Expert in the Administration of Rules of Origin

Date of Publication: 
27 February 2020
Application Deadline: 
9 March 2020
Cowater International
Brief Description: 
Immediate Opening
Consultants, Short-Term

Technical Expert - Terms of Reference

Project Name: Moving to self-certification of origin

Post Title:  Expert in the Administration of Rules of Origin

Deadline to Apply: March 9, 2020


Funded by the Government of Canada and implemented on behalf of Global Affairs Canada by Cowater International and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC), the Expert Deployment Mechanism for Trade and Development (EDM) provides trade technical assistance to Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligible countries to maximize the development impact of their trade and investment agreements with Canada.  Over seven years (2018-2025), EDM will invest CAD $16.5 million to support Canada’s developing country trading partners to negotiate, implement, adapt to and benefit from trade and investment agreements with Canada.

EDM is a demand-driven project that will benefit potential partners – including governments, local private sector groups and civil society organizations – through capacity building and technical advisory support on policy reform issues that have a high potential to reduce poverty and gender inequalities, and support progress in trade and investment agreement negotiations.

Paraguay has been identified by Global Affairs Canada as a priority country for trade technical assistance under the EDM, in the context of the ongoing Canada-MERCOSUR FTA negotiations.  Assistance provided under the EDM is expected to strengthen Paraguay’s capacity to participate in the negotiations, to implement the resulting agreement and to benefit from the opportunities created.

Paraguay has achieved impressive economic growth in recent years, expanding at an average rate of around 5% of GDP per year and graduating to upper-middle income country status in 2015 (UN classification system) with a per capita income of $12,800 US in 2017.  This growth has also been reasonably widely shared, with a reduction in poverty of 49% - and a reduction of extreme poverty of 65% - over the past decade. 

Despite these achievements, 22.2% of the population remained below the poverty line in 2015, poverty reduction has slowed, much of the economy remains informal, and the regulatory environment is uncertain (principally gaps in the regulatory regime), which negatively affects the investment climate (World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking of 113), as does corruption (Transparency International ranking of 132).  

Paraguay is also highly vulnerable to global economic shocks.  Exports are comprised of a narrow range of products, classified in only 7 of the 99 chapters of the World Custom Organization’s Harmonized System.  Of these products, 63% are agricultural – mostly soy and beef – making export performance highly dependent on weather events and fluctuations in global commodity prices.  Paraguay’s central trade challenge is to diversify its production, by strengthening both the manufacturing and services sectors.  At the same time, efforts are needed to move agricultural production higher up the value chain.  Infrastructure for trade needs to be improved, including to strengthen border controls to increase tariff revenue and reduce re-exports.

EDM is funded under the development mandate of Global Affairs Canada and, in additional to meeting the legal requirements of the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act, must strive to achieve the objectives of the Feminist International Assistance Policy in all of it activities.  Much has been done to establish the legal and institutional basis to advance equality in Paraguayan society, but women remain underrepresented in the senior ranks of government and business and face all the classic barriers to participation in the economy.  Experts engaged to deliver trade technical assistance to Paraguay will work with the EDM expert on Gender Equity and Social Inclusion and the recipient organizations in Paraguay to develop concrete measures to ensure that underrepresented and disadvantaged groups both participate in and benefit from all projects.

An EDM mission to Paraguay, conducted in October 2019, identified technical assistance needs in trade policy capacity-building, including support to establish and regulate self-certification of origin, which is currently contemplated in a number of Paraguay’s ongoing trade negotiations.  Certification is presently conducted by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and by a small number of bodies authorized by decree for this purpose. 

This assistance is consistent with the approved EDM Country Needs Assessment Plan for Paraguay, Mandate 1, Trade Policy Capacity Building, and the EDM Performance Measurement Framework, Immediate Outcome 1210, enhancing the ability of partner country governments to strengthen, implement and measure legislation, regulations, policies and/or standards that support inclusive trade and investment agreements with Canada. 

The direct beneficiaries of this assistance are the Ministry of Industry and Commerce officials responsible for the design and delivery of the self-certification system.  However, Paraguayan exporters, importers and producers are also direct beneficiaries, through the introduction of a new, streamlined certification of origin process.  In particular, small and medium-sized exporters will benefit, as the introduction of self-certification will reduce the administrative burden of claiming preferential tariffs under trade agreements, increase their use of preferences, and enhance their competitiveness in foreign markets.  

Description of Assignment

Technical assistance has been requested by the Department of Foreign Trade, of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Paraguay, to establish a system of self-certification or origin.

The technical expert will:

  • Conduct an inception mission to Asuncion to examine the existing certification system, the capacity-building needs of related agencies and the readiness of the private sector to implement self-certification of origin and identify the implementation risks and challenges. 
  • Prepare a report on the self-certification system in Canada and selected other countries, highlighting best practices and lessons learned, to assist Paraguay in designing a model adapted to their needs.  The report will include details of the certification process employed in the selected countries and the relevant laws, regulations, policies and procedures.
  • Prepare a public information guide to self-certification and a user manual for the administration of the system.
  • Design and deliver a training program for Ministry of Industry and Commerce officials and organizations authorized to certify origin.
  • Throughout the delivery of the technical assistance, the technical expert will seek to identify opportunities to promote social inclusion, in both the short-term conduct of the project and longer-term economic policy development.

Technical Expert Profile/Expertise Required

Applicants for this assignment must have:

  • extensive experience in the administration of self-certification of origin;
  • a detailed knowledge of Rules of Origin disciplines in trade agreements;
  • experience in the design and delivery of training programs; and
  • experience in providing technical assistance to developing countries.

The EDM includes a core focus on gender and social inclusion as well as on environmental issues associated with trade activities. The approach to technical assistance related to both topics is included in guidance documents that are available to both technical assistance applicants and technical experts. Integrating such analysis will form a core part of the mandate of the technical assistance provider therefore any prior experience in the provision of technical assistance on gender equality and social inclusion and environment will be viewed as a strong asset.

Timelines: April 2020 to September 2020

Reporting and Deliverables


  • Mission plan, including a mission schedule, list of meetings and planned activities.
  • Mission report and list of meetings.
  • Revised Activity Workplan – this plan will include a revised overall implementation plan, a performance measurement approach, including specific performance measures to evaluate the effectiveness of the project, and activity timelines and proposed budgets.
  • Report on the Canadian and other international self-certification of origin regimes.
  • Draft public information guide and user manual.
  • Final public information guide and user manual.
  • Draft training materials (presentations, handouts, etc.) for training of officials.
  • Final training materials (presentations, handouts, etc.) for training of officials.
  • Final activity report as per EDM report guidelines as outlined below:


On conclusion of the activities, the technical expert will prepare a final report as per EDM report guidelines, including:

  1. General context and broad objective(s) of the activity
  2. A summary of the approach and specific activities
  3. Expected and unanticipated challenges in the delivery of the activities
  4. Outlines results, including the immediate outcomes and the anticipated longer-term benefits
  5. Sustainability of results
  6. Contribution to gender equality, social inclusion and sustainable development
  7. Recommended performance management framework and specific performance measures
  8. Recommended next steps in the implementation of the CPTPP in Paraguay, including future EDM deployments. 
  9. Lessons learned for future EDM interventions.


For your application to be considered, please name your documents in the following format:

Candidate Last Name, First Name, and Position Name.

To apply:

  1. Describe your specific approach to implementing this TA.
  2. Describe your project management and monitoring strategy for the implementation of the activities.
  3. Indicate all personnel who are being proposed to implement this project and include details roles and responsibilities.  Please include all CVs.
  4. Provide estimated level of effort and consulting rates for those implementing the project.

Please submit your application through our Career Page, including cover letter and application documents outlined above by March 9, 2020.

If you have any questions regarding the position or requirements, inquiries and questions can be sent to .

Please note, applications will not be accepted via email and must be sent through the Cowater Career Page.

About us

With more than 34 years’ experience, Cowater International is Canada’s global leader in management consulting services specializing in international development and has managed the implementation of over 800 projects in more than 80 countries around the globe. We work with governments, partner organizations, communities and civil society to design and implement sustainable solutions that generate lasting social, financial and environmental impacts. Our adaptive approach to management has led to our award-winning work and recognition as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies in 2017 and 2018. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, Cowater International also has corporate offices in Montreal, Quebec, Paris, France, Pretoria, South Africa, and London, United Kingdom, Nairobi, Kenya in addition to project offices in a wide variety of other locations across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

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