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Seafood enterprise proposes to issue electronic C/O

20:00 | 09/09/2021

VCN - Discovering many inadequacies in C/O issuance, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade to support enterprises to carry out procedures of granting electronic C/O (e-C/O) and mechanism for accepting scanned e-C/O of other countries.

Granting C/O at VCCI. Photo: H.Dịu
Granting C/O at VCCI. Photo: H.Dịu

Currently, in the context of the pandemic, many provinces and cities across the country, especially in HCM City and 18 southern provinces, are having to apply social distancing measures following the direction of the Government.

Many public services have changed working to online and submit the original later to ensure the goal of no contact, prioritizing the fight against the pandemic while maintaining necessary procedures for production and export. Many services and activities have been affected, especially the delivery service is interrupted or temporarily suspended.

Despite facing many difficulties, seafood exporters in particular and export enterprises in general still try to maintain production to complete export orders under the signed contracts.

The necessary documents and dossiers of export shipments, including the Certificate of Food Hygiene and Safety (C/H), and C/O, still have to be fully prepared by different methods.

Currently, the C/H has been electronically issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development since July 2021 and has an official letter issued dated August 25, 2021 requesting the importing countries to approve the scanned copy of C/H for the shipment in the current context of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the C/O paper still has to use the original version to send to the customer and then the customer uses it for picking up goods or making related payments. Domestic C/O issuance is also very difficult for businesses due to restricted travel between localities that apply social distancing.

Due to travel restrictions, when submitting a C/O, firms must wait to receive the C/O. However, the waiting time will depend on the officer who processes the document. For paper C/O, when printed, the director of the enterprise must sign, stamp, then bring it to the Import-Export Management Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade or the local offices of VCCI, even though the enterprise has declared all information through the online system. After receiving the dossier, the C/O issuing officer shall sign the C/O, then the C/O will be considered approved.

According to VASEP, recently, predicting that the effects of the pandemic will be prolonged, some countries have established e-C/O issuance systems and this system will be connected to customs systems of importing countries. When the enterprise submits e-C/O, customs authorities of all countries can check the C/O number to see if it has been issued. This is very convenient for businesses to avoid travel to limit the spread of the disease.

In order to facilitate seafood businesses to use the scanned C/O and be approved by the authorities of other countries, it can both solve the inadequacies in the current Covid-19 context, VASEP proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade to consider to support and send a document to the authorities of other countries to approve the scanned copy (sent via email) of the C/O issued by units of Industry and Trade and VCCI.

Allow to unify the C/O issuance process as follows: businesses fill out the C/O form and scan relevant documents via the online system and all accompanying documents (as before), then sending a color scanned copy of C/O (with signature of business director and stamp) to the Import-Export Management Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade or VCCI, then the C/O issuer will send a scanned copy of the approved C/O to the enterprise. The firm will use this copy to send to customers in importing countries.

In the long term, VASEP proposed that the Ministry of Industry and Trade should consider establishing a mechanism and agreement with countries issuing e-C/O instead of the current paper version. At the same time, expanding the self-certification mechanism so that a larger number of enterprises can be self-certified.

By Lê Thu/Thanh Thuy