Eurocham not happy with new regulations on liquor import

Published: 30/05/2011 05:00



Eurocham, in the letters sent to Minister of Finance, Vu Van Ninh and Minister of Industry and Trade, Vu Huy Hoang, wrote that the application of new restrictions on the import of 100 consumer goods is the violation of the regulations in international trade. Meanwhile, Vietnamese officials have denied this.

Eurocham’s Chair Alain Cany.

Several days ago, the Ministry of Industry and Trade proposed to apply some limitations in order to restrict the imports of 100 consumer goods to Vietnam, including liquor. The Ministry of Finance has released a legal document stipulating in details the limitations in an effort to restrict liquor imports.

Eurocham’s Chair Alain Cany believes that the new regulations will not only badly affect Vietnam’s liquor industry, but also violates the implementation of the regulations in international trade.

Eurocham said that by restricting the number of ports through which imports can go through, Vietnam will violate the provisions stipulated in the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade GATT. The restrictions could be seen as a technical barrier to trade liberalization and thus, violating the agreements on technical barriers in trade.

Also according to Eurocham, the fact that Vietnam unilaterally has proposed to raise the import tariffs to the highest possible levels of WTO/MFN (World Trade Organization/ most favored nation status), may violate bilateral agreements signed between Vietnam and its partners.

Amcharm has also drawn the government of Vietnam’s attention to the tariffs under the WTO commitments, saying that the tariffs on liquor imports will be 45 percent by 2013, and this can be implemented step by step, annually, commencing from January 1, of the first year of the WTO admission. The tariff on liquor has been eased from 65 percent to 51 percent, and any move of raising tariffs will violate the commitments on reducing tax gradually.

The proposal to extend the time for granting certificates on meeting imports quality, restrict the cargo transportation in order to restrict international trade, according to Eurocham, will violate some international duties; including the agreements on sanitary and phytosanitary measures, or free trade agreements (FTA). Regarding the proposal by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to force importers-exporters to label goods before exporting; according to Eurocham, would be very difficult to be implemented while this would create a new trade barrier.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Nguyen Thanh Bien on May 26, confirmed with Saigon Tiep Thi newspaper that his ministry has received the letter from Eurocham.

However, Bien has affirmed that the new measures on liquor imports management do not break the commitments made by Vietnam when joining WTO, or violate the bilateral agreements Vietnam has signed.

Bien went on to say that he still cannot arrange a meeting with Eurocham for an open dialogue. “The ministry will make public about that after the discussion,” he said.

On the effort to restrict the imports of liquor products and cosmetics by restricting the number of ports for goods clearance, Bien admitted that he knows well that enterprises want to use different ways to import goods, but the Ministry of Industry and Trade, as a management agency, needs to ensure the benefits and duties of all involved parties.

I know that mobile phones go to Vietnam by both air and sea, but we do not encourage importing by air,” he said.

Dau tu has quoted its sources as reporting that the EU has expressed its worries about the measures Vietnam is applying to restrict imports. The EU believes that it would be better for Vietnam to boost exports to narrow the trade gap, rather than applying the measures to restrict imports.

Eurocham has said that its latest survey shows that European enterprises have less optimism about doing business in Vietnam than in previous years.

C. V

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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