08.12.2022, 10:34

Vietnam set to capitalise as international trade continues

On December 7, the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) and the USAID Trade Facilitation Programme co-organised the symposium with the participation of over 200 representatives from government ministries and agencies, trade associations, and the business community to review recent trade facilitation measures and set out a roadmap for further reforms.

During the symposium, plenary and panel sessions provided a platform for participants to discuss Vietnam’s recent trade reforms, including the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO-TFA), the National Single Window, and the recently approved Customs Development Strategy to 2030 – which sets out concrete measures for the GDVC to become a fully digitalised customs administration.

The Government of Vietnam’s commitment to reform is evidenced by the results. The nation is on track to implement its commitments for the WTO-TFA ahead of schedule, with full compliance expected by the end of 2024. By the beginning of 2020, the number of goods subject to specialised inspections (SI) had dropped by 12,600 to 15 per cent.

As the symposium turned its attention to the future, participants emphasised the importance of public-private sector dialogue as a driver of trade reform. With over 830,000 private sector enterprises accounting for more than 43 per cent of Vietnam’s GDP, platforms that enhance dialogue between the government and the business community are becoming increasingly important.

Deputy mission director of USAID Vietnam Bradley Bessire said, “For two decades, USAID has helped Vietnam develop a more attractive business environment. Our joint efforts have helped traders save money and time, fuelling greater investment and improving Vietnam's national competitiveness. Private sector engagement has been and will continue to be critical to ongoing success. USAID looks forward to a strong collective effort to continue this momentum."

Since 2018, the USAID Trade Facilitation Programme has worked closely with the GDVC with a focus on streamlining SIs, an essential import-export procedure that ensures goods meet safety and quality standards.

Nguyen Duc Chi, Deputy Minister of Finance stated, “The USAID Trade Facilitation Programme’s support could not have been better timed, particularly in relation to Vietnam’s implementation of the WTO-TFA. The programme has supported Vietnam to carry out effective regulatory and administrative reforms through a range of activities, including technical assistance for the application of risk management in customs, capacity building, and the development of effective public-private partnerships.”

USAID – through its Trade Facilitation Programme – has been supporting private sector engagement, providing a range of platforms for coordination and dialogue. These include regular Private Sector Trade Facilitation meetings where representatives from government agencies and the private sector share information and experiences, discuss trade facilitation efforts, and make recommendations for change.

The five-year, $21.7 million USAID Trade Facilitation Programme (2018-2023) is supporting the Government of Vietnam to adopt a risk-management approach to customs and SIs, strengthening the implementation of the WTO-TFA. The programme works with the Ministry of Finance’s GDVC to standardise customs procedures, strengthen national and provincial coordination, and build the capacity of customs officials. The aim of the programme is to support Vietnam in developing a more attractive trade and investment climate for enterprises, traders, and investors.