Bhutan: Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism National Validation Workshop
The Bhutan Department of Revenue and Customs, in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), held a National Validation Workshop on 3-4 August 2016 in Thimphu, Bhutan, to present to stakeholders preliminary study results and findings on studies conducted under the Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism (TTFMM) in Bhutan.
- Delivered a presentation on TTFMM to increase participants' understanding of TTFMM and its key methodologies, including business process analysis (BPA), Time-Cost-Distance (TCD)/corridor performance measurement and monitoring (CPMM), and time release study (TRS);
- Reviewed trade processes of (i) ferro silicon exports along the Kolkata-Jaigoan-Phuentsholing trade route, and (ii) cardamom exports along the Phuentsholing-Jaigoan-Chenggrabandha-Burimari-Dhaka trade route. Use-case diagrams, activity diagrams and process descriptions were presented for discussion;
- Presented key results of TRS carried out in Phuentsholing, Bhutan in June 2016—findings from the TRS confirmed the usefulness of carrying out BPA, TCD and TRS in Bhutan to identify bottlenecks along the supply chains; and
- Discussed results from the TCD/CPMM, which effectively raise awareness on challenges for trade and transport facilitation, and would help monitor progress of transport and trade facilitation along the corridors.
Mr. Nim Dorji, Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Bhutan, delivered the opening address where he emphasized the importance of TTFMM in enhancing trade facilitation in Bhutan, and in implementing the SASEC Trade Facilitation Strategy 2014–2018. He highlighted important initiatives being undertaken in Bhutan to promote trade and transport facilitation, including (i) establishment of the National Transport and Trade Facilitation Committee (NTTFC), (ii) revision of Bhutan’s Customs Act, (iii) diagnostic study on sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade, (iv) development of a mini dry port in Phuentsholing, (v) a bypass road from Phuentsholing to Rinchending, across Dhoti Khola, (vi) a new road to connect Pasakha directly to India, and (vii) construction of a Customs post at Allay.
More than 30 participants from the Government and private sector attended the Workshop, including members of Bhutan's NTTFC.
The TTFMM is an integrated monitoring system that tracks the progress of transport and trade facilitation in Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal to optimize trade and transport processes. The scope of the baseline studies of TTFMM were decided through a series of regional and national training workshops held in November 2013 (Bangkok, Thailand), in March 2014 (Phuentsholing, Bhutan), and in April 2014 (Dhulikhel, Nepal, and Dhaka, Bangladesh). Since 2014, ADB and UNESCAP have been supporting Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal in establishing sustainable TTFMM, in close collaboration with the relevant national trade facilitation committees and/or lead agencies.