Urging businesses to use railway and seaway to clear backlog of products
On December 31, the Asia-Africa Market Department (MoiT) collaborated with the provinces of Lang Son, Quang Ninh, and Cao Bang to organize a virtual meeting with China's Guangxi provincial counterpart.
The working session's objective was to explore new solutions to the problem of products piling up at the border with Guangxi.
Ms. Le Hoang Oanh, director of the Asia-Africa Market Department shared with the pressure on Guangxi province to tackle the epidemic, given China's "Zero Covid" policy. However, the industry and trade sector's chief emphasized that the Chinese province's increased pandemic safety measures, such as suspending border operations or barring the import of some certain fruits, are overreactive.
"The standstill at the border gate region has disrupted the supply chain, wreaking havoc on bilateral trade growth and resulting in significant losses for businesses and people on both sides," Ms. Oanh added.
During the discussion, the representative from the MoIT presented many solutions to the stagnation of goods circulation at the border gate region.
To begin, restore customs clearance operations at temporarily paused border crossings and lengthen clearing times at all gates;
Second, agree on a strategy for using and increasing the number of full-time drivers on each side; Agree to conduct a trial program to deploy employees who have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccination in Vietnamese border areas to work at China's border gate in order to alleviate the scarcity of drivers and loading workers.
Thirdly, to encourage bilateral firms to conduct customs clearing via railway and sea border gates;
And fourthly, to facilitate customs clearance for Vietnamese dragon fruit exports.
Along with the aforementioned proposals, MoIT requested that Guangxi province regularly update activity plans for local border gates, as well as coordinate the review and completion of the process of import and export goods delivery while ensuring epidemic prevention safety and ensuring convenience, smoothness, and high efficiency, thereby avoiding congestion.
In response to Vietnam's MoiT requests, the Director of the Guangxi Department of Commerce noted that China prioritizes epidemic prevention, putting safety and human life at first, which is why it has strengthened epidemic prevention procedures at the border gate.
Guangxi's representative proposed that Vietnam and Guangxi collaborate to increase epidemic prevention at the border gate, share information on border gate management and traffic routes, and expeditiously finish the extension of Xuan Cuong yard in the vicinity of the Huu Nghi border gate.
In keeping with the spirit of the conference, the Guangxi side agreed to explore extending the clearing time upon calculation, discussion, and consent of local authorities on both sides of the border. Concerning the Vietnamese side's ideas, the Guangxi Department of Commerce takes notice and will report to the appropriate level.
Congestion at border gates has continued since the start of December, owing to a variety of factors, including China's "Zero Covid" policy, Vietnamese enterprises snatching time to export before Order 248, Order 244, and rumors about China suspending customs clearance 14 days before Tet...
China Customs declared on December 29 to suspend customs clearance for Vietnamese dragon fruit through the Huu Nghi border gate owing to worries about the Covid-19 epidemic. This resulted in a reduction in the number of vehicles passing through the Lang Son border gates to 70-80 per day, or around one-fifth of usual.
According to the Lang Son Department of Industry and Trade, if the province's delayed customs clearance continues, it will take at least a month to release all automobiles at the border gate yards.
On December 29, Minister of MoIT Nguyen Hong Dien wrote four letters to the Chinese Commerce Minister, the Director-General of the Chinese General Administration of Customs, the Secretary of the Guangxi Provincial Party Committee, and the Secretary of the Yunnan Provincial Party Committee, expressing concern about the problem of goods congestion at the two countries' border gate.
Minister Nguyen Hong Dien requested in the letters that the Chinese side exercise common sense in order to maintain the flow of goods and supply chain connectivity, as mentioned in bilateral phone calls between the two countries' senior leaders, the ASEAN+3 Special Summit Joint Statements in April 2020, and the ASEAN-China Special Summit in November 2021.
Additionally, the MoIT requested that the Chinese side and border towns collaborate to develop and agree on a safe epidemic prevention clearance method that ensures the free flow of commodities across the border.
Author: Bao Thang
Translated by Linh Linh
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