According to Deputy Director of Lang Son Customs Department Nguyen Anh Tai, import and export activities through border gates in Lang Son province depend a lot on the border management policy of the Chinese side. In particular, China’s frequent changes in border management policies and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic have directly affected the export of goods through the province, especially agricultural products.
However, in the first four months of 2023, China loosened control measures to prevent and control the Covid-19 pandemic, import and export activities at border gates in Lang Son province have been restored to the level of the same period in 2022, especially for export agricultural products.
|A Customs officer inspects import and export goods at Tan Thanh border gate. Photo: Nguyen Thanh
Facing the above situation, Lang Son Customs has requested border-gate customs branches to boost administrative reform, run the electronic customs clearance system in association with the implementation of the “digital border gate platform”; promptly support and remove difficulties for enterprises; actively coordinate with other authorities in the area to carry out solutions to improve customs clearance capacity, create maximum convenience for exporting agricultural products through the province, organize channelization when there is congestion at the border gate to quickly release goods, minimize costs for businesses, Mr. Nguyen Anh Tai said.
Motivated by the efforts and positive solutions, exports achieved many remarkable results.
According to the statistics in 2022, the exports of agricultural products through the border gates of Lang Son province reached 1,796,522 tons in volume and US$1,105,683,484 in value and exported agricultural products were mainly dragon fruit, watermelon, litchi, jackfruit, mango, banana, durian and tapioca starch.
From early 2023, when China has loosened pandemic prevention measures, customs clearance capacity has increased significantly. Accordingly, by the end of April 30, 2023, the exports of agricultural products through Lang Son province rose 702.3% year-on-year to 888,158 tons, equivalent to a turnover of US$592,655,111.
Exports still face many difficulties and challenges
Despite the impact of the pandemic, import-export activities, especially the export of agricultural products through border gates in the area, still recorded relatively positive results.
From the early days of 2023, the Chinese side loosened Covid-19 pandemic control measures, normalized import and export activities, and helped improve the customs clearance capacity significantly.
However, according to Deputy Director General Nguyen Anh Tai, Lang Son province has only maintained customs clearance at five border gates. On the other hand, currently at Chi Ma and Coc Nam border gates, China has maintained control measures of only allowing Chinese cars to Vietnam to deliver import and export goods. This has greatly affected the customs clearance capacity throughout the province, including export of agricultural products.
|Mr. Nguyen Anh Tai, Deputy Director of Lang Son Customs Department speaks at the seminar. Photo:H.N
In addition, the China Customs’ Orders No. 248 and 249 in the field of import and export food safety management, tightening the food safety management process for imported goods into the Chinese market and strengthening control of foreign food production enterprises, have directly affected the export activities of agricultural products and fruits of Vietnam to this market. Especially, agricultural products and fruits that have not been in the Protocol on Plant Quarantine must be inspected 100%, prolonging the customs clearance time.
Mr. Nguyen Anh Tai said that Vietnam’s agricultural products and fresh fruits are mainly through Huu Nghi international border gate (46.16% in the first four months of 2023) and Tan Thanh (32.14% in the first four months of 2023), exports through other border gates account for a small rate, affecting the clearance capacity of agricultural products and fruits exported through the province. The amount of goods exported at the border gates is not even, leading to the risk of congestion at peak times of the year, especially during the main crop of some fruits such as lychee, dragon fruit, watermelon, mango.
In addition, facilities, infrastructure, warehouses, and places to gather import and export goods at border gates have not yet met the current import and export demand, which hinder agricultural export activities, especially at Huu Nghi international border gate and Dong Dang international railway station border gate, partly leading to congestion at peak times or main crop of agricultural products, fresh fruits of Vietnam exported to the Chinese market.
Mr. Nguyen Anh Tai said that China is still the largest and main export market for agricultural products through Lang Son province, so China’s often changes in management policies and delivery methods delivery for export goods have directly affected the customs clearance capacity for agricultural products through the province.
On the other hand, there are still traders exporting agricultural products through the province in the traditional form such as the trade in goods is done through oral agreement, without signing a contract and contacting with the receiver of the Chinese side in advance, etc., leading to the situation that goods arriving at the border gate are stuck and forced to return to Vietnam, causing waste of time and costs for enterprises.