Vietnam’s Product Self-Certification Pilot Scheme Explained
By: Dezan Shira & Associates
Editors: Phuong Anh Le, Dustin Daugherty
Circular No. 28/2015/TT-BTC, which was released in August 20 2015 and officially came into effect on October 5 2015 by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, describes the pilot project number two on allowing merchants to self-certify their products’ origin in ASEAN when exporting to four countries ASEAN member states – namely Laos, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. This is referred as the pilot self-certificate project 2 (SC2) where the first one, SC1, has been in effect from 2010 and it includes Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.
The pilot scheme serves as an important indicator of Vietnam’s loosening trade regime, and increasing integration into the regional trade framework. With the addition of these four ASEAN countries to the scheme, only Cambodia and Myanmar remain as export destinations to which Vietnamese and foreign traders operating in Vietnam cannot self-certify outbound goods.
Self-certification of product origin (C/O) means traders may declare the origins of exported goods on their commercial invoice instead of C/O form D. Merchants who wish to participate in these self-certification projects must meet all of the following criteria:
- The trader is the producer and also the exporter of goods they produce;
- The trader does not commit violations against regulations on goods origin over the last two years prior to the date of application;
- Export turnover to ASEAN under C/O form D in the preceding year was at least US $10,000,000;
- At least one employee of the merchant has completed a training course in goods origin certification by a training institution appointed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Merchants who meet all of the above criteria are eligible to submit registration documents via mail to the Import and Export Department of Ministry of Industry and Trade if they want to participate in the pilot portion of the product origin self-certification project. The Import and Export Department of Ministry of Industry and Trade will issue authorization with the self-certification code and list of self-certifiable products after processing all application documents as required below:
- An application form to express interest in participating in self-certification pilot project in ASEAN (the form in Appendix I enclosed with the Circular) which includes the names of products for which the trader wants to self-certify their origins – one original document
- Name and signature of the legal representative of the trader or the authorized person who obtained the training certificates in goods origin certification (enclosed with one photocopy version bearing the authentication and the trader’s seal) on the invoice declaration – one original document
- A report on manufacturing capacity according to the form in Appendix II of this Circular – one original document;
- The Business Registration Certificate, the Enterprise Registration Certificate, or the Investment Certificate – one verified copy (bearing the authentication and seal of the trader);
- A report of export to ASEAN countries with the issued C/O form D of the previous year – one original document (verified by the C/O issuer).
According to Article 10 of Circular No. 28/2015/TT-BTC, it is important for merchants to note that their self-certification ability can be removed by the government at any time if the merchants:
- Create forged document or forging details on an existing document when asking for participating in the self-certificate project;
- Create false documents to self-certify product origin;
- Do not fulfill their responsibility as outlined in Article 11 of the Circular. These responsibilities include (but not limited to):
- Storing all documents related to self-certificate process for at least three years from the point of self-certifying.
- Ensuring that the legal merchant’s representative, who is authorized to sign on these self-certificates, must have completed self-certificate training course
- Sending all self-certified product information to the Ministry of Industry and Trade in the first week of every month
- Informing the Ministry of Industry and Trade about any commercial invoice that has product origin declaration which is rejected by the importing country.
Being able to self-certify product origin under this pilot scheme will bring tangible benefits to foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) operating in Vietnam. It will save time by allowing traders to avoid the lengthy certification approval process with the Ministry of Industry and Trade. More importantly, it will help businesses saves costs by avoiding the certification fees charged by the ministry, and it is an example of Vietnam’s increasing regional integration into ASEAN, on the eve of the coming of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and accompanying reduction in trade barriers.
For further additional on Vietnam’s self-certification regulations and how they can benefit foreign investors in the country, as well as other aspects relating regional tax treaties and trade facilitation incentives, please contact the specialists at Dezan Shira & Associates in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City for further consultation.
Asia Briefing Ltd. is a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. Dezan Shira is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Singapore and the rest of ASEAN. For further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.dezshira.com.
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