According to the regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Vietnam is in the group of members that must be reviewed for trade policies with a seven-year review cycle. Vietnam’s 2nd WTO trade policy review session for 2013-2019 was held online on April 27 and 29 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Within the WTO framework, besides negotiation and dispute settlement, trade policy review is one of the three pillars of the WTO, and conducted periodically for all members to ensure transparency in implementing WTO commitments and obligations. Vietnam's first trade policy review session took place in 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland.
At the second trade policy review session, the Vietnamese side was chaired by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh with the participation of ministries, branches and agencies. Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, Head of the Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the United Nations, WTO and other international organisations, and delegations attended in Geneva, Switzerland.
The WTO side was chaired by Botswana Ambassador Athaliah Lesiba Molokomme, with the participation of Netherlands’ Ambassador to WTO, Monique Van Daalen, representatives of the WTO Secretariat and other members interested in the trade policy review session of Vietnam.
Statements related to Vietnam's trade policies from 2013 to 2019 by more than 40 WTO members at the session showed many states have highly appreciated the contributions of Vietnam Customs in trade facilitation. The two statements of representatives from the US and Hong Kong evaluated Vietnam Customs as follows:
The US Permanent Representative to the WTO said Vietnam Customs has effectively honoured its commitments under the WTO TFA and recorded the efforts of Vietnam Customs in taking some measures to fight origin fraud and illicit transshipment.
The representative of the US mentioned the cooperation of Vietnam Customs with the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF) in building the Customs Guarantee System. If the system is approved, Vietnam will be the first country in Asia running this system.
The US side also asked Vietnam to consider participating in supporting the timely and efficient release of global goods through accelerated implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Regarding trade facilitation, the representative of Hong Kong recognised Vietnam's efforts to apply risk management and post-clearance audit in line with international standards, applying National Single Window, ASEAN Single Window, and expanding application of IT and advanced equipment in customs management.
Customs has also taken trade facilitation measures amid the Covid-19 pandemic, including applying IT in customs clearance, quickly performing customs clearance, reducing physical inspection and simplifying customs procedures. The representative of Hong Kong highly appreciated the efforts of Vietnam Customs in trade facilitation especially amid current global challenges.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh clarified contents related to customs.
Regarding trade facilitation, especially the implementation of the WTO TFA, Vietnam Customs has taken measures to facilitate businesses, including the application of e-customs system, risk management and authorised economic operator regime. Vietnam has also updated its regulations related to customs valuation.
In addition, Vietnam has adopted measures to combat trade fraud and illicit transshipment. The Prime Minister approved a project on “Strengthening the State management to combat the evasion of trade remedies and origin fraud” and Resolution 119/NQ-CP on emergency measures for the enhancement of State management regarding prevention and combat of origin fraud. The General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) has used strict measures in all stages before, during and after customs clearance, and requested municipal and provincial customs departments to apply customs measures from the stage of carrying out customs procedures to the other stages like risk management, post-clearance audit and customs supervision.
Vietnam has provided solutions like listing commodities with a high risk of origin fraud; checked transactions and import and export enterprises whose import-export turnover has increased dramatically compared to their production capacity and scale to conduct analysis and decide inspection. At the same time, relevant agencies have strengthened their coordination in checking certification of origin for suspected goods.
In 2020, the GDVC inspected more than 100 suspect firms and detected 45 cases infringing on export goods origin; worked with the Ministry of Public Security to investigate one case with signs of counterfeiting origin certificate; seized 3,590 CBU bikes, more than 4,000 bicycle parts and more than 12,000 kitchen cabinet accessories and parts. Close coordination between domestic agencies, ministries and customs agencies and international organisations has contributed to ensuring a fair trade environment.
Source: Customs News
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