provided. 

5. DURATION OF THE ASSIGNMENT

The selected candidate is expected to start soon after selection on June 15, for a total of thirty (30) working days. Schedule subject to confirmation. The selected candidate will report to the CIPE Program Officer for Trade Facilitation, and GATF Country Representative for Colombia.

6. ADMINISTRATIVE AND LOGISTICAL ARRANGEMENTS

  • Meeting space will be provided by Colombian Customs and Bogota Chamber of Commerce at their headquarters in Bogotá, Colombia
  • Candidates need not reside in Bogotá, but will need to possess sufficient capability to remotely carry out detailed activities when necessary

The selected candidate will be asked to conduct one (1) mission to Colombia during the course of this consultancy, lasting approximately up to fifteen (15) days. Funding for the trip will be allocated by the GATF in addition to agreed compensation. All costs incurred and expense reimbursements are governed by applicable U.S. law and regulation, as well as CIPE policy.

7. REPORT OF DELIVERABLES AND PAYMENT SCHEDULE

For the performance of duties outlined in this Terms of Reference. Terms of payment will be contractually negotiated with the selected candidate. All contractual terms are subject to CIPE policy and applicable U.S. law and regulation.

8. TECHNICAL PROFILE OF CANDIDATE

Qualifications

  • Minimum Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Economics, or another relevant field. 

Knowledge/Experience

  • At least five (5) years of experience working in a project-oriented organization or managing a variety of modernization projects
  • At least five (5) years working in customs, customs compliance, trade facilitation, or similar field
  • Demonstrated experience with customs regulations
  • Familiarity with Centers for Excellence and Expertise in the United States
  • Sound working knowledge of project management techniques, tools, and software.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, including Microsoft Project or similar
  • The consultant must demonstrate knowledge of the automotive sector and the CEEs in the United States.

9. EVALUATION METHODOLOGY

Evaluation of an applicant’s suitability for this consultancy will be based on the applicant’s technical background as provided on the resume, cover letter and competitive financial requirements to complete the assignment. Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.

10. APPLICATION

Please submit your resume/technical proposal and financial requirements in PDF format to:

Florent Bakija: FBakija@cipe.org  by 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time, June 11, 2019. Include in the subject line: Proposal for Centers Project.

Any questions in relation to this RFP must be submitted by email to: FBakija@cipe.org

CIPE is an Equal Opportunity Employer.