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Shortcomings in quarantine of imported seafood to be abolished in second quarter

08:55 | 21/02/2022

VCN – Under the direction of the Government, as well as the recognition of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the shortcomings in specialized inspection for imported frozen seafood products will soon be removed, creating favorable conditions to help enterprises resume production and export activities.

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Frozen seafood imported by air. Photo: T.Hoa
Frozen seafood imported by air. Photo: T.Hoa

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), facing problems related to the quarantine of imported seafood, Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh requested the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to urgently review and amend rules according to its competence or propose competent authorities to amend legal documents in the second quarter of 2022 to abolish regulations on quarantine for frozen processed seafood used as imported foods for production and processing of export products which are not for domestic consumption.

In addition, to create favorable conditions for businesses, the Deputy Prime Minister also required the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to review and reduce imported goods subject to quarantine, especially those that must undergo both quarantine and food safety inspection, as well as quality inspection according to the principles of risk management, prioritized channelizing and mutual recognition, ensuring consistency with the Law on Food Safety, the Law on Quality quantity of products and goods as described in Resolution 68/NQ-CP in 2020 and Resolution 01/NQ-CP in 2022.

On January 13, 2022, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development sent an official dispatch to notify the handling results of VASEP's recommendations. It clearly states that, in the second quarter of 2022, this Ministry will issue a circular amending Circular 26/2016/TT-BNNPTNT in the direction of not quarantining frozen processed seafood products used as imported food for production and processing of export goods.

Regarding the proposal on removing quarantine regulations for imported processed seafood products for domestic consumption that are assessed as having no risk of spreading aquatic diseases into Vietnam (processed seafood in the form of frozen or dry goods used as food for human consumption), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said it issued Circular 11/2021/BNNPTNT on the HS code schedule managed by the ministry.

Accordingly, processed aquatic products such as heated, dried, smoked, chemically treated, salted, fermented, etc. have been removed from the list of goods subject to quarantine.

Regarding the proposal on digitalizing import quarantine procedures to update them on the National Single Window Portal and not requiring paper documents, the ministry said enterprises are not required to submit paper documents.

Instead, organizations and individuals can choose ways to send documents such as public postal service; email, fax then send the original through the National Single Window Portal. Currently, all aquatic quarantine procedures have been deployed on the National Portal.

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The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development added that in the plan to develop legal documents in 2022, the ministry directed relevant agencies to amend and supplement Circular 26/2016, Circular 36/2018 and Circular 11/2021 on quarantine for imported seafood.

According to businesses, under the drastic direction of the Government, as well as the recognition of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the shortcomings in specialized inspection for imported frozen seafood products will be removed, creating favorable conditions for enterprises to resume production and export.

The above shortcomings existed for the past six years and have not been reviewed and revised according to the Government's resolutions on the implementation of key tasks and solutions to improve the business environment and national competitiveness as well as Decree 85/2019/ND-CP dated November 14, 2019 stipulating the implementation of administrative procedures under the national single window, ASEAN single window and specialized inspection for import and export goods.

As reflected by businesses, state inspection of imported aquatic products is carried out in accordance with the provisions of Circulars on quarantine of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, including Circular 26/2016, Circular 36/2018 and Circular 11/2021 are not true to the nature of this inspection activity for processed aquatic products used as food.

The list of goods subject to "quarantine" according to the provisions of the three circulars mentioned above is very wide. Imported containers are subject to 100% inspection (documentation, sensory inspection) no matter the purpose of import (export processing, or domestic consumption) and what history they have; and the sampling is applied when there is doubt about goods imported for export production and 20% of imported goods for domestic consumption.

By Le Thu/ Huyen Trang