Foreign firm exodus from China to Vietnam may be delayed

A Standard Chartered Bank study highlighted the fact that increasingly-competitive Vietnam is now the “best choice” for China-based investors who want to relocate their production base. But the exodus may be delayed by Vietnam’s restrictions on imports of used machinery and equipment. Read more

VNACCS/VCIS Implementation and Customs Risk Management

Customs 450x-An update on the new system, the underlying law, decree, circulars, and international commitments. All exporters and importers will be required to use the system starting Apr 1. View and download the presentation: VNACCS -VCIS & Customs Risk Management, Feb 27, 2014.

We have expressed some concerns and made recommendations to VN Customs in a January 27 letter, including a request for a “grace period” before applying sanctions, in the form of administrative fines or penalties, due to inadvertent errors based on misunderstandings by users or officials, or instances of noncompliance by importers, exporters, customs brokers or logistics providers caused by systems issues; the moratorium should last until 270 days (three quarters of a year) after defined targets, such as publication of the circular(s) providing regulatory guidance, and testing of the system based on a statistically appropriate sample of users under the principle of customs risk management. Read more

Technical assistance to help Vietnam implement TPP, 2014 – 2018

Kerry and MinhSecretary of State John Kerry announced a technical assistance program for Vietnam to help implement the TPP Commitments during his visit to Vietnam Dec 14-16, “And today, I am happy to announce USAID’s Governance for Inclusive Growth. It’s a program to help implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is not aid. I want to make that clear. This is an investment, and it’s an investment in broad-based and sustainable growth.” Secretary of State John Kerry, Dec 14, 2013 in Ho Chi Minh City.

On Jan 14, USAID signaled its robust support for the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership with an event to launch its Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), which outlines the USAID’s development assistance program in Vietnam from 2014 through 2018.  At the event, USAID signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Justice to officially begin USAID’s new “Governance for Inclusive Growth” program. Read more

Trade Facilitation Agreement in the “Bali Package,” Dec 2013

Customs 450x-

The trade facilitation part is a multilateral deal to simplify customs procedures by reducing costs and improving their speed and efficiency. It will be a legally binding agreement and is one of the biggest reforms of the WTO since its establishment in 1995. Other agreements struck since then are on financial services and telecommunications, and among a subset of WTO members, an agreement on free trade in information technology products. The objectives are: to speed up customs procedures; make trade easier, faster and cheaper; provide clarity, efficiency and transparency; reduce bureaucracy and corruption, and use technological advances.

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WTO Ministerial “Bali Package,” Dec 2013

Impression“The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, which is the key element of the “Bali Package,” and part of the “Doha Package,” would simplify and harmonize dozens of administrative procedures and standards that dictate how goods cross borders or are handled in customs. It would drastically cut red tape that consumes precious resources for governments and companies, while slowing down supply chains, creating opportunities for corruption and increasing the cost of goods by an estimated 5 to 15 per cent.” – Victor Fung Read more

WTO closes “$1 trillion trade deal” at Ministerial Meeting; focus is trade facilitation, customs procedures

wto_directorBALI, Indonesia —  The biggest element of the “Bali package” is a trade facilitation agreement that would make it easier and cheaper to move goods around the world by cutting red tape and improving customs procedures. Besides boosting trade, the pact could reduce corruption by eliminating opportunities for customs officials to extract bribes to get goods across borders. The binding agreement requires countries to implement reforms in a number of areas, but allows them to decide how quickly to do that and promises technical assistance from rich countries for the more challenging commitments.  Read more

ADB to provide $50 million loan to support SMEs in Vietnam Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Vietnamese Government signed an agreement on November 22 providing a 50 million USD concessional loan for fostering the development and competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam.

“While the Government made great efforts to enhance policy reforms to support the creation, survival and growth of SMEs, more needs to be done to foster a greater scale of SME development essentially required for the country to achieve more sustainable and inclusive growth,” said ADB Country Director for Vietnam Tomoyuki Kimura. Read more

WTO Import Licensing Committee: Questions for Vietnam

WTO logoViet Nam’s licensing regime. The US, supported by the EU, welcomed Viet Nam’s decision to temporarily suspend some import regulations applied to “a number of goods”, but it regretted that Viet Nam had failed to provide the complete list of products, as required by the Import Licensing Agreement. It complained that six years after Viet Nam became a member, its import licensing regime remains unclear. Viet Nam said it would provide information about the products affected by import licensing and would work with members. See documents G/LIC/Q/VNM/4 (U.S. questions) and G/LIC/N/1/VNM/2 (VN Notification). Read more