HCM CITY — The Government’s Resolution 19 on improving the business climate and national competitiveness passed four years ago has helped improve the business environment significantly, but there remain shortcomings in its enforcement, especially in terms of specialised inspections at the customs sector.
Businesses have expected in vain that administrative formalities would be streamlined to reduce the goods clearance time, delegates told a seminar in HCM City on Tuesday.
Nguyễn Đình Cung, director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, said the resolution is amended regularly in line with the evolving business situation, but has not been as efficacious as expected.
Regulations on quality standards, especially specialised inspection of import and export goods still cause difficulties for businesses and affect clearance of goods, he said.
According to experts, reducing the time taken for custom clearance by one day will help businesses save US$200 on each batch of goods.
Currently, 30-35 per cent of goods go through specialised customs checks, a very high rate compared to other countries.
Phạm Thanh Bình, an expert from the USAID’s Governance for Inclusive Growth project, said too many items are subject to quality inspection.
All imports are subject to this, something not required, especially in the case of goods like machinery, equipment and industrial products, and cost businesses much time and money, he said.
Besides, many import items are managed by multiple agencies with varying regulations, which causes much difficulty and confusion in the process of clearance, he said.
Đinh Công Khương of Khương Mai Steel Company said authorities should consider inspecting only what is necessary and switching to post-clearance checks, he said.
Nguyễn Thị Mai Hương of the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality said many ministries and agencies have not implemented the Resolution thoroughly.
Cung said the Government has instructed relevant ministries to issue a list of goods subject to specialised inspections to reduce such inspections, simplify procedures and reduce inspection time, but no individual ministry has been identified for drawing up the list.
There is a large gap between the resolution and its enforcement, he said.
Trần Ngọc Liêm, deputy director of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s HCM City chapter, said there is a lack of co-ordination between ministries and agencies and use of IT in specialised inspection.
Delegates agreed at the seminar that relevant ministries need to thoroughly overhaul regulations on quality control of imported goods and put off inspection of imports to the post-customs clearance period.
They also called for only inspecting goods that are possibly “unsafe” and those that businesses register for inspection.
Besides, comprehensive reform of conformity certification and quality control regulations is also needed, they said.
The seminar was organised by CIEM and the USAID’s Governance for Inclusive Growth project. — VNS