The EU – Bhutan Trade Support Project (EUR 4 million) is fully funded by the European Union (EU). It is part of the EU Regional Multiannual Indicative Programme for Asia 2014-2020. In South and North-East Asia, this programme aims to support regional integration in the context of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) process, as well as market access in the framework of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP). The Project is complementary to the Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) 2014-2020 of the EU for Bhutan, which focuses on rural development, climate change and governance.
The Project is a project with the Royal Government of Bhutan in the lead. It was designed and is implemented jointly with the Royal Government of Bhutan, through the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC). Project partners include the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA), the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF), and the Agency for Promotion of Indigenous Crafts (APIC). A Project Steering Committee provides overall project oversight and direction. Competent national level agencies and apex business entities support work-planning and activity implementation.
The project ensures the involvement of a wide range of partners from the civil society as well as public and private sector organizations such as: the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), the Bhutan Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAOWE), the Handicraft Association of Bhutan (HAB), Tarayana Foundation, the Royal University of Bhutan, the National Statistical Bureau (NSB), the Royal Textile Academy, the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCN), the Bhutan Standards Bureau (BSB).
Direct beneficiaries of the project are Bhutanese producers, small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and exporters in the horticulture and handicraft textile sectors.
Final beneficiaries are stakeholders along sector value chains, including women and youth.
The International Trade Centre (ITC) is the only United Nations development agency fully dedicated to supporting the internationalization of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs). ITC enables SMEs in developing and transition economies to become more competitive and connect to international markets, thus raising incomes and creating job opportunities, especially for women, youth and poor communities. ITC is the joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. ITC has a long-lasting cooperation with Bhutan, providing technical assistance in key areas for trade-related assistance and development such as institutional strengthening, exporter competitiveness and trade facilitation. ITC is the implementing agency of the EU – Bhutan Trade Support Project.