Our Work

Summary

Trade–Facilitating Agricultural Systems and Technology (T–FAST), will simplify, modernize, and harmonize processes for the export, import, and transit of agricultural goods in Paraguay through implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The project will result in a 14 percent reduction in the cost of trade in agricultural goods, a 30 percent decrease in release time of agricultural goods, and improvements in predictability through transparency and automatization of processes—thereby reducing nontariff barriers to trade. Just as importantly, T–FAST will strengthen and empower Paraguay’s National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) to lead an agenda for continual improvements in trade facilitation that will have a lasting impact well beyond the project term. T–FAST will focus on implementation of Paraguay’s Category C Notifications—where they intersect with trade in agricultural products—to implement both the letter and spirit of the TFA. T–FAST will create improved government processes and systems to increase the efficiency of trade flows for agricultural exports, imports, and goods in transit; civil servants who have the capacity to implement changes through a continuous learning cycle; and improved mechanisms for public-private sector engagement around trade facilitation.

T-FAST Goal and Objectives

T–FAST’s goal is to expand regional and international trade in agricultural goods[1] by reducing costs, rapidly releasing goods, and increasing predictability. T-FAST objectives are:

  • Reduce the cost of trade in agricultural goods
  • Decrease the release time of imported agricultural goods
  • Improve predictability of agricultural trade through increased transparency, streamlining processes, and automating where possible.

T-FAST meeting at the Union Industrial Paraguaya headquarters

T–FAST Activities Areas

This activity will establish the structure through which subsequent activities will take place. It will include strengthening political will by tying TFA priorities to broader government priorities, building the capacity of the NTFC to effectively develop the framework for policy and regulatory reform, and establishing the project Steering Committee.

This activity will include technical and managerial capacity building for select government institutions involved in the regulation and facilitation of trade in agricultural products. The technical assistance will design and manage change at the institutional level for TFA implementation.

This activity will provide technical and managerial capacity building to enable associations to effectively advocate for trade-related reforms.

This activity will support IT systems, lab equipment, and inspection-related infrastructure tied to the capacity building described in Activity 2 (Capacity Building of Government Institutions).

T-FAST meeting at SENACSA labs in February 2020

T–FAST Cross-Cutting Principles to Comprehensive Approach

  1. Maintain and strengthen country ownership and leadership[2] of implementation of the TFA by working through the NTFC—which includes both public and private sectors—and supporting the priorities it has identified. The project will serve as the go-to technical resource to advance the NTFC’s capacity as Paraguay’s preeminent TFA coordination body.
  2. Employ a facilitative approach that builds technical and managerial capacities of public and private sector institutions to implement the TFA.[3] Before working with individual institutions, T–FAST will take a systems approach that requires analyzing trade processes that involve multiple institutions with the aim of streamlining the overall process.
  3. Remain flexible to react to changing conditions and new developments in response to stakeholder needs that leverage momentum for reform.

Meeting held on February 28 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

T–FAST Implementation Team

The International Executive Service Corps (IESC) will lead the four-year, $8.9 million project. T–FAST combines IESC’s experience in facilitating trade, enterprise development, and bringing business solutions to development challenges through successful implementation of USDA projects; the Center for International Private Enterprise’s (CIPE) in-depth global and regional expertise in best practices for trade facilitation interventions; and Kansas State University’s (KSU) excellence in phytosanitary safety. IESC will also draw on a variety of Paraguayan firms with relevant expertise, including in trade law and information and communication technology (ICT).

Funder: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food for Progress
Contact in Paraguay: Daniel Oviedo, Project Director (doviedo@iesc.org)
Contact in the U.S.: Chad Ford, Associate Vice President (cford@iesc.org)

[1] Food for Progress Program (FFPr) USDA Strategic Objective 2 (SO2) funded assistance through the sale of awarded agricultural commodities

[2] USAID. A Comprehensive Approach to Trade Facilitation and Capacity Building: Connecting Developing Countries to Supply Chains. Second Edition. 2015.

[3] Ibid.

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