Strictly control import of sturgeon and ensure origin

VCN – Strictly control the import of sturgeon to Vietnam to ensure origin and belonging to the list that is allowed to operate in Vietnam
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On January 26, 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development issued Official Letter No. 580/BNN-TCTS on controlling imports of commercial sturgeon for use as food, including the request: "The Ministry of Finance directed Customs forces at key border gates, including Huu Nghi, Lao Cai, Mong Cai, Chi Ma and Ta Lung. strictly control the import of sturgeon to Vietnam to ensure the origin and belong to the List that allowed to operate business in Vietnam.”

Regarding this issue, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has directed the customs departments of provinces and cities to agree on implementation of the contents to ensure management.

Based on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and legal documents, imported sturgeon must have a CITES permit, including: Acipenser brevirostrum and Acipenser sturio in Appendix I of CITES are imported for non-commercial purposes; sturgeon species (except those specified in Annex I) in Appendix II of CITES.

Sturgeon species that are allowed to be traded in Vietnam, pursuant to Clause 2 Article 27 of the Law on Fisheries, Decree No. 26/2019/ND-CP dated March 8, 2019 of the Government detailing law enforcement of the Fisheries Law, sturgeon species are listed in the list of aquatic species allowed to trade in Vietnam issued together with Appendix VIII of this decree include: Beluga sturgeon (Huso huso), Russian sturgeon ( Acipenser gueldenstaedtii), Sterlet sturgeon (Acipenser ruthenus), Chinese sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis), and the Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baerii).

For import of sturgeon species that are not listed in the above-mentioned list for testing, scientific research, or display at fairs or exhibitions, a permit must be obtained from the Directorate of Fisheries.

Regarding aquatic animal quarantine and food safety inspection, pursuant to the Circular No. 26/2016/TT-BNNPTNT dated June 30, 2016 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development regulating the inspection of aquatic animals and animal products (as amended and supplemented by Circular 36/2018/TT-BNNPNT dated December 25, 2018), sturgeon is in the list of aquatic animals and animal products must be subject to veterinary when imported.

Pursuant to the Government's Decree No. 15/2018/ND-CP dated February 2, 2018 detailing the implementation of the Law on Food Safety, when sturgeon is used as food it is subject to food safety inspection when imported.

According to the guidance of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, sturgeon is banned from import in the following cases: imported sturgeon not for serving production or processing food under Directive No. 29/CT-TTg dated July 23, 2020 of the Prime Minister on urgent solutions for wildlife management; acipenser brevirostrum, Acipenser sturio (Acipenser sturio) under CITES Appendix I are imported for commercial purposes under the provisions of Decree No. 06/2014/ND-CP and not for producing and processing food products under Directive No. 29/CT-TTg; sturgeon is not in the List of aquatic species permitted to be traded in Vietnam, issued together with Decree No. 26/2019/ND-CP.

Regarding customs procedures for imported sturgeon, the General Department requested provincial customs departments to direct the customs branches to guide customs declarants to fully and accurately declare information criteria on the customs declaration in accordance with Appendix II issued together with Circular 38/2015/TT-BTC (amended and supplemented in Circular No. 39/2016/TT-BTC) and guiding documents of the General Department of Vietnam Customs and at the same time, send all documents included in the customs dossier through the customs electronic data processing system. In particular, notice that in the box of goods description, the full trade name, scientific name and the use purpose of the imported goods must be declared.

Regarding the customs dossier, in addition to documents specified in Article 16 of Circular No. 38/2015/TT BTC (as amended and supplemented in Circular No. 39/2018/TT-BTC), when carrying out import procedures of sturgeon for food production and processing and listed in the list of aquatic species permitted to be traded in Vietnam, customs declarants must submit documents to customs authorities such as: a valid CITES permit granted by CITES Management Authority of Vietnam - Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, food safety inspection and quarantine certificate issued by the Department of Animal Health under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs also instructs the units to check details of customs dossiers and conduct physical inspection (for red channel declaration) and process the inspection results.

By N.Linh/Thanh Thuy

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