|Speakers at a seminar held in HCM City on Wednesday to find ways to reduce time and costs for export-import businesses. Photo courtesy of the HCM City Press Centre
HCM CITY — Businesses are struggling to reduce import-export costs and stay competitive amid the surging transportation and logistics costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Speaking at a seminar organised in HCM City on Wednesday by Hải Quan (Customs) newspaper, Vũ Thị Ánh Hồng, its editor-in-chief, said Việt Nam has trade partnerships with over 200 countries and territories and is a major partner of ASEAN member countries.
It has 17 free trade agreements, including multilateral ones like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, she said.
While they foster trade, the pandemic, Russia-Ukraine conflict and global oil price jump have caused transport and logistics costs to surge, affecting import-export firms, she said.
“The increased costs have reduced the competitiveness of Vietnamese goods.”
Businesses have said they are suffering losses due to the burgeoning costs.
Đào Duy Tám, deputy director of management supervision at the General Department of Customs, said the department would continue to simplify procedures to reduce paperwork and the time needed for customs clearance.
It would use technology to upgrade its IT system and adopt digital customs and smart customs such as online procedures, electronic payment and automatic customs supervision management, he said.
Jonathan Hạnh Nguyễn, chairman of Imex Pan Pacific Group, said besides simplifying customs procedures, it is also important to develop e-data sharing systems between enterprises, customs offices and relevant agencies.
Trần Việt Huy, head of the Việt Nam Logistics Services Association’s customs and trade facilitation department, said his department would set up systems to enable electronic exchange of data between enterprises, customs and related agencies.
Experts said the lockdowns and travel restrictions have disrupted production lines and put additional financial burden on businesses.
The cost of shipping a container from East Asia to Europe, for instance, has gone up by almost 10 times since the pandemic began, they added.
The negative impacts on the supply chain would continue to linger and transport costs would not return to normal levels until next year or 2024, they warned.
The seminar sought recommendations from the business community and government agencies on how to foster trade and reduce time and costs for export-import companies to enhance their competitiveness.
It attracted more than 100 businesses involved in foreign trade. — VNS