Strategy to give Viet Nam competitive edge

Update: June, 10/2014 - 09:05
Customs officials check products at Huu Nghi International Border Gate in northern Lang Son Province. The GDP is estimated to increase by approximately $26 billion if export–import red tape was reduced by 29 days. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hung

HA NOI  (VNS) — All relevant ministries and agencies must actively participate in the government's strategy to improve business climate and national competitive edge, experts suggested at a workshop in Ha Noi last week.

The workshop was held because only a mere one-third of the localities across the country have come up with plans to realise the strategy, known as Resolution 19, which was initiated in March to enhance administrative reforms and help firms save processing time and costs.

Under the strategy, the country sets the goal of meeting the standards of the ASEAN-6 group—Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Brunei—in terms of business licensing and insolvency; tax payment; customs formalities; and access to electricity supply and credit, as well as investment protection, by 2015.

Experts stated that Viet Nam has had some tax procedure reforms but still has a long road ahead to keep pace with ASEAN countries.

Hoang Thi Lan Anh, deputy director of a committee responsible for the modernisation and restructuring of tax procedures under the General Department of Taxation, pointed out that Viet Nam has made progress in cutting the tax time, adding that businesses had to spend 1,050 hours per year to pay taxes a few years ago.

However, Anh also admitted that the reduction in time was not satisfactory enough.

Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management Nguyen Dinh Cung stated that the government's Resolution 19 has approved many objectives in cutting tax-related red tape, but what is important is whether relevant ministries and agencies are determined to get things done.

Cung added that businesses currently take 22 days to have customs cleared for their exports in Viet Nam. If the duration could be cut to only seven days, Viet Nam's GDP will increase by $11 billion.

Similarly, if the time to complete import procedures is reduced to seven days from the current 21 days, another $15 billion will be added to the GDP.

Therefore, the GDP can increase approximately $26 billion only by reducing the export–import red tape by 29 days, he estimated.

Experts stated that businesses in Viet Nam take much more time to declare and pay taxes because they are required to submit very detailed tax files.

Director of the US Agency for International Development, Joakim Parker, noted that his agency is willing to assist Viet Nam in implementing the strategy.

If successful, Viet Nam will be able to strengthen its global trade commitments, including those made within ASEAN, the World Trade Organisation and the Trans-Asia Pacific deal, Parker added.

The workshop was hosted by the Central Institute for Economic Management. — VNS