On February 25, 2008, the ASEAN Development Vision to Advance National Cooperation and Economic Integration program was officially launched by Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Scot Marciel, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, and Olivier Carduner, USAID’s Regional Mission Director.
The indefinite quantity contract for ADVANCE was awarded to the Nathan-led consortium in September 2007 and the first project—the ASEAN-US Technical Assistance and Training Facility Phase II—has already begun work in a number of its 15 activity “streams.” Nathan Associates is now leading three more task orders:
Under the $8 million ASEAN Single Window project, the Nathan consortium is supporting development of national systems and a regional system to reduce customs clearance times and make cross-border transactions transparent in ASEAN member states. The national systems will consolidate and coordinate processing of import/export documents and the regional system will coordinate data from the national systems.
The $8 million ASEAN Value Chains project, based in Bangkok, will promote the competitiveness of “priority” sectors by helping member states discover and pursue their comparative advantages, leading to greater economic specialization in less-developed states and to better integration of all states into dynamic value chains.
Through the Lao Bilateral Trade Agreement/World Trade Organization (BTA/WTO) Accession Program ($375K), the Nathan consortium will provide line ministries and the National Assembly in Laos with technical assistance and training to help them understand and support the central government’s efforts to make the country’s trade and investment regime consistent with commitments under the U.S.-Lao BTA, WTO accession requirements, and the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint.
ADVANCE is intended to cover the wide range of issues affecting plans for a unified ASEAN Community by 2015 and the new task orders reflect the nature of this ambitious program.