VN, USAID partner to enhance import-export specialised inspection hinh anh 1Import-export activities at Cua Lo port, Nghe An province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A Vietnamese top customs official on August 27 met with representatives from ministries, public agencies and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to discuss the implementation of a trade facilitation project, with an emphasis on import-export specialised inspection.

The USAID-funded Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) aims to reform, standardise and streamline import-export administrative procedures to conform with the international standards as committed by Vietnam in the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) and the Government’s policies in customs reforms, said Deputy Director General of the General Department of Customs Mai Xuan Thanh.

One of the project’s most important components is to reform import-export specialised inspection, enhancing the National Single Window (NSW), which requires inter-sectoral cooperation among relevant ministries and agencies, he noted.

Thanh expected the relevant ministries and agencies to actively coordinate with customs authorities and USAID experts to step up the TFP implementation.

Over the past two decades, Vietnam has become one of the most open economies in the world but suffers from inefficient customs and border procedures that lead to long delays at the ports and hurt Vietnam’s trade competitiveness.

Specialised inspection forms part of customs clearance procedures performed by different ministries and agencies. The involvement of many governmental bodies has caused lengthy delays and increased unneccessary costs for businesses, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Thus, the TFP helps Vietnam adopt and implement a risk management approach to modernise and expedite customs procedures to address these challenges.

A USAID representative said that the agency wants to cooperate with the General Department of Customs and governmental bodies to streamline customs clearance procedures and foster an effective coordination among central and local authorities in enforcing trade facilitation policies.

According to the National Steering Committee for the ASEAN Single Window, National Single Window and Trade Facilitation (Committee 1899), there were close to 70,100 goods items needing import-export specialised inspection by 13 ministries and governmental agencies as of April this year.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development requires the largest number of goods – 7,623 items – to be inspected.–VNA