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Private sector-led integration and free trade agreements in South Asia

The feasibility study will cover three areas:

(i) NTB Surveillance and Monitoring

The consultant will analyze how to identify and classify trade restrictive measures in South Asia. He/she will examine ways to monitor NTBs and identify relevant categories such as type, source, consistency with international standards, and date of identification to catalog NTBs into groupings. In doing so, the consultant will assess the quantity and quality of data on NTBs as well as the availability of common definitions and methodologies, and frameworks for mutual recognition.

The consultant will design the components of a NTB notification system and provide models for gathering information about NTBs, including through surveys and regional and multilateral cooperation. He/she will design an online database consisting of NTB inventories that will complement the NTB notification system. Where appropriate, tools for comparison with other international NTB databases and surveillance mechanisms will be provided.

(ii) Upgrading and Conforming to Technical Standards

The consultant will outline strategies to strengthen human and institutional capacities for collecting and analyzing data on NTBs and design technical assistance programs to help firms, especially SMEs, meet technical standards and ensure transparency and access to NTB related data. He/she will develop methods to encourage businesses to build relationships with relevant trade and industry associations and form joint ventures or technology transfer agreements with foreign companies to gain support while adapting to technical regulations. Where appropriate, the consultant will draw upon ADB and ADBI research in this field. 

(iii) NTB Resolution Mechanism

The consultant will examine how to implement a new, flexible and expedient NTB resolution mechanism to tackle NTBs in South Asia. The analysis will look to other regional and multilateral mechanism in force and in particular address the following issues: the definition and scope of NTBs covered; procedure; the mandate of the facilitator (or panel, mediator) to look at the legality and/or adverse effects of the measure; the mandate of the facilitator to provide an advisory opinion or promote a compromise; the legal status and enforceability of any such opinion or proposed compromise; and the relationship to dispute settlement in SAFTA and the WTO.

The consultant will also outline strategies to build support and interest from governments and business community in the region and promote conciliatory proceedings to mitigate non-compliance. He/she will also provide a model for linking the resolution mechanism to the NTB surveillance and monitoring system.

Staff

Jodie Keane, Jane Kennan, Chris Stevens, Sheila Page