USAID-funded trade facilitation project launched hinh anh 1At the launching ceremony (Photo: CTV/Vietnam+)

Hanoi (VNA)
 - A trade facilitation programme worth over 21.7 million USD funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was launched in Hanoi on July 10.

‘On time project’

The project will be performed in five years, aiming to reform, standardize, harmonize and simplify administrative procedures in terms of import and export, in accordance with international standards, towards implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organisation.

The implementation strategy of the project will be at the central to the provincial level, focusing on strengthening coordination among ministries; supporting policy reforms on trade facilitation and implementation of TFA; cutting specialized inspection procedures; and promoting partnership with the private sector.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue highlighted the significance of the project, saying that it meets requirements and desire of the Vietnamese Government in implementing the TFA and other new-generation free trade agreements.

Under the direction of the Government, the Ministry of Finance presided over and coordinated with ministries and branches to implement the national one-stop-shop mechanism, which is connected to those of five ASEAN member nations, he noted.

According to the Deputy PM, to date, the National Single Window has to date connected to 13 ministries, branches with 173 administrative procedures to be systemised. Nearly 2.2 million files have been processed through the system. Besides, the system has connected to five ASEAN countries to exchange data on e-Certificate of Origin (C/O) with a total number of 90,000 C/O.

The Deputy PM also informed that by March, the list of specialized inspection items had decreased by more than 12,600 items. Ministries and branches have also implemented measures such as applying risk management, strengthening post-inspection, moving from pre-clearance inspection to post-clearance inspection, increasing the subjects who are exempted from inspection, etc.

These issues, according to Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, are "initial successes but much work remains to be done."

Therefore, the Deputy Prime Minister said the newly-launched project of trade facilitation is necessary, timely and in line with Vietnam's expectations.

The Deputy Prime Minister also asked the Ministry of Finance to work closely with ministries, localities, USAID and the private sector to implement effectively and ensure the project’s objectives.

USAID-funded trade facilitation project launched hinh anh 2Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue (Photo: CTV/Vietnam+)

Calling for practical cooperation from businesses

According to Claudio Dordi, Project Director, one of the project’s components is to support legal initiatives and institutions to contribute to implementing free trade agreements effectively.

Some of the activities in the component include the application of Blockchain technology in information exchange to serve the implementation of the national single window mechanism, the ASEAN single window mechanism and other partners.

Another notable component is the strengthening of coordination between central and local levels. The content of this pillar is to ensure that Vietnam's trade facilitation policies and procedures be implemented more effectively through enhanced coordination, cooperation and information exchange.

For his part, US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink said the US administration will coordinate with the Vietnamese side in implementing the project, thus  harmonizing and simplifying specialized inspection procedures.

He stressed that US businesses always consider Vietnam an attractive investment destination, so the US wishes to maintain effective partnership with Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance and General Department of Customs, as well as other partners and business communities, in order to make it easy for sustainable growth in Vietnam.  

Vice Director of General Department of Customs Mai Xuan Thanh said the agency has paid attention to streamlining its organisation apparatus, reforming working methods, and improving labour productivity.

He pledged that the customs sector would focus all resources to work with USAID to effectively perform the programme./.