|A shirt assembly line in production for exports to the US at a factory run by the May 10 (Garment 10) company. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
HCM CITY (VNS) — The potential impact of the World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation Agreement that Viet Nam signed in 2013 on its businesses and the customs-to-business partnership under the agreement were among the issues discussed at a workshop in HCM City yesterday.
According to Nguyen Toan, director of the Viet Nam Customs' International Cooperation Department, the TFA was an agreement binding on all WTO members that seeks to simplify customs procedures by reducing costs and improving their speed and efficiency.
It also seeks to balance facilitation and legal compliance, set an effective co-operation mechanism for customs authorities and between customs and other agencies, and promote the use of technology.
The agreement covers many aspects like transparency and rights of businesses, goods in transit, and procedures, fees and charges imposed on or in connection with importation/exportation and transit.
It will provide assistance to developing and least developed countries in updating their infrastructure, training customs officials, and meeting other costs associated with implementing the agreement.
Tran Huu Huynh, chairman of the International Trade Advisory Committee, WTO Centre, at the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Viet Nam ranked 65th out of 180 nations in efficiently performing customs procedures.
One day's reduction in the customs clearance time could save the country's businesses US$1.6 billion, he said.
The TFA was a blueprint for reforming customs procedures and bringing practical benefits to the economy, he said.
Domestic law had already covered these issues, but had not been enforced effectively.
Talking about the TFA's benefits, he said it would help businesses reduce the customs clearance time and costs and strengthen their competitiveness to boost exports and expand markets.
Herb Cochran, executive director of Amcham Viet Nam, said the TFA would simplify customs and other import/export procedures, speed up supply chains, reduce cost by 5-10 per cent, and reduce corruption.
As a result, small and medium-sized enterprises in Viet Nam and other developing countries would be encouraged to participate in international trade, he said.
Tran Ngoc Liem, deputy director of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry's HCM City chapter, said customs reform was one of the Government's priorities.
Businesses, especially those involved in foreign trade, were awaiting the results of these reforms, he said.
The workshop would help businesses understand the country's TFA commitments and benefits, and they could work together with customs to implement the agreement in the most effective way, he said.
It was organised by Viet Nam Customs, the VCCI, and USAID. — VNS