|Chi Ma Border Gate (Lang Son province). Photo: H.Nụ|
Pilot from October 1st, 2021
Herbal ingredients are traditional and key products imported through Chi Ma border gate for nearly 30 years (since the 1990s). Statistics showed that, in 2015, imports of this item totalled 34,000 tons, worth $14.2 million; over 7,000 tons was imported in 2016, worth $9.7 million; in 2017 about 8,000 tons, worth $12.7 million, accounting for 27% of the total import turnover through Chi Ma border gate ($46.9 million). State and enterprises, Vietnam – China invested in warehouse infrastructure to serve the imports and exports of this item.
Accordingly, Lang Son province has synchronously invested in infrastructure: roads, electricity and water, working office of specialized management forces with a total investment of over VND320 billion from the state budget.
Currently, the border gate area has seven terminals and yards that have been recognized by the General Department of Vietnam Customs as a place for gathering, inspecting and supervising import and export goods and four bonded warehouses, meeting the needs of storage and preservation of imported herbal ingredients. Here, the Center for Drugs, Cosmetics and Food Testing under the Lang Son Department of Health has also met the requirements for human resources and equipment to ensure the testing and quality control of samples.
However, from July 1, 2017, when Decree 54/2017/ND-CP took effect, stipulating that medicines and medicinal ingredients cannot be imported through the Chi Ma – Ai Diem border gate, it was only imported through international border gates. And from that time until now, Vietnamese enterprises have to carry out procedures to import herbal ingredients through Huu Nghi international border gate, which means that the transportation costs of Chinese enterprises from Ai Diem border gate to Huu Nghi international border gate increased. This regulation has put off many businesses in carrying out import procedures for this item in Lang Son area, but moving to other areas such as Cao Bang, Quang Ninh, and even carrying out import procedures through the sea route.
Meanwhile, the anti-smuggling tasks of the competent forces in Lang Son for this item also became more intensive. Many cases of transporting and smuggling herbal ingredients with quantities of up to hundreds of tons have been revealed. It showed that the rate of importing herbal ingredients paying full tax not only decreased but the smuggling of this item has increased. In order to continue to facilitate enterprises to do business as well as reduce the illegal imports of herbal ingredients, at many meetings with state leaders, Lang Son province proposed to pilot the import of herbal ingredients through a pair of bilateral border gates Chi Ma – Ai Diem. Lang Son province said that if herbal ingredients are imported through Chi Ma border gate, it would help the import and export turnover of goods through this border gate increase; reduce pressure on anti-smuggling work and ensure the quality of goods delivered to consumers.
On that basis, on September 23, 2021, the Government issued Resolution No. 111/NQ-CP on the implementation of the pilot project to import herbal ingredients through the Chi Ma bilateral border gate, Lang Son province, from October 1, 2021.
Prepare for the new schedule
Lang Son province has taken the initiative in plans to ensure that the importation of this item takes place smoothly, safely and in accordance with regulations. Lang Son Customs Department is urgently building software to manage the quality standards of herbal ingredients allowed to be imported.
Chi Ma border gate Customs Branch (Lang Son Customs Department) is actively coordinating with Border Defence force, Quarantine forces, and Border Gate Management Authority, enterprises operating terminals and yards to develop a plan in order to ensure strict control of the quality and types of imported goods, prevent smuggling and trade fraud for this item.
The Border Defence Force proactively upgraded the electronic vehicle management software to facilitate the registration of vehicles, drivers transporting imported herbal ingredients into the border gate area. At the same time, continuing to maintain the “Green channel” for import and export activities.
As for the Plant Quarantine force, the work of researching the pest components for strict management and facilitating smooth operation and speed for enterprises in the process of carrying out procedures is also being implemented.
Not only the management agencies, but the yard enterprises also actively complete conditions to ensure that the yards and warehouses meet the requirements for goods preservation.
A representative of the Border Gate Management Center, under the Dong Dang – Lang Son Border Economic Authority, said that the unit has communicated to enterprises engaged in import and export activities. At the same time, developed a specific plan to submit to the Provincial People’s Committee for approval of the pandemic prevention plan, conditions to meet the warehouse.
According to a representative of Lang Son Customs Department, the Government’s permission to run the pilot program on imports of herbal ingredients through Chi Ma border gate will help increase the turnover of goods through this border gate.
In addition, the permission to import herbal ingredients through Chi Ma border gate is an important premise for exchange and negotiation with China so that some agricultural, aquatic and seafood products of Vietnam could be exported to China, from that maximize the potential of this bilateral border gate. In particular, the Vietnamese side’s permission to import herbal ingredients would open up the export of Vietnam’s herbal ingredients to China.
At the inspection of the import and export situation of goods through Chi Ma border gate on September 25, Mrs. Doan Thu Ha, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Lang Son province asked the authorities and competent forces to urgently advise the province to promulgate the plan and process in order to implement the pilot project on importing herbal ingredients through Chi Ma border gate following the spirit of Resolution No. 111/NQ-CP dated September 23, 2021 of the Government.
Ha also requested, during the implementation process, they must ensure all conditions of infrastructure, equipment, and forces; establish a coordination mechanism between management agencies and units to ensure quality control of imported herbal ingredients; perform anti-smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit prevention.
Therefore, the Government’s permission to pilot the import of herbal ingredients through Chi Ma border gate is a good sign for Lang Son as well as the import-export business community, especially now spacious infrastructure has been set up, convenient transportation, culture, society, security and national defense are guaranteed.