Study on the Protection of Domestic Industries Within the Arab Customs Union (Study 6)


Location : Home Based
Application Deadline :28-Feb-19 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
English  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
15-Mar-2019
Duration of Initial Contract :120 working days over a period of 6 months

Background

The project of Strengthening Arab Economic Integration for Sustainable Development (AEISD), by UNDP, sets, as objective, provision of technical assistance to the League of Arab States (LAS), specifically Economic Sector and relevant organs, and member states of Pan Arab Free Trade Agreement (PAFTA) in working towards a deepened integration, including preparations for the Arab Customs Union through gradual upgrading of performance of PAFTA.

Naturally, upgrading current preferential trade arrangements will contribute to the realization of strategic visions of Arab Common Market. Built upon the initial progress of the Executive Program of development of the Arab Customs Union (ACU), the project activities aim at strengthening the capacity and capability of Arab policy makers and enable more policy dialogues at the regional level through specific interventions to support target countries.

The second project component relates to strengthen the Arab connectivity among economies in the region with the expectation, these efforts would be translated into more contribution of economic integration for better livelihood of people, more employment opportunity and participation by the private sector.

The third component of the project focuses on the promotion of inclusiveness and transparency as part of the development agenda, particularly on the economic empowerment of women, for regional economic integration. It focuses on empowerment of women and promotion of good governance – the two key factors for collective prosperity in the Arab region. Deepening regional economic linkages would requires a new model of governance, which should serve to make trade an effective tool to fight poverty, generate decent jobs and business opportunities to everyone.

Capitalizing on the progress achieved in the previous program of support to implementation of PAFTA (Executive Program of PAFTA), the current project also focuses on specific aspects of making trade an engine of inclusive and sustainable growth guided by the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.  Along this line, the Project will further, focus on helping countries and the main sub-regional and regional integration entities to accelerate the pace of trade reforms and regional economic integration, to strengthen the employment effects of those reforms, with a particular focus on women and youth, and to mobilize additional resources for this purpose.

The project also aims to address specific challenges and complexities that PAFTA Arab countries (and League of Arab States) face to enhance regional economic integration, more specifically in the transition from an FTA- based framework towards making the customs union a reality. The following presents major areas of focus:

  1. Provide a structured and targeted technical support to LAS Secretariat and Arab negotiators on trade policy formulation and reform under PAFTA;
  2. Provide assistance to the LAS Secretariat with a view of strengthening its organizational capacity in the pursuit of further facilitation of the regional economic integration agenda as well as promotion of trade liberalization;
  3. Assist target Arab countries with collaboration with national policy makers in trade and economic fields in efforts of modernization and reform of trade policy in taking into consideration new developments;
  4. Facilitation of transport and trade activities constitutes one of key areas to support national programs of enhancement of national competitiveness and better market access and more integration of the value chain;
  5. Promotion of gender equality and women empowerment as well as generation of business and job opportunity for youth is also a key target of project activities. Moreover, good governance constitutes a pre-requisite in deepening Arab economic integration to a higher level of commitment with inclusiveness and sustainability;
  6. Promotion of the contribution of trade, as one of pillars, to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals at national and regional level;

These priority dimensions form the basis of the work program of the project, which is developed on the basis of the requests by the countries in response to their policy strategies. Specifically, the project targets the following result-oriented activities:

  1. Development of the technical framework and required instruments for the PAFTA Upgrading - a upgrade from the existing PAFTA, and for the Arab Customs Union (ACU) preparations, to deepen Arab economic integration.
  2. Reinforcement of mechanisms of policy design, measures of implementation and of systems of documenting the progress of implementation to secure smooth acceleration of realization of regional commitments.
  3. Building the technical capability and capacity of policy makers of Arab countries to support accelerated implementation of the PAFTA Upgrading and preparations for the ACU.
  4. Introduction of institutional arrangements that are necessary for the LAS to respond to the requirements of implementation of the PAFTA Upgrading, and consequently of designing and establishing the ACU.
  5. Delivery of awareness raising activities and provision of technical guidance on good governance and integrity approaches.
  6. Promotion   of   regulatory   transparency, open   dialogues   and   consultations   with   related stakeholders, targeting all social groups but particularly women, for more active participation to cross border operations and related economic activities, among others.

The objective of the Study is to assist Member States in their ACU on-going negotiation process, and to provide an evaluation and analysis of modalities and/or arrangements of the accession to the ACU taking into account that a number of PAFTA Members are LDCs. Furthermore, a number of PAFTA member states are not Members of the WTO while some are still negotiating its membership.

Findings of the study help negotiations by Members with clear options for specific policy decisions as it is concerned with policies and measures of the negotiations of the ACU arrangements, included proposal of policies on the accession to the ACU and any flexibility. The study takes as the basis, WTO practices and rules in order to secure the eventual alignment of any arrangement to international standards and practices. Indeed, the study will look to the WTO rules regarding the Special and Differential Treatment that is granted in order promote participation of developing countries and LDCs. Customization of such approach may be considered within the ACU framework while taking into consideration level of development and readiness to embark into major reforms.

Outputs of the study will be used as a basis for the negotiation and agreement on flexibilities that could be granted during the accession into the ACU to a Member States. Furthermore, it is important to identify fundamental criteria for the classification of types of flexibility in the ACU membership that may comprise criteria of fiscal or economic or trade dimension. Sustainable and inclusive development should be part of these criteria while taking into account the intrinsic relationship among PAFTA economies.

The key areas to be covered by the study include among others:

  • Analysis of the flexibility as part of criteria for ACU Membership accession taking into account international best practices;
  • Special and Differential Treatment as the basis of the flexibility to be applied in the accession while taking account of operational conditions of Arab economies.
  • Review of modalities to enact this flexibility as part of the country’s roadmap to become a member of the ACU.
  • Formulation of policy recommendations on the operational mechanisms to realize this flexibility in function of the ACU.

During the implementation, the project team also cooperates with several national authorities and regional organizations in the implementation of defined activities in taking into account requirements and priorities of national socio- economic development plans and strategies of Arab economic integration. The execution is carried out under rules and regulations by the UN applicable for Delegated Direct Implementation and fully aligned to UNDP Programme and Operations Policies and Procedures (POPP).

In effect, based on the project document and the agreed programme of support by UNDP to Arab countries, the project coordinates with the League of Arab States to provide technical assistance programs to PAFTA members, especially the least developed members on different trade topics that supports the deepening of Arab economic integration process. 


Duties and Responsibilities

The deliverables and outcomes of the study would consist of key findings from practical experiences and research resulting from a detailed and comprehensive analysis of modalities of application of the principle of Flexibility as part of the ACU membership accession package. Practical experiences of regional groupings or Customs unions in the world would be looked into with a view to identify concrete procedures and protocols.

Particular focus would be on the definition of the flexibility as a concept and a part of the membership accession and operational modalities within the customs union framework (specifically the ACU), for preparation of strategic guidance for negotiations. That will also include main features, characteristics of these protocols or modalities to secure smooth implementation in an effective manner. In achieving the objectives of the study, the expert/firm will establish clear work methodologies that enable a fact-based analysis and evidence-supported assessment in close consultation with the Chief Technical Advisor.

The expert/firm will meet and consult with relevant officials and stakeholders in Member States and the LAS Secretariat to discuss issues identified in the Terms of Reference and to gather data and more policies information in function of requirements for the study.  The expert/firm will review pertinent experiences of how to deal with special and differential treatment, and/or how to design the flexibility modalities or mechanisms by other Customs unions in several trade groupings such as GCC, of EU, ECA, COMESA for its corresponding adaptation into the ACU. Specifically, the expert/firm will coordinate with LAS Technical Secretariat who will liaise with Member States and facilitate visits, and provide statistical information and data, required by the expert/firm relating to the study.

The study should address the following technical issues:

  • Review of the general framework of the Special and Differential Treatment and flexibility in negotiations of CU membership; review of the application of this principle by various regional economic groupings.
  • Presentation of WTO rules on special and differential treatment concept and how WTO enforces this policy to encourage the participation of the developing world;
  • Identification of technical criteria or guidelines for application of Special and Differential Treatment and flexibility in negotiations of CU membership, and or similar arrangements;
  • Determination of the length of the transitional period and its individual stages and possible impacts and challenges in line with criteria of flexibility and/or application of Special and Differential Treatment; and
  • Identify the appropriate negotiation approach to negotiate the institutional arrangements to direct and manage the negotiations accession.


Competencies

Corporate

  • Demonstrates integrity and fairness, by modeling the UN/UNDP’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission and strategic goals of UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.

Functional

  • Time management and organizational skills, with the ability to undertake multiple tasks and deliver under pressure;
  • Strong analytical and synthesis skills;
  • Ability to work independently and achieve quality results with limited supervision and within tight schedules;
  • Strong quantitative and qualitative research skills;
  • Strong experience in presentation and communications skills particularly in the preparation of the technical report for various audiences;
  • Experience in reports production;
  • Ability to write in a clear and concise manner;
  • Good teamwork and interpersonal skills;
  • Flexibility and ability to handle multiple tasks and work under pressure;
  • Excellent computer skills especially Word, Excel and Power Point.

Knowledge Management and Learning

  • Ability to strongly promote and build knowledge products;
  • Promotes knowledge management in UNDP and a learning environment in the office through leadership and personal example;
  • Seeks and applies knowledge, information and best practices from within and outside of UNDP;
  • Demonstrates a strong capacity for innovation and creativity in providing strategic policy advice and direction.

Leadership

  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and to provide credible leadership;
  • Demonstrated flexibility in leadership by performing and/or overseeing the analysis/resolution of complex issues;


Required Skills and Experience

Academic qualification

  • Master's degree in business administration, economics, international trade, trade and development, or related fields.

Work Experience

  • At least 15 years of experience in the conduct of economic studies, research in international trade, operations and industrial policies within the customs unions, customs operations, revenue management and taxation.
  • Experience in the design, establishment of trade policies in the promotion of infant, emerging industries/sectors at either national or regional level is an asset.
  • Experience in compilation and dissemination of balance of payments and investment schemes statistics, conducting surveys, trade, industrial and fiscal data collection, and compilation of foreign direct investment statistics in function of the requirements of this study.
  • Proven experience in conducting policy analysis in matters related to economics, trade policy and industrial and trade data analysis.
  • Extensive experience in the industrial policy analysis and formulation preferably in Arab region. In addition, exposure to the customs procedures and tax systems at international level and to the regional integration strategies, policy issues, current regional integration dynamics in the Arab region including PAFTA is an asset.
  • Extensive knowledge of best international/regional practices in industrial policy formulation within customs unions or similar set ups, and being able to provide guidance on the legislative aspects of industry structure, as well as on strategic planning and organizational and trade-related issues.
  • In depth-understanding of the WTO Agreements and rules, and PAFTA.
  • Expertise in quantitative and qualitative data collection, analysis and statistical methodologies, the governmental statistics, as well as the compilation and dissemination of fiscal, industrial and trade data of one or more countries supported by experience in the areas of industrial policy and trade policy analysis. 
  • Expertise in the quantitative analysis of issues of management of a customs union, and/or similar set up which requires a detailed knowledge of the national fiscal framework ((i.e… customs revenues collection, revenues sharing and payment policies, design of support programmes within national economic plans, and compliance with international rules and enforcement).
  • Ability to perform economic researches and summarize findings in a concise and professional format.
  • Excellent presentation and communication skills, particularly in the preparation of the technical report for various audiences (i.e. national policy makers, businesses and industries)
  • Proven experience working within the Arab region.
  • Previous experience working for the UN is a plus.

Language Requirements

  • proficiency in both written and oral English is required. Knowledge of Arabic is a plus.

INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENT

  • The individual is required to exhibit his or her full-time commitment with UNDP-RBAS;
  • S/He shall perform tasks under the general guidance of the Regional Programme Coordinator and the direct supervision of the Chief Technical Advisor (CTA) of the Strengthening Arab Economic Integration for Sustainable Development (AEISD) regional project. The supervision will include approvals/acceptance of the outputs as identified in the previous section;
  • S/he shall demonstrate the financial capability to conduct the study through presentation of records of financial statements of the last three years from the date of the submission of the bidding proposal.
  • The individual is expected to liaise and collaborate in the course of performing the work with other consultants, suppliers and UN colleagues, as required;
  • The individual is required to provide periodical progress reports on regular and needed basis throughout the assignment in order to monitor progress;
  • The individual is required to maintain close communication with UNDP-RBAS on regular and needed basis at any period throughout the assignment in order to monitor progress. In the event of any delay, S/he will inform UNDP promptly so that decisions and remedial action may be taken accordingly;
  • Should UNDP deem it necessary, it reserves the right to commission additional inputs, reviews or revisions, as needed to ensure the quality and relevance of the work.

INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENT

  • The individual is required to exhibit his or her full-time commitment with UNDP-RBAS;
  • S/He shall perform tasks under the general guidance of the Regional Programme Coordinator and the direct supervision of the Chief Technical Advisor (CTA) of the Strengthening Arab Economic Integration for Sustainable Development (AEISD) regional project. The supervision will include approvals/acceptance of the outputs as identified in the previous section;
  • S/he shall demonstrate the financial capability to conduct the study through presentation of records of financial statements of the last three years from the date of the submission of the bidding proposal.
  • The individual is expected to liaise and collaborate in the course of performing the work with other consultants, suppliers and UN colleagues, as required;
  • The individual is required to provide periodical progress reports on regular and needed basis throughout the assignment in order to monitor progress;
  • The individual is required to maintain close communication with UNDP-RBAS on regular and needed basis at any period throughout the assignment in order to monitor progress. In the event of any delay, S/he will inform UNDP promptly so that decisions and remedial action may be taken accordingly;
  • Should UNDP deem it necessary, it reserves the right to commission additional inputs, reviews or revisions, as needed to ensure the quality and relevance of the work.

DURATION OF THE WORK

The duration of the assignment is expected to be 120 working days over a period of 6 months from contract signature date.

DUTY STATION AND TRAVEL PLAN

This is a home-based assignment. Part of this assignment may require the individual to travel to Arab and non-Arab countries. In such cases, unforeseen travel will be arranged and covered in accordance with corporate regulations and rules.

SCOPE OF PRICE PROPOSAL AND SCHEDULE OF PAYMENTS

All proposals must be expressed in a lump sum amount. This amount must be “all-inclusive”. Please note that the terms “all-inclusive” implies that all costs (professional fees, communications, consumables, etc.) that could possibly be incurred are already factored into the final amounts submitted in the proposal. Also, please note that the contract price will be Deliverables/Outputs based - not fixed - subject to change in the cost components.

The contractor will be paid an all-inclusive Deliverables/Outputs based lump sum amounts over the assignment period, subject to the submission of Certification of Payment (CoP) duly certified and confirmation of satisfactory performance of achieved work (deliverables/outputs) in line with the schedule of payments within the Procurement Notice. 

DOCUMENTS TO BE INCLUDED WHEN SUBMITTING THE PROPOSALS

Interested individual consultants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications. Candidates that fail to submit the required information will not be considered.

  1. Duly accomplished Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability using the template provided by UNDP;
  2. Personal CV or P11, indicating all past experience from similar projects, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate and at least three (3) professional references;
  3. Brief Description of why the individual considers him/herself as the most suitable for the assignment, including references to how she/he will approach and complete the assignment.
  4. Technical Proposal A half page technical proposal detailing how they will approach the assignment, prioritizing activities to meet the deliverables as set above in the most efficient and effective manner;
  5. One previous sample of similar work: to demonstrate the individual’s competencies to undertake this assignment;
  6. Financial Proposal that indicates the all-inclusive Deliverables/Outputs based total contract price, supported by a breakdown of costs, as per template provided.  The terms “all-inclusive” implies that all costs (professional fees, travel costs, living allowances, communications, consumables, etc.) that could possibly be incurred are already factored into the final amounts submitted in the proposal. If an Offeror is employed by an organization/company/institution, and he/she expects his/her employer to charge a management fee in the process of releasing him/her to UNDP under Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA), the Offeror must indicate at this point, and ensure that all such costs are duly incorporated in the financial proposal submitted to UNDP. 

All necessary information including: Complete Procurement Notice, The Selection Criteria, and Annexes are found on the following link under Procurement http://procurement-notices.undp.org/

Interested candidate shall apply the CV/P11 to Job advertisement website, hence consultant should submit to website:  Proc.contract.rscjo@undp.org : not later than 20 February, 2019 the following documents:

  • CV/P11
  • Confirm availability and financial proposal
  • Brief description of why you consider yourself as the most suitable for the assignment
  • Technical Proposal
  • One previous sample of similar work

EVALUATION

Individual consultants will be evaluated based on the following methodologies:

Step I: Screening and desk review:

Applications will be first screened and only candidates meeting the following minimum criteria will progress to the pool for shortlisting:

  • Master's degree in business administration, economics, international trade, trade and development, or related fields.
  • At least 15 years of experience in the conduct of economic studies, research in international trade, operations and industrial policies within the customs unions, customs operations, revenue management and taxation.
  • Language proficiency in both written and oral English is required.

Shortlisted Candidates will be then assessed and scored against the following evaluation criteria:

Technical evaluation Criteria max 100 points (Weighted 70):

  • Experience in the design, establishment of trade policies in the promotion of infant, emerging industries/sectors at either national or regional level (10 points);
  • Experience in compilation and dissemination of balance of payments and investment schemes statistics, conducting surveys, trade, industrial and fiscal data collection, and compilation of foreign direct investment statistics in function of the requirements of this study (10 points);
  • Proven experience in conducting policy analysis in matters related to economics, trade policy and industrial and trade data analysis. (10 points);
  • Extensive experience in the industrial policy analysis and formulation preferably in Arab region. In addition, exposure to the customs procedures and tax systems at international level and to the regional integration strategies, policy issues, current regional integration dynamics in the Arab region including PAFTA (10 points);
  • Extensive knowledge of best international/regional practices in industrial policy formulation within customs unions or similar set ups, and being able to provide guidance on the legislative aspects of industry structure, as well as on strategic planning and organizational and trade-related issues (10 points);
  • In depth-understanding of the WTO Agreements and rules, and PAFTA (10 points);
  • Expertise in quantitative and qualitative data collection, analysis and statistical methodologies, the governmental statistics, as well as the compilation and dissemination of fiscal, industrial and trade data of one or more countries supported by experience in the areas of industrial policy and trade policy analysis (10 points);
  • Expertise in the quantitative analysis of issues of management of a customs union, and/or similar set up which requires a detailed knowledge of the national fiscal framework ((i.e… customs revenues collection, revenues sharing and payment policies, design of support programmes within national economic plans, and compliance with international rules and enforcement) (10 points);
  • Technical Proposal A half page technical proposal detailing how they will approach the assignment, prioritizing activities to meet the deliverables as set above in the most efficient and effective manner (10 points);
  • One previous sample of similar work: to demonstrate the individual’s competencies to undertake this assignment (10 points)

Financial Criteria - 30% of total evaluation

For those offers considered in the financial evaluation, the lowest price offer will receive 30 points. The other offers will receive points in relation to the lowest offer, based on the following formula: (PI / Pn)* 30 where Pn is the financial offer being evaluated and Pl is the lowest financial offer received.

Step II: Final evaluation

The final evaluation will combine the scores of desk review and financial proposal with the following weights assigned to each:

Individual consultants will be evaluated based on the cumulative analysis methodology (weighted scoring method), where the award of the contract will be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as:

  • Responsive/compliant/acceptable; and
  • Having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of technical and financial criteria specific to the solicitation.

Technical Criteria weight: [70%]
Financial Criteria weight: [30%]

Only Individual Consultants obtaining a minimum of 49 points (70%) on the Technical evaluation would be considered for the Financial Evaluation.


UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


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