Seafood being processed for export at Ngô Quyền Processing Export JSC in Kiên Giang Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Ma5nh Linh
HÀ NỘI – Enterprises importing seafood for processing and export can once again get customs clearance certificates before quarantine inspections.
A Phap Luat Thanh Pho HCM (HCM City Law) report yesterday quoted the Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) as saying permission to obtain the certificates earlier was granted after the firms complained of undue delays, higher costs and losses.
Many firms had complained to the association that over the past four years, they’d typically received customs clearance before inspections, but a new rule issued in August had hurt production and profits.
The Bà Rịa Vũng Tàu Seafood Processing, Import and Export Joint Stock Company (Baseafood) has been importing salted cod for export processing for the last two years.
The company kept the imported cod in its own freezers and waited to get the inspection certificate before processing it.
However, on August 8, 2016, the Region VI Animal Health Agency issued Official Letter 1094/TYV6-TH guiding quarantine declaration for imported seafood material for export processing. As per this document, the customs certificate could be granted only after the imported seafood had passed quarantine inspections.
The company petitioned the association for help because it had to spend more money now to store the imported seafood at the port. This could affect the quality of stored seafood because the company could not regularly check if the refrigeration was working properly, it argued.
Trần Văn Lĩnh, chairman of Thuận Phước Seafood and Trade Joint Stock Company, noted that local enterprises had to import seafood that was either not available locally or were available in insufficient quantities. Sometimes, the locally available seafood was priced too high, making the company’s products less competitive in the international market.
For instance, Việt Nam’s seafood enterprises were importing shrimp from India and Ecuador for export processing because of low import prices of US$1-2 per kilo.
But under the new regulation, the enterprises were losing out because they had to spend hundreds of millions of dong more on storing the shrimp at the ports until the inspections were done.
The association said that four years ago, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) had allowed the granting of customs clearance certificates to enterprises storing imported seafood on their own while awaiting inspections.
After receiving several complaints from its members, VASEP requested the ministry’s Animal Health Department to reverse its decision.
MARD responded positively to the request late in October.
It said that the enterprises would be responsible for ensuring that the imported seafood they stored in their own facilities meet required quality standards. They should also ensure that the stored seafood is not processed before it passes inspection, the Ministry said
Phạm Hải Long, general director of Agrex Sài Gòn, welcomed the decision saying a large number of enterprises doing honest business should not suffer because of a few that violated existing regulations. - VNS