Trade Ministry Proposes Changes to New Import Licensing System

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Sept. 23 – Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) has proposed changes to the new import licensing system that could limit the categories of imports that need to be registered and reduce trade deficit.

The current system,which took effect on Aug. 21, has been costing importers millions of dong.

Currently, all import license applications are processed at MIT’s Department of Documents in Hanoi.

The new import licensing regulation requires companies to obtain licenses to import items such as automobiles, motorbikes, machines, mobile phones, fruit, coffee, tea, cooking oil, meat, sugar, cocoa, vegetables and specific products made from iron, steel and aluminum.

The MIT’s proposes only items such as perfumes, essential oils, cosmetics, plastic and plastic products, pottery, china, glassware and electrical items must be licensed before they can be collected from customs.

Importers told Thanh Nien News that they have had to go to the licensing office in Hanoi three to 10 times to get a license, in addition to being required to apply for a new license for every batch of imported goods.

“It nearly kills us [vegetable and fruit importers] to wait for 10 days to obtain a license,” Doan Van L., director of a fruit importer in Lang Son, told Thanh Nien News.

Customs fees range from VND6 million (US$368.40) to VND8 million ($491.20) if goods are left at the port for more than 10 days.

The MIT Import and Export Department requires importers to submit six kinds of documents:an application for automatic import license, a business registration certificate, an import contract, a letter of credit, payment documents or bank payment certificates, a bill of loading or transport documents of goods, and reports on previous imports licensed by MIT together with customs declarations.

The MIT's new license issuing office in Ho Chi Minh City is scheduled to open by Oct. 1 to deal with blocked applications at MIT’s headquarters in Hanoi.