Reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers is key to encouraging the free flow of trade and stimulating cross-border investment between countries. The implementation of trade facilitation measures and increasing trade-related services is crucial to overcome limited domestic markets, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Regional economic integration processes in Asia have led to a significant reduction of trade barriers, but intra-regional trade flows in Asia remain unbalanced between countries. Given the development gaps in the region, countries such as Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Vietnam, and Mongolia encounter obstacles in utilizing potential benefits of regional economic integration, with businesses lacking the capacity to overcome trade obstacles and national administrations facing difficulties in implementing rules and regulations for cross-border exchange.
Objective and approach
The project works with four selected focus countries – Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam in the framework of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), and Mongolia in the framework of the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI) – and the PR China. The latter adopts an active role as both an economic and development partner to ensure the equal inclusion of the focus countries’ interests in regional and global integration processes.
The objective is to improve the conditions for regional and global agricultural trade in the selected focus countries.
The projects main activities include providing capacity building, organising training and dialogue events within the areas of agricultural trade facilitation, cross-border cooperation and private sector promotion.
The project encompasses three key areas:
▪ enhancing the access of SMEs in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Mongolia and Vietnam to trade-related services for agricultural export.
▪ strengthening the structures for cross-border (sub-) regional cooperation between the focus countries and China.
▪ fostering regional and triangular measures for knowledge exchange among the focus countries and with China in the field of regional economic cooperation.
Cross-cutting topics within implementation are a special focus on inclusion of female entrepreneurs in regional economic integration processes as well as the utilisation of respective digital applications and tools (e.g. within e-commerce).
The project also pilots innovative triangular cooperation measures in the area of economic cooperation in which China is included in its capacity as a global development partner.
Duration 04/2019– 03/2022
Cooperation with China
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs of Ministry of Commerce, China, and GIZ SRECA was signed in April 2019 to strengthen collaboration and inclusion of Chinese actors as economic and development partners.
Private Sector Development and Trade Promotion:
To support private sector development within ACFTA, the project strengthened Cambodian and Vietnamese businesses in exporting of agricultural goods to the Chinese market. Seven product specific export guidelines were issued and introduced to the business community and public sector. They are utilised for training and are further updated by partners like the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE). For Mogolian SMEs, the Mongolian Chamber of Commerce (MNCCI) initiated the compilation of expert guidelines to the Russian and Chinese market. Together with Chinese experts a fresh fruit export to facilitate market access to China was issued. Additionally, a study with the Center for Agricultural Market Studies to import safe meat products from Mongolia to China is underway.
Facilitation and Advisory Services for Sub-Regional Initiatives:
The project provides training and advice to the GTI Secretariat, including a Knowledge Management (KM) Workshop for the GTI Secretariat to improve its institutional capacity, joint development of a GTI KM framework with the Secretariat, and further KM capacity buildings. The GTI Consultive Committee Meeting was supported by inputs from the GIZ Country Director China and GIZ experts on trade and investment cooperation, European cross-border experiences, and green development. The establishment of the GTI Business Association platform was supported by the project to ensure a better inclusion of the private sector in regional integration processes in Northeast Asia. Together with MofCom the project supported the stock-taking of the Roadmap for Trade and Investment Cooperation of GTI (2017 -2020). Two Mongolian GTI Stakeholder workshops with respective focal points were held, to improve the inclusion and utilisation of Mongolian driven projects in regional GTI processes. Together with China Customs, the project is supporting a project from Mongolian Customs on regional inward and outward processing procedures. Mongolian Stakeholders were further supported in the GTI Local Cooperation Committee (LCC) for cross-border cooperation on the provincial level.
Regional and Triangular Cooperation:
With partners in Nanning/Qinzhou Guangxi, China, the project delivers triangular port management trainings for ASEAN countries.
Together with the BMZ Project Facilitation of Agricultural Goods (FTAG), joint regional workshops on standard operating procedures (SOP) for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures were held in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. SPS training and guidelines for safe export to China for respective officials in Vietnam was held in September and October 2019. With the Chinese Agricultural Trade Promotion Center (ATPC), a triangular pilot workshop regarding SPS and agricultural trade processes to China was conducted back to back with the ATPC, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development conference on agricultural polies and trade in December 2019. A follow-up training and workshop for 2020 is currently coordinated.
With the Women Economic Council in Mongolia and the Women Economic Council in China a triangular exchange including German expertise on the inclusion of female entrepreneurs in regional economic cooperation and trade is in discussion and envisaged for the second half of 2020.
The project facilitated the preparation of the first triangular cooperation project between China, Germany and Lao PDR under the Sino-German Center for Sustainable Development entitled “Sino-German Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for Rural Jobs in Laos”.
To learn more about Support of Regional Economic Cooperation in Asia (SRECA), please visit the project website.