Technical Assistance II
Yuliawati Cahyaningrum is paving the way for her career path at the Directorate of World Trade Organisation (WTO) Negotiation. And her recent participation in the capacity-building workshop on Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) facilitated by ARISE+ Indonesia may benefit her career goal.
The Junior Trade Cooperation Analyst joined the Ministry of Trade four years ago. Yulia is now a part of the Transparency and Conformity team with the main responsibilities to maintain Indonesia's trade policies in accordance with WTO provisions or Indonesia's commitments at WTO, review the trade-related policies of other WTO members to ensure Indonesia's smooth market access to partner countries, and ensure transparency which is also an obligation of all WTO members to be easily accessible for stakeholders, especially business actors. She realises that with her responsibility, she needs to keep upgrading her capacity. Thus, she was excited when she was offered to take part in the workshop.
Yulia said that the workshop series was very important because the use of NTMs across the globe is increasing, potentially acting as barriers to trade, even though the primary objective may have been to ensure quality, health and customer safety or protect the environment.
According to World Bank data, among Indonesia's top import partners, the European Union records the highest use of NTMs. More than 90 per cent of all imports into the European Union, both in terms of product lines and trade value, are subject to at least one NTM. On average, NTMs, as an ad-valorem equivalent (AVE), are three times more burdensome than ordinary customs tariffs, especially for Developing Countries' small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The Ministry of Trade, with support from ARISE+ Indonesia, organised a series of training to strengthen the analytical capacity of government officials to evaluate the impact of policy changes in NTMs. ARISE+ Indonesia also provided technical advice to develop an institutional framework for reporting on NTMs.
"The crucial issues are how to take advantage of NTM in our beneficial interest and not as an impediment against our trade interests. Thus, it is necessary to understand the prevalence and impact of NTMs on international trade through NTMs data, as well as the best practices for reporting and addressing NTMs at bilateral, regional and/or multilateral levels," Yulia said.
ARISE+ Indonesia Trade and Investment Senior Expert Widdi Mugijayani coordinated the activities with the delivery supported by the International Economics Consulting (IEC) led by Paul Baker.
The first training series on 4-8 July 2022 focused on enhancing the officials' technical understanding of the current legal frameworks regulating NTMs at the multilateral and bilateral levels. The second training series on 25-28 July 2022 focused on the economic impact analysis of NTMs. The first and second workshops were participated by government officials from Bappenas, the Ministry of Finance, the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, the National Standardization Agency (BSN), the Indonesia Agricultural Quarantine Agency (Barantan) of the Ministry of Agriculture, and Fish Quarantine and Inspection Agency of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries.
The third training session was conducted on 22-25 November 2022, delving deeper into the models employed for quantifying the Ad Valorem Equivalents (AVEs) of NTMs, and introducing the participants to a trade model for simulation purposes. The course was based on R, an open-source statistical computing and graphics software. This time, only the trade and policy analysts from the Ministry of Trade and Bappenas took part in the workshop.
Yulia complimented the workshop delivery, which used the hybrid approach, with the lead speakers in the room and a series of keynote guest speakers joining remotely. She said, "The combination of international and local experts has made the workshop material comprehensive with technical knowledge, yet enriched with Indonesian context. So, it's applicable."
According to Yulia, the facilitator's presence in the same room with participants was also effective and practical in helping the participants to comprehend the difficult lessons, especially during statistics and software lessons in the third workshop. She also praised the communication skills of trainers who can deliver complex subjects in a way that is easy to understand.
The trainer team from IEC facilitated the three sets of workshops, including Pablo Quilles, Paul Baker, Alexey Kravchenko, Christina Ruth Elisabeth, M. Dian Revindo, Ferdi Ferdian, Loan Le David Vanzetti, and Ria Roy. The workshops also featured several guest speakers, including Yann Duval (Chief of the Trade Facilitation Unit, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) and Ralf Peters (Chief of UNCTAD's Trade Information Section of the Trade Analysis Branch).
According to Yulia, the training subjects were very beneficial and insightful. Topics from the first workshop gave her a new perspective and strengthened her fundamental knowledge of NTMs. The second workshop provided her with analytical capacity, and the third workshop excelled her skills in statistics and computing software to quantify NTMs.
"It was a very eye-opening experience. We now have a better and deeper understanding of NTMs," Yulia said enthusiastically.
The training also equipped Yulia with analytical and logical thinking, which benefited an analyst like her. Analytical and logical thinking was not only Yulia's improved capacity but her communication and presentation skills were also improved. And it is helpful since she now has to share and transfer her lesson learned and knowledge from the workshops to her colleagues.
Yulia felt grateful that the improved knowledge gained from the training would support her in undertaking the task entrusted to her to lead a septennial review of Indonesia's trade policy to maintain its accordance with WTO provisions.
"Thank you, ARISE+ Indonesia. I feel confident that my improved work will contribute to supporting our trade and competitiveness," Yulia concluded.