Vietnam: Exporters Need to Self-Certify the Origin of Goods Exported to the EU
From January 2019, Vietnamese exporters exporting goods to the European Union (EU) need to self-verify their product origin, if they want to qualify for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the tariff preference for developing countries.
This would shift the responsibility for self-certification from the Import and Export Agency which is under the Ministry of Industry and Trade to the exporters, which will increase the exporter’s liability for authenticity. From 2019, exporters have to issue their own Certificate of Origin (C/O) by adding, “this product is qualified for GSP” in their invoices and documents.
Benefits of self-certification
This transition mandated by the EU will shift the responsibilities to the exporters, which will reduce the administrative burden and risk for government agencies. In addition, this will also streamline the overall process, reducing unnecessary cost and delays.
With respect to the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement, self-certification will ensure that domestic firms are updated about the rules of origin commitments and help them in qualifying for preferential tariff treatment.
The 2,700 Vietnamese firms that currently qualify for GSP and export goods to the EU would require government support to ensure a smooth transition towards self-certification. The government is planning to organize events and seminars to train exporters in self-certification of goods. In addition, they are also working on a circular that would guide firms exporting goods to the EU. Once the circular has been finalized, the government will work closely with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and other provincial agencies to provide extensive training for exporters.
During the transition phase, if firms are unable to self-certify their goods, they can apply for an origin certificate from the VCCI and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, as they do now. Nevertheless, exporters should ensure that they can self-certify their goods by early 2019 to mitigate unnecessary cost and delays. In case, there are issues in determining the origin of goods or firms during trade, Vietnamese government agencies will provide the necessary information so that firms can work with the EU authorities in ensuring that their exports meet the necessary conditions.