Vietnam News Brief: Tariffs on Exported Plastic Bags, e-Government, and ASEAN-China FTA

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LOGO for reg briefIn this Vietnam Regulatory Brief, we look at some of the important regulatory changes taking place in Vietnam during the month of September, including tariffs on plastic bags, e-government programs, and the expansion of the ASEAN-China FTA.

  • No tariff relief for plastic bags exported to the U.S.

Vietnam’s Competition Authority has announced that tariffs, such as the countervailing duty (CVD) and other existing export duties, will continue to be imposed on plastic bags entering the United States. The U.S. is Vietnam’s 2nd largest export market for plastic products.

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The Ministry of Finance explained that the decision to keep the tariffs at the current levels was made after discussions with the U.S. Department of Commerce, which stated that revoking the CVD on plastic bags was likely to lead to a continuation or recurrence of countervailing subsidies.

The current tax rates for CVD are as follows:

  • 56 percent for Advance Polybag Co. Ltd
  • 28 percent for Fotai Vietnam Enterprise Corp. and Fotai Enterprise Corporation.
  • 28 percent for other Vietnamese exporters

Vietnamese plastic bag exporters are also subject to U.S. anti-dumping duties, which range from 52.3 percent to 76.11 percent.

  • e-Government programs expanded

Vietnam is continuing to expand its use of e-government programs. The country’s goal is to be among the top four nations in the UN E-Government Readiness Index by 2016, and among the top three by 2017. Currently, Vietnam ranks 99th out of 193 countries, and fifth among ASEAN countries

In order to meet these goals, the government has been issuing a number of resolutions aimed at improving e-governance, these include:

  • Boosting the development of e-government
  • Enhancing the quality and efficiency of state agencies to better serve the public and enterprises
  • Making state agencies’ activities on the internet more transparent
  • Promoting the application of IT in management activities

This has included such measures as Circular No. 110/2015/TT-BTC on electronic transactions in tax administration, which will come into effect on September 10, 2015. Under the law, all types of enterprises will be required to carry out electronic tax procedures with local tax agencies, including tax registration, filing, payment and refunds.

Other recent measures include:

  • A national one-door customs mechanism (which aims to reduce customs clearance time from 21 to 14 days for exports and 13 days for imports, and bring down costs by 10-20% percent)
  • Reducing the time involved with paying taxes (dropping from 537 to 247 hours per year)
  • ASEAN-China Seek Expansion of their FTA

As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam stands to benefit from the recent announcement that ASEAN and China expect to complete their negotiations on an expanded free trade agreement (FTA) by November of this year. The announcement was made on August 23 during the 47th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Economic Ministers’ Meeting. During the recent gathering, the economic ministers of the ASEAN nations met with China’s Minister of Commerce, Gao Hucheng.

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The original ASEAN-China FTA was enacted in 2010, the agreement aims to eliminate import-export tariffs and other barriers on over 90 percent of all products traded between China and the ASEAN member states.

The goals of the expansion of the current FTA include the further reduction of tariffs and the addition of new provisions on trade in services, investment, economic cooperation, customs procedures and trade facilitation, and rules of origin. In addition, the ministers also discussed the building of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and eight measures proposed by China to strengthen bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

To see more of Vietnam FTAs and other trade agreements, please see here. To see ASEAN’s other agreements please see here.


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