HANOI, July 26, 2017 – With the launch of a new trade information portal, the Government of Vietnam is lowering trade costs, decreasing the time required to do business and easing border cooperation when moving goods and services in and out the country. With the support of the World Bank Group, the portal is also expected to contribute towards increased trade and investment.
The main objective of the Vietnam Trade Information Portal is to make it easier for traders and investors to comply with regulatory requirements associated with the import and export of goods. The portal is a major reform, which helps Vietnam comply with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Access to information and understanding of the required regulatory procedures to import and export is a major barrier to the private sector, especially for smaller firms and new market entrants.
“The establishment of this trade portal forms a key part of the World Bank Group's new Country Partnership Framework to help ensure that Vietnam can make the most of the opportunities provided by international trade,” said Sebastian Eckardt, World Bank acting country director for Vietnam.
The trade portal is a web-based database system, which makes all cross-border trade regulatory information available at a stroke of a key. The information includes all laws, prohibitions, restrictions, technical standards, the entire commodity classification and tariffs, all procedures for license and permit application and clearance, copies of all forms, and plain language instructions. This includes a total of 760 laws/decrees/circulars, 301 measures, 365 procedures, and 337 forms.
The trade portal also enables traders to see, in response to a single query, all the obligations they need to comply with to import or export a specific good. It was developed in response to a request by the Government of Vietnam through the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC).
“With the launch of the Vietnam Trade Information Portal, we hope that the business community and other stakeholders will have a useful tool that will enable them to find the necessary information required for the facilitation of import - export activities. The Ministry of Finance, as the leading agency in the implementation of the WTO TFA, is committed to working closely with government agencies, the private sector and international organizations to ensure the sustainability of the portal and the country’s commitment to transparency,” said Dinh Tien Dung, Minister of Finance.
The development of the Vietnam Trade Information Portal was supported by the World Bank Group’s Trade Facilitation Support Program, a global facility that helps countries align their trade practices with the WTO TFA, which entered into force in February 2017. The TFA spearheads a global effort to reduce trade costs, helping countries to connect to regional and global markets. This is particularly relevant for low-income countries who face costs that are on average three times higher than those of advanced economies.
The support was matched by technical assistance provided by the GDVC and many trade-related agencies across the Government of Vietnam who played a critical part in the development of the portal.
“Making all of Vietnam’s regulatory requirements for importing and exporting available to the private sector in an easily accessible, transparent and searchable format, is a key step forward towards a simpler, faster and lower-cost investment climate,” said Duc Minh Pham, World Bank senior economist.
The portal also provides a useful tool for legislators and policymakers to identify the complexity of current regulations and procedures when applied to commodities and to suggest areas of modernization and simplification. The portal can then be used to monitor the process of simplification.
“With the wealth of information and knowledge, the portal will help trading companies both inside and outside Vietnam to understand and comply with the rules and regulations governing international trade with the country. This will help save both time and money, reduce error and improve transparency and transaction times,” said George Berczely, Country Manager at DHL Express Vietnam.
The Vietnam Trade Information Portal is part of the Bank Group’s efforts to help support sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in Vietnam. It is an important first step towards establishing a more streamlined and simpler regulatory framework for trade.