Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The National Assembly’s Standing Committee yesterday discussed improving the cross-border transportation of goods as Việt Nam continues to forge deeper ties with its regional neighbours.
The two main focuses for the morning sessions were how and whether the country should join the Istanbul 1990 Convention on Temporary Admission and the need to sign a memorandum on the deployment of the Early Harvest Programme – a free trade agreement among the Mekong region countries.
The proposal paper regarding joining the Istanbul 1990 Convention – adopted by the Council of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) – was submitted by the Minister of Finance Đinh Tiến Dũng. The convention introduced a standardised model of internationally recognised temporary admission papers with international security for temporarily admitted goods, cutting down on administrative procedures. The convention applies to goods that are only brought into a country for a short period of time, such as samples, professional instruments or items for auction, exhibition or demonstration purposes.
MoF’s proposal to the NA Standing Committee was considered “in line with the law on treaties,” however, a more in-depth impact assessment report was urged to help the committee make a definitive conclusion.
Chairman of the NA Committee for External Relations, Nguyễn Văn Giàu, agreed with the Government’s opinion that the convention provisions “will not be directly implemented,” but rather, they should be “incorporated into the Vietnamese national law.” Giàu added that participating in the convention will allow the country to opt for temporary admission mechanisms besides the goods-in-transit mechanism currently used in Việt Nam.
Tòng Thị Phóng, NA Vice Chairwoman, concluded that the NA Standing Committee concurred with Government’s proposal to join the convention and tasked the Government with internalising the convention’s provisions into the national law after joining the convention.
The NA Standing Committee also approved the signing of a memorandum on the implementation of “Early Harvest Scheme” (EHS). The EHS is a step towards a more comprehensive agreement on streamlining the cross-border transport of goods and people between Great Sub-Mekong (GSM) region countries.
An early harvest scheme is a less comprehensive agreement on the liberalisation of a certain number of goods, which serves as a precursor to a full-fledged free trade agreement (FTA) or a regional trade agreement (RTA). The GSM harvest scheme agreement is based on a pre-existing agreement on transportation signed between Việt Nam, Laos and Thailand in 1999.
NA Standing Committee members unanimously agreed that the draft memorandum is legal under the 2013 Constitution and basically in line with existing law.
However, head of external relations committee Giàu urged revision of the provision regarding the 30-day window of penalty payment for offending container owners. This section conflicts with the 10-day window provided for in the 2012 Law on Handling of Administrative Violations. Some members also asked for more clarification regarding the conciliation of technical standard frameworks for motorised vehicles between GSM member countries. — VNS