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Import and export in the "new normal": Removing bottlenecks

10:00 | 16/11/2021

VCN - The convoys carrying import and export goods in the area of ​​Hai Phong port, or Mong Cai and Hoanh Mo border gates (Quang Ninh) have been seen recently when localities implemented Resolution 128/NQ-CP of the Government on temporarily regulating "safe adaptation, flexibility, and effective control of the Covid-19 pandemic" (Resolution 128).

A customs officer of Hai Phong port area 1 Customs Branch conducts physical inspection. Photo: T.Bình
Customs officers of Hai Phong port area 1 Customs Branch conduct physical inspection. Photo: T.Bình

No longer "banning goods circulation from one province to another”

A few days after the Government issued Resolution 128, a reporter from Customs News was present at two important trading gateways in the North, Hai Phong and Quang Ninh which had an annual import and export turnover of tens of billions of USD.

On the entrance and exit of the two localities, the Covid-19 pandemic control checkpoint was maintained. However, the medical declaration was carried out conveniently and smoothly thanks to the PC-Covid app. Based on the pandemic level of the starting point, the competent forces at the checkpoint would issue appropriate measures to prevent and control the pandemic.

From the inner city of Hai Phong to the port area on Road 356 - the arterial road for goods circulation in Hai Phong port area, we witnessed lines of container trucks coming in and out of the port.

At Tan Vu port, Mr. Nguyen Van Duong (from Tien Hai, Thai Binh), a truck driver transporting import and export goods from Hai Phong to Hanoi and some northern provinces, spoke about the journey from Hai Phong to Hanoi and vice versa.

Every day, Duong transported imported goods, which were mainly machinery and equipment, from Hai Phong along National Highway 5A through Hung Yen and Hai Duong provinces, to deliver to the factory in Hanoi, and then returned to Hai Phong.

According to Duong, currently, only Hai Phong maintained the pandemic control checkpoint (when returning to Hai Phong). At the checkpoint, there was a dedicated area for vehicle operators to declare and an area for motorbikes and cars.

“At the checkpoint, people only showed the vaccination certificate, Covid-19 testing paper and some related documents. It took more than 10 seconds to complete the procedure, so the congestion no longer occurred like before. Each trip from Hai Phong to Hanoi and vice versa only took about 4 hours. During the peak of the pandemic, local governments set up checkpoints, sometimes it took two days, meanwhile it only took a day normally. Thanks to convenient travel, I run a trip from Hai Phong to Hanoi every day and vice versa. Hence, the income also increased,” Nguyen Van Duong said.

Similar to Hai Phong, on National Highway 18 - the main road of import and export between Vietnam and China through Quang Ninh, in the early days of November, we often saw convoys of import and export goods.

At the Km3+4 pontoon bridge, Mong Cai City (Quang Ninh), we also noted long-distance drivers speaking about convenient travel when the Government issued Resolution 128.

Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Tang (from Tuy An, Phu Yen) could not hide his excitement when he had just completed his journey of transporting the first export shipment to Mong Cai. On October 27, Tang departed from Phan Thiet City, Binh Thuan, carrying a container of about 20 tons of dragon fruit to be exported to China through Mong Cai border gate.

Before leaving, Mr. Tung was worried because this was the first shipment to Mong Cai. Moreover, many colleagues said that travel during the pandemic was very difficult, it takes 4-5 days or longer to arrive at Mong Cai.

However, Mr. Tang's travel was convenient and after only 2 days, he arrived in Mong Cai.

“From Binh Thuan to Quang Ninh, I only had to make a medical declaration when going through many provinces. Entering Quang Ninh province I must make a medical declaration and quickly test for Covid-19. After about 15 minutes, I got a negative result. So I continued to deliver the goods to Mong Cai. Arriving in Mong Cai city, I continued to have a quick test for Covid-19. It only takes about 15 minutes to get the results. When I got a negative result, I transported the goods to the pontoon bridge km3+4 in order to carry out export procedures. When staying in Mong Cai, I was arranged by the goods’ owner in a concentrated area to ensure pandemic prevention," Tang said.

Before implementing Resolution 128, to enter Quang Ninh territory and go to Mong Cai, vehicle operators had to go through two pandemic control checkpoints as Tang said. However, vehicle operators had to carry out Covid-19 testing by PCR method at each checkpoint, so the time of waiting took from 10 hours to 20 hours. Therefore, transporting goods from the South to Mong Cai took 4-5 days or more.

As noted by the reporters, the drivers all expressed a spirit of cooperation with local forces in implementing pandemic prevention and control measures. When the pandemic broke out, their lives and work were also greatly affected.

Supporting the flow of “billion-dollar” goods

In order to contribute to the effective implementation of Resolution 128, helping to clear the flow of import and export goods associated with pandemic prevention and control, the Customs sector, especially local customs units, continue to implement solutions in carrying out the dual goals.

A representative of Hai Phong Customs Department said that since Covid-19 pandemic, the unit has actively implemented plans to prevent and control the pandemic and ensure cargo clearance. In particular, after the Government issued Resolution 128, the unit continued to promote specific solutions to support businesses.

For example, in the case of conducting a physical inspection of goods, the Department applied maximum inspection through container scanning machines to clear goods. With the recognition of inspection sites at the production facility, the construction site, the enterprise was only required to submit online applications or send them via the postal service, the Department would check the dossier and base on regulations to decide on recognition without requiring the enterprise to go to customs office and customs officers do not have to come to the enterprise to check.

Recently, Hai Phong Customs Department sent a document requesting units to suspend and postpone post-clearance audits already planned in 2021 (including post-clearance audit based on compliance assessment and post-clearance audit based on signs of risk); suspending or postponing the inspection and examination already planned in 2021 such as specialized inspection, checking the final settlement report, checking the use of raw materials and supplies at the taxpayer's office.

Regarding problems of enterprises during the pandemic, Hai Phong Customs Department directed units to guide businesses to connect and exchange on online public services, public postal services, etc.

Thanks to the synchronous application of solutions, the need for businesses to go directly to the transaction office at the customs office is greatly reduced, while the volume of declarations and import and export goods still tends to increase and cargo clearance is operated smoothly.

From the beginning of the year to October 31, Hai Phong Customs Department carried out clearance procedures for more than 1.76 million declarations, an increase of more than 300,000 declarations compared to the same period in 2020, the total turnover reached nearly $93 billion, increasing by more than $19 billion.

At Quang Ninh Customs Department, Deputy Director Trinh Van Nhuan said, besides the previous solutions, after the issuance of Resolution 128, the Quang Ninh Provincial Party Committee issued Directive No. 18-CT/TU and the Provincial People's Committee issued Decision 3633/QD-UBND on implementing Resolution 128 in the locality. On that basis, the Standing Board of the Party Committee of Quang Ninh Customs Department issued Directive No. 08-CT/DU to implement pandemic prevention and control in a flexible and effective manner.

“Based on the instructions of the Ministry of Health on pandemic prevention and control, Quang Ninh Customs Department issued a set of criteria to assess the level of safety in pandemic prevention so that the units could base on the actual situation to implement appropriate and effective pandemic prevention and control measures, associated with ensuring cargo clearance. Along with that, Quang Ninh Customs Department rebuilt a pandemic prevention and control plan to meet the requirements of the new situation in the direction of effective pandemic control following the spirit of safe adaptation and control. Since then, the units had reviewed customs procedures to both ensure pandemic prevention, while promoting trade, import and export activities, meeting the dual goals of the Government. By the end of October, Quang Ninh Customs Department handled procedures for 71,638 declarations of 1,159 enterprises with a total turnover of $10.3 billion, increasing by 33% in declarations, up 6% in enterprises, up 28% in terms of turnover compared to 2020," Deputy Director Trinh Van Nhuan said.

We left Quang Ninh, Hai Phong when the Covid-19 pandemic was still complicated. Together with the Party Committee, local authorities, the Customs force here continues to make efforts to ensure pandemic prevention and to clear the flow of import and export goods.

A customs officer of Hoanh Mo Customs Branch conducts physical inspection. Photo. Q. Hùng
Customs officers of Hoanh Mo Customs Branch conduct physical inspection. Photo. Q. Hùng

By Thái Bình-Quang Hùng/Thanh Thuy