The department of trade (DoT) in collaboration with Geneva’s Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Executive Secretariat launched E-infrastructure for Trade and Services Development Project (E4T) in Thimphu yesterday.

E4T will ensure that the government agencies and businesses are equipped to take advantage of the opportunities created by the development of information and communications technology (ICT) which will enable better trade in goods and services.

Project coordinator Choki Tshewang said that the project would promote trade through the means of online services and ICT-related services. For instance, tourism statistics which is a satellite system, would help determine the number of tourists and from which region they come from.

“The data captured will be comprehensive. Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) later can draw policies and work on promotions accordingly. E-commerce will be implemented by policy and planning division (PPD), which would be the overarching policy for the regulation of online transactions and whatever is related to e-business,” Choki Tshewang said.

According to the press release from DoT, the project is expected to promote a reliable ICT ecosystem, both hardware and software, that would enable Bhutan’s integration with regional and global trade.

Director of DoT, Sonam Tenzin, said that economic affairs ministry with stakeholders has been making concerted efforts towards mainstreaming trade in the development plans and programmes and in promoting trade activities in the country.  “This project will put in necessary infrastructure for trade and service development in the country.”

There are six ICT-related components that will be initiated by six different implementing agencies.

E4T components include people data hub, which will be implemented by information and communications ministry, system of tourism statistics by TCB, commodity exchange by Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan (RSEBL), E-Commerce Policy by PPD, E-regulation-Foreign Direct Investment by information department, and one stop information centre by economic affairs ministry’s ICT division.

The E4T is the tier II project under the EIF initiative in Bhutan.

Rinchen Zangmo