February 17, 2011—USAID formally launched Facilitando Comercio, a $17 million three-year project managed by Nathan Associates, at a press conference and reception attended by U.S. Ambassador to Peru Rose Likins, Peru’s Minister of Foreign Trade Eduardo Ferreyros, USAID Mission Director Richard Goughner, the project’s Chief of Party Elena Conterno, as well as project stakeholders, consultants, and members of the business community.
The purpose of Facilitando Comercio is to strengthen the ability of national and local government to fulfill the objectives of the US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement and improve the climate for business. The project will provide training and assistance in trade facilitation, intellectual property, business registration, and labor primarily in Peru, but also to a certain degree in Colombia, Ecuador, and soon, Bolivia.
During the press conference, COP Conterno said Facilitando Comercio will promote the use of standards and processes that improve public administration, business formalization, trade expansion, and private sector access to markets.
"We have clear, measurable goals," explained Richard Goughnour of USAID, citing an activity for improving labor dispute settlement. Facilitando Comercio will be training 100 public defenders and 620 judges—120 of them already specialized in labor matters—in Peru’s new Labor Procedure Act.
The project will also be training 500 people in 10 regions under the Single Window for Foreign Trade Initiative (VUCE), which was officially launched the same evening by Minister Ferreyros. The goal of VUCE is to simplify 48 trade procedures and cut import/export times from six to three days. During the opening ceremony several groups, including Nathan Associates, were recognized for their contributions to VUCE’s concept and design. Senior Vice President Jim Wallar accepted the award on behalf of Nathan Associates and Facilitando Comercio.