The National Assembly passed the Foreign Trade Management Law on June 12, 2017, and it will come into effect on January 1, 2018. In order to raise the awareness of organisations and individuals about this Law, the Legal Department, Ministry of Industry and Trade, has coordinated with the European Trade and Investment Policy Assistance (EU-MUTRAP) project to hold a conference on “Dissemination of the Foreign Trade Management Law in 2017 and introduction of principles and guiding documents” in Ho Chi Minh City.

Mr Nguyen Sinh Nhat Tan, Director of Legal Department, said that in the past years, Vietnam has continuously improved its policy and legal instruments to improve the foreign trade management under the global integration. The State management of foreign trade has become increasingly tight, smooth, transparent, and more effective. However, the reality is that in State policies in this area, many incomplete points and inadequacies remain, such as too many legal normative documents and regulations on foreign trade management, leading to lack of concentration and consistency. The absence of specific regulations, leading to the stabilisation of trade remedies, is not high enough. In order to overcome these inadequacies, the Law on Foreign Trade Management, which has been passed by the National Assembly, officially comes into force on January 1, 2018. This law includes 8 chapters and 113 articles regulating the foreign trade management and development.

In order to implement the Law in a timely, consistent and effective manner, the Government has also assigned the Ministry of Industry and Trade to draft five decrees, one of which will replace Decree 19/2006 / ND-CP on goods of origin. According to the representative of the Import-Export Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the highlight of this new decree is to allow enterprises to self-certify the origin of goods (self declaration of origin of goods exported on commercial invoice instead of C/O form D) to enjoy preferential tariffs. While Decree 19/2006/ND-CP only specifies the type of certificates of origin is a document issued by the organisation in the country or territory of export of goods and there are no regulations on self-certification of the origin of goods to enjoy the preferential tariff.

Director Nguyen Sinh Nhat Tan said the form of self-certification of origin is being piloted in the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) and implemented in some new FTAs signed and concluded in some trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and the Vietnam-EU FTA Agreement. Since the end of 2016, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has implemented the programme of self-certification of origin under the commitments in the ASEAN Agreement on Trade in Goods, but so far, only two units, namely Vinamilk and Nestlé Vietnam, have participated in it. The mechanism of self-certification of origin of goods will greatly reduce the administrative procedures, facilitate enterprises in business activities and importing and exporting activities. Instead of spending time, the enterprises can now self-certify their origin (C/O) form D for export goods. Therefore, Mr Tan expressed his expectation that in the coming time, more enterprises will boldly register their own certificates of origin to make full use of incentives as well as minimise procedures for enterprises, creating benefits in trading and exporting goods.

Compared with Decree 19/2006/ND-CP, the new Decree also has many changes in the procedures for issuance of C/O. It is notable that the combination of C/O preferential procedures and non-preferential C/O from two different circulars into a common procedure to unify the management and facilitate enterprises to follow up the procedures when applying for C/O. Enterprises are encouraged to declare the C/O application dossiers via the Internet and fully participate in the C/O issuance process via the Internet with a dossier-review time of 6 working hours, shorter than those submitted by enterprises. The direct application processing time is 8 working hours and sent to the enterprise within one working day.

Also in the dossier of request for C/O, the written certification issued by the local authority of the locality where the raw materials and goods are produced has been removed and replaced by the declaration of origin of the producer or the suppliers of raw materials or goods made in Vietnam in case the raw materials are used for the next stage to produce another commodity. “This regulation requires the exporter of goods to associate with the local producer/supplier to understand the origin of the material when added.”This helps the C/O agencies and organisations collect more basis for conducting post-inspection, minimizing risks of fraudulent enterprises, and using domestically-purchased raw materials without reaching their origin but still adding up to 100 per cent of the raw value to the final value of the finished product, thereby preventing the risk of originating fraud on finished products,” emphasized the representative of the Import-Export Department, Ministry of Industry and Trade.