VNEconomyNews.com - The Circular No 13 on examining the imports with vegetation origins has been described as “doing more harm than good,” because it has been putting big difficulties for import companies, while it fails to prevent low quality imports.
The circular 13, which took effect one month ago, stipulated that the products with vegetation origin must show the certificates on food hygiene to be able to enter Vietnam. In order to obtain the certificates, enterprises have to go through necessary steps, from taking samples and having the samples tests at competent agencies.
Also according to the new regulation, agricultural imports must be packed when they are imported to Vietnam, while the labels must show clearly the names of products, the names and addresses of producers and codes in Vietnamese language. If not, the products must have sub-labels in Vietnamese.
However, in fact, the farm produce imported from China, Laos and Cambodia has been imported to Vietnam without having to go through any examination or quarantine step.
Under the current regulations, the businessmen in the provinces which have the border lines with China, Laos and Cambodia, can purchase or sell the volume of goods worth up to two million dong every day.
Phung Huu Hao, Deputy Head of the National Agro Forestry Fisheries Quality Assurance Directorate Nafiqad, said that the businessmen do not have to follow customs procedures when buying goods across the border, which also means that the products do not have to go through the inspection.
“The circular 13, therefore, does not cover the subjects,” Hao said.
Also according to Hao, a big volume of goods, including food and farm produce from neighboring countries still keep flowing to Vietnam every day through the tracks, and of course, the produce never get inspected.
Nguyen Hung Cuong, Deputy Head of the Industry and Trade Sub-department in the border district of Tinh Bien in An Giang province, has admitted that all the fruits sourced from Thailand and Cambodia, including mango, mangosteen and rambutan being sold at the Tinh Bien Market all come across the border gates, which are not taxed; therefore, they are cheap.
Cuong declined to give the accurate number of the farm produce volume going across the border every day, saying that the customs agency would only submit report by the end of the month, but he has affirmed that the volume of products imported through this channel is really big.
In An Giang province alone, there are two international border gates Tinh Bien and Khanh Binh, and one local border gate Vinh Xuong.
New regulation facing opposition
Enterprises and associations have complained that the circular has put big difficulties for them.
Just six days after the circular 13 took effect, Vinacas, the association of cashew producers and exporters, sent a dispatch to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), proposing to weed out cashew nuts from the list of products that need to go through food hygiene inspection.
The association complained that 400 containers of raw cashew nuts containing 10,000 tons of products got stuck at the ports due to the new regulations, saying that cashew exporters are facing the risk of failing to giver deliveries on schedule and the punishment for late deliveries.
Dang Hoang Giang, Secretary General of Vinacas, said that no relevant agency has guided enterprises the implementation of the new circular; therefore, enterprises do not know what procedures they need to follow.
Giang also said that the circular took effect on July 1, while most of the contracts on importing raw cashew nuts from Africa, Indonesia and Cambodia were signed earlier this year already.
Meanwhile, government agencies have expressed their surprise when hearing that enterprises do not have enough time to prepare for the new regulation.