SHORT-TERM CONSULTANCY FOR COLLECTION, TRANSPOSITION, FORMATTING AND PROFILING OF TRADE DATA OF PACIFIC ACP STATES
EU-Pacific EPA PACP parties and observers, plus Niue. (Fiji, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Timor Leste, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu).
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat as the Pillar Assessed Entity (PAE) in the implementation of the SPIRIT Project under the EU PRISE programme for the Pacific region.
The PACP region accounts for almost eighteen percent of the entire ACP membership (15/79 ACP member states), with most PACP States comprising Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries that are vulnerable to existing cycles of natural disasters which have been exacerbated by climate change. Intra-PACP trade and trade with the broader ACP-EU group are constrained by PACPS’ small domestic markets, geographical isolation from key markets, and high connectivity barriers creating further impediments to trade.
This is further impacted by COVID-19 disruptions to supply chains, global trade, and border closures. The regional Comprehensive EPA provided the PACPS an opportunity to pursue a legally binding Agreement that would form the basis of ongoing development relations between Pacific ACP States (PACPS) and the European Union going forward.
PACP States have been negotiating the Comprehensive EPA with the EU since 2004. In 2007, following the expiration of the WTO Waiver to non-reciprocal trading relations between the EU and the ACP and to safeguard their trade with the EU, Fiji and Papua New Guinea (PNG) signed onto the interim EPA (iEPA).
Samoa (December 2019) and Solomon Islands (May 2020) have acceded to the iEPA, and both Tonga and Timor-Leste have informed the EU of their intention to accede to the Agreement. The four (Fiji, PNG, Samoa, and Solomon Islands) PACP states will support the implementation and the functioning of the existing iEPA, encouraging the accession of interested parties and, where appropriate, broadening the scope of the iEPA.
In the Pacific Regional Integration Support Programme (PRISE) of the 11th European Development Fund (11th EDF), component 1.3 on Strengthening Pacific Intra-Regional and International Trade (SPIRIT) is being implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) as the Pillar Assessed Entity (PAE).
The Specific Objective of SPIRIT is to strengthen Pacific Intra-Regional and International Trade. This will be achieved through a coherent, multi-track engagement process at the national, sub-regional, and regional levels.
Key activities include: • Strengthening PACP countries’ policy formulation and human resource capacities with their respective trade and investment-related institutions with the provision of three Spokes/Trade Advisers to the sub-regions of Melanesia, Micronesian, and Polynesia; • Strengthening capacity to implement Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA); • Coordination, implementation and update of Pacific’s Aid-for-Trade Strategy 2020- 2025 in each PACP country; including peer learning; implementation of Pacific Quality Infrastructure project and E-commerce; • Development and integration of a statistical monitoring framework for Regional Economic Integration (REI) specifically the creation of a Regional Trade Statistics Database (RTSD);
The envisaged work falls within the Key Result Area 2 (KRA2) of the SPIRIT Contribution Agreement on Strengthening capacity to implement the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The output of this consultancy work will prepare and provide inputs for the Regional Trade Statistics Database, also a Key Result Area of the SPIRIT project.
The importance of evidence-based policy analysis, formulation, implementation, and monitoring must be emphasized for effective trade and economic performance. To effect policy-based trade and economic policy management, policymakers need access to real-time cross-sectional and time series data and information on trade performance measures and indicators, amongst other things. This is where trade data is one such important ingredient to aid in not only trade and economic policy management but also the formulation and review of trade negotiation and implementation of trade agreements such as the interim Economic Partnership Agreement between Pacific African, Caribbean, and Pacific (PACP) states with the European Union.
It goes without saying that where such trade data are unavailable or patchy effective trade and economic policy planning, implementation, and monitoring of trade agreements is impaired and potentially lead to underachievement and waste of valuable opportunities and resources.
Foreign investors also use bilateral trade flow data to gauge trade and investment opportunities available in a given country. Thus, the absence or non-availability of trade data also deprives the countries concerned about investment and trade opportunities.
It is worth noting that out of the 16 selected PACP/OCO members, only Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Vanuatu are contracting parties to the Harmonized System (HS) Convention of the World Customs Organization (WCO), eleven countries apply the HS without being contracting parties. Two were not using the HS as at 1 October 2020. See Table 1.
The state of availability of trade data in the selected small Pacific ACP (PACP) states or members of the Oceania Customs Organization (OCO) is depicted in Table 1. Availability of data on trade (imports, exports, re-imports, and re-exports) for each PACP/OCO member is indicated for three recent editions of the Harmonized System (HS) of commodity classification that came into force in 2012, 2017, and 2022 (HS 2012, HS 2017 and HS 2022).
There are a number of reasons why trade data availability in the selected PACP/OCO members is problematic. One reason is the intermittent reporting and/or outright non-reporting of trade data. The other reason is the need for comparability of trade data spanning more than one HS edition. Both situations hinder the effective application of trade data for trade and economic policy management and investment decision-making. Also, different PACP/OCO members are at different stages of implementation of the latest HS editions as updates are introduced every 5 five years. On 26 August 2021, the annual meeting of the OCO Heads of Customs accepted the use of the Pacific Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System edition 2022 (PACHS 2022). PACHS 2022 is an adaptation of the WCO HS 2022 to reflect Pacific region’s trade interests, specifically, through identifying tariffs, imposing correct taxes and collection of international trade statistics. PACHS 2022 was reviewed by OCO members, technical agencies such as the Pacific Community (SPC), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD) and the World Health Organization. However, the state of implementation of PACHS 2022 and even an earlier PACHS 2017 is unclear in some PACP/OCO members. Lack of or delayed implementation of newer HS editions also affects the collection of trade data using the newer HS editions.
Table 1: State of trade data availability from Small Pacific Islands states reported by the World Trade Organization and World Bank as at 31 December 2022.
+: Acceptance (i.e., Contracting Party to the Harmonized System Convention).
x: Indicates application only.
I: Imports E: Exports R: Re – exports M: Re-imports
In respect of trade data availability, only Fiji maintains and reports a complete set of import and trade data in HS 2012 and HS 2017 to international trade data repositories maintained by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Bank. It’s also important to consider the situation that PACPS will adapt and use PACHS 2022 to collect international trade statistics etc. This was accepted by the OCO Head of Customs during the annual meeting in 2021.
Further, although a good number of the PACP/OCO members apply the HS (whether parties to the HS Convention or simply applying it), only a few report trade data to international trade data repositories. The few PACP/OCO members that report trade data do so intermittently – see the blank cells in Table 1. Only Fiji consistently publishes its trade data. Samoa and Kiribati have done better than the rest. The lack of continuous reporting of trade data is attributed to a number of well-known reasons, including a lack of technical capacity to format and compile trade data in a manner suitable for international reporting.
HS 2022 came into force on 01 January 2022. For countries that started implementing HS 2022 on 01 January 2022, trade data for the year 2022 should be available in HS 2022. However, even when a country has its 2022 trade data in HS 2022 as at 01 January 2023 or later, it would still face the problem of data comparability over longer periods of time where more than one HS edition is involved. For example, if trade and economic policy analysis required examining trade data over a ten-year period such as 2012-2022, policy makers will be faced with the challenge that they cannot readily make comparisons of trade data where commodity classification has changed over time with changes in the HS editions.
Furthermore, experience in the PACP/OCO members is that often the data collected from trade data providers need further examination and processing to identify and rectify inconsistencies in the application of a given HS edition. For example, trade data provided can be said to be in HS 2017, yet it contains some HS codes from older HS editions such as HS 2012, HS 2007, or earlier. Also, there are often cases where the reported codes for some commodities are not HS codes. These need to be corrected using professional knowledge of the HS and commodity classification.
The overall objective of the consultancy is to enhance trade and economic policymaking and implementation of trade agreements, including the interim Economic Partnership Agreement between Pacific African, Caribbean, and Pacific (PACP) states with the European Union, through collecting and formatting trade data to international data reporting standards.
The purpose of the short-term consultancy is:
- To rectify intermittently reported or outright non-reporting of trade data by collecting, formatting, and profiling trade data from PACP/OCO member countries.
- To resolve the challenge of incomparability of trade data due to the use of different HS editions by carrying out transposition of all the collected data (in HS 2012 and HS 2017) into one or two HS editions (e.g., HS 2022 and HS 2017) so policymakers and investors can use the trade data presented in whichever HS edition of choice to undertake the needed trade and economic analyses.
- Create and submit a database of transposed to HS 2022 and HS 2017, formatted and profiled trade data to international standard, for example, as reported by the WTO, at HS Section, HS Chapter (2-digit), HS Heading (4-digit) and HS Subheading (6-digit) levels for the selected PACP/OCO member countries.
- Conduct an assessment on the state of and any challenges with implementation of PACHS 2017 and PACHS 2022 in small PACP/OCO member countries. Recommend measures to be applied to remedy the implementation gaps.
This project assumes that the PACP states will recognise the benefits of the developments in their national trade statistics database and their Regional Trade Statistics Database managed by the PIFS to allow access to their national trade data for transposition across the three HS nomenclatures, where appropriate.
- Unavailability of suitable Consultant at the required time.
- Mobility issues and travel restrictions due to force majeure events.
- Scheduling challenges.
- Lack of data and information or need to be provided in a timely manner.
4.1.1 Description of the assignment
The Consultant will;
- Develop and submit a Work Plan delineating the Consultant’s activities.
- Consult extensively with all relevant stakeholders in 4.1.2.
- Collect quantitative and qualitative information/data on bilateral trade flows from the selected PACP/OCO member
- Transpose and present bilateral trade flows for each country to HS 2022 and HS 2017, ensuring no data loss or mismatch between the original data and transposed output
- Outline state of implementation and measures to address challenges associated with implementation of new PACHS editions in small PACP/OCO members.
- Submit a draft report of the consultations within 60 working days, including key finding
4.1.2. Stakeholder consultations
The stakeholders to be consulted include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Trade (or equivalent); National Statistics Offices (NSOs); Customs; Central Banks; PACER Plus Implementation Unit; and SPC Data Hub officials.
(i) Key Result Area 1 (KRA1): Engage in an inception meeting with the PIFS-SPIRIT Team Leader, SPIRIT Trade Advisers, SPIRIT Database Officer, NSO, Trade, and Customs representatives to discuss objectives, activities, expected outputs, timelines, and any issues related to the execution of the project that requires clarification.
(ii) Key Result Area 2 (KRA2): Prepare and submit an Inception Report based on the clarifications provided at the meeting, including a detailed Action Plan with specific timelines for completing the consultancy.
(iii) Key Result Area 3 (KRA3): Prepare questionnaires and other analytical tools for the desktop or literature review and national consultations with identified key stakeholders.
(iv) Key Result Area 4 (KRA4): Conduct virtual consultations and face-to-face consultative meetings with stakeholders per the agreed Action Plan.
(v) Key Result Area 5 (KRA5): Conduct and complete national assessments, review, and transposition work as prescribed in the Scope of Work under 4.1.1 and reaffirmed in the Inception Report in 4.2 (i).
(vi) Key Result Area 6 (KRA6): Assess the state of implementation of PACHS 2017 and PACHS 2022, challenges faced and measures to be taken to expedite implementation of new HS editions when they are introduced.
(vii) Key Result Area 7 (KRA7): Facilitate regional workshop to be conducted face-to-face in Nadi.
(viii) Key Result Area 8 (KRA8): Submit the first draft of Key Activity 5, and the draft Report for Key Activity 6 to PIFS for review and comments from internal stakeholders; and
(ix) Key Result Area 9 (KRA9): Submit a revised draft of Key Activity (7) to PIFS for endorsement as the final draft.
4.3.1. Responsible body
The PIFS SPIRIT Project Team Leader is the Project Manager and will be responsible for managing the project.
4.3.2 Management structure
The Director Programmes and Initiatives and the Programme Adviser Trade will have oversight responsibilities for the Project. As the Project Manager, and the Team Leader, SPIRIT will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Project.
The three Trade Advisers for Micronesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia, as well as the Database Officer, will support the Project Manager by providing guidance in reviewing outputs as may be necessary.
4.3.3 Facilities to be provided by the Contracting Authority and/or other parties
The Contracting Authority will provide access to relevant information it has at its disposal, which is required by this assignment.
The operational base for this consultancy is Suva, Fiji.
The intended start date is March 2023, and the contract’s implementation period will be 60 working days from the mutually agreed date.
|KRA #||Key Activities||No. of working days||Due Date|
|KRA1||Engage in an inception meeting with the PIFS-SPIRIT Team Leader, SPIRIT Trade Advisers, SPIRIT Database Officer, NSO, Trade, and Customs representatives to discuss objectives, activities, expected outputs, timelines, and any issues related to the execution of the project that requires clarification.
|1 day||6 March 2023|
|KRA2||Prepare and submit an Inception Report based on the clarifications provided at the meeting, inclusive of a detailed Action Plan with specific timelines for completing the consultancy.
|4 days||10 March 2023|
|KRA3||Prepare questionnaires and other analytical tools for the desktop or literature review and national consultations with identified key stakeholders.||3 days||17 March 2023|
|Conduct virtual consultations and face-to-face consultative meetings with stakeholders per the agreed Action Plan.||20 days||31 March 2023|
|KRA5||Conduct and complete national assessments, review, and transposition work as prescribed in the Scope of Work under 4.1.1 and reaffirmed in the Inception Report in 4.2 (i).||20 days||28 April 2023|
|KRA6||Assessment of the state of implementation of PACHS 2017 and PACHS 2022, challenges faced and measures to be taken to expedite implementation of new HS editions when they are introduced.||15 days||19 May 2023|
|KRA7||Facilitate regional workshop to be conducted face-to-face in Nadi.||5 days||26 May 2023|
|KRA8||Submit the first draft of Key Activity 5, and the draft Report for Key Activity 6 to PIFS for review and comments from internal stakeholders||5 days||2 June 2023|
|KRA9||Submit a revised draft of Key Activity (7) to PIFS for endorsement as the final draft.||2 days||6 June 2023|
This project will require the services of one (1) Consultant.
The Consultant provides expertise and experience in analysis, assessment, and HS transposition work for each PACP beneficiary. This includes a regional workshop for NSOs and other relevant government officials to build capacity with the policy aspects of trade and trade statistics analysis across the three HS nomenclatures. S/he will have a clear understanding of tariff policy and schedules, non-tariff barriers, exchange rate policy, the balance of payments projections and forecasting of principal sources of foreign exchange, and trade trends.
Knowledge of the World Trade Organization (WTO), World Customs Organisation (WCO), and Pacific intra-regional and international trade dynamics is essential.
The Consultant must submit his/her CV and a signed Statement of Exclusivity and Availability.
(a) Required Qualifications and skills
- A bachelor’s degree is required; a master’s degree is preferred.
- A minimum of 10 years relevant work experience is required; 15 years relevant work experience in HS transposition is preferred.
- Knowledge or experience working with ASYCUDA statistics.
- Strong communications, analytical, writing, and interpersonal skills; excellent report writing abilities required.
- Ability to work as a part of a team.
- Proficiency in Microsoft Office suite.
- b) Preferential requirements
In addition to the above, the following will be a distinct advantage.
- Previous experience in the country and regional area (Pacific region or any other Small Island Developing States).
- Knowledge of donor-funded trade and economic development programs and regional and sub-regional trade and economic integration initiatives in the Pacific region.
The costs for backstopping and support staff, as needed, are included in the contract price. Office accommodation for the Consultant and other experts working on the contract is to be provided by the Consultant. Facilities to be provided by the Consultant.
No equipment is to be purchased on behalf of the Contracting Authority/partner country as part of this service contract or transferred to the Contracting Authority/partner country at the end of this contract. Any equipment related to this contract to be acquired by the partner country must be purchased through a separate supply tender procedure.
PIFS Procurement Policy section 11 – Eligibility of Tenders:
Only bidders who meet the following criteria are eligible to take part in tenders issued by the Secretariat:
- are financially solvent and able to conduct business operations in a professional and successful manner;
- are not involved in any court proceedings which may affect their ability to conduct business or deliver the goods or services tendered;
- do not appear on the World Bank’s list of ‘Listing of ineligible firms’ or ‘Listing of firm’s letters of reprimand’ posted at worldbank.org; and
- are not involved with any of the following:
- grave professional misconduct, including misrepresentation
- conduct related to a criminal organisation
- money laundering or terrorist financing
- terrorist offences or offences linked to terrorist activities
- child labour and other trafficking in human beings
- creating a shell company
- being a shell company
There are no derogations to the above criteria for evaluating tenders.
The eligibility criteria may include legal and administrative status, specific membership in an association or group, or a specific qualification.
Former staff of the Secretariat may be considered for consultancy services provided one year has elapsed since the expiration/conclusion of their engagement with the Secretariat, except when it is clearly in the Secretariat’s interest to retain a particular individual.
The Consultant shall submit the following reports in English:
- Inception Report of a maximum of 12 pages to be produced after four (4) working days from the start of implementation. In the report, the Consultant shall describe, inter alia, initial findings, progress in collecting data or identifying relevant data sources, difficulties encountered or expected in discharging the consultancy, and a post-inception Action
- Fortnightly implementation reports of a maximum of 5 pages on the progress in executing the activities referred to in paragraph 4.2, difficulties encountered or expected in discharging the consultancy. Implementation Reports shall be submitted every second week after the start of implementation.
- Final report as per Action Plan. The Final Report shall contain a sufficiently detailed description of the activities undertaken under the consultancy to be provided to the PIFS Senior Management Team and completed trade data transposition for each PACP party and observer state.
The reports, briefs, and technical documents referred to above must be submitted to the Project Manager identified in the contract. The Project Manager is responsible for approving the reports. The Project Manager will provide comments to the Consultant within seven (7) days of receiving reports, briefs, and technical documents.
At the contract level, of which the TOR forms an integral part, the briefings and reports shall be the basis on which the performance is monitored and evaluated. Their timely delivery and quality will be monitored closely by the PIFS.
The following criteria shall be used to assess the performance of the Consultant:
- Quality of output documents: The quality of output documents shall be judged by their clarity and the depth to which they comprehensively cover the subject.
- Format: These reports shall be completed in the standard formats used by the EU.
- Meeting deadlines for outputs.
8.1.1 Special requirements
Interested individuals are encouraged to provide written submissions, including a copy of your curriculum vitae and a financial proposal in US Dollars (USD). All pricing should be VAT inclusive (VIP) for local bidders and VAT exclusive (VEP) for foreign bidders. All relevant taxes payable in Fiji should be included in the financial offer.
By submitting a response to this “Request for Tender” (RFT), the bidder warrants that the bidder has the necessary skill, knowledge, experience, and resources to comply with this RFT and is capable of completing the project.
In addition, the bidder warrants that the bidder is not subject to any legal process that may result in the winding up or deregistration of the bidder and that the bidder does not appear on the World Bank’s listing of ineligible firms.
The bidder’s response must be in English.
Should the bidder become aware of any discrepancy, error, or omission in the document submitted, and the bidder wishes to lodge a correction or provide additional information, that material must be in writing and lodged before evaluating the RFT responses.
The following criteria will be used to evaluate the tender:
|Relevant work experience and proven track record in Trade Policy Analysis and Formulation,||30
|Relevant experience in HS transposition of trade data from customs in small island states||30|
|Academic Qualifications in Economics, International Trade, Law, Development Studies, and/or International Relations||25|
|Relevant experience working with national, regional, or international organisations on similar assignments||15
|Total Technical Evaluation||100%|
Please provide details of current work commitments; and
Provide referee contacts of previous work relevant to this consultancy.
The final selection of the preferred service provider will be established by weighing technical quality against the price on an 80/20 basis.
 “List of Contracting Parties to the HS Convention and countries using the HS as at 1 October 2020”. https://www.wcoomd.org/-/media/wco/public/global/pdf/topics/nomenclature/overview/hs-contracting-parties/list-of-countries/countries_applying_hs.pdf?db=web