|Officials of Tan Thanh Customs Branch guide enterprises to pack agricultural products according to the regulations of their partners. Photo: H.Nu|
Performance is limited
According to the People’s Committee of Lang Son province, although China has relaxed measures to prevent and control the pandemic, up to now, Lang Son province still only maintains customs clearance of goods at 5 border gates, including Huu Nghi, Tan Thanh and Chi Ma, Coc Nam, Dong Dang international intermodal station. Moreover, the remaining auxiliary border gates and border markets have not been restored, leading to the efficiency of goods clearance through border gates in Lang Son province reaching about 75% compared to the time before the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, Lang Son province is actively negotiating and proposing the Chinese side coordinate in reopening the secondary border gate, a pair of border markets that have been closed for nearly 3 years.
Preliminary statistics from Lang Son Customs Department show that, by the end of March 14, border-gate customs units have received and processed 23,985 sets of import-export declarations with a turnover of US$622,446 million, up 54.5% over the same period in 2022. The number of export declarations registered by enterprises with 10,560 sets of declarations was worth 284,386 million USD, an increase of 348.9% over the same period in 2022. However, on the import side, with 13,425 sets of declarations worth USD 338,060 million, down 0.5% compared to the same period in 2022.
Talking to reporters, Hoang Khanh Duy, Deputy Head of the Management Board of Dong Dang – Lang Son border gate economic zone, said that from January 8, import-export and import-export activities follow the traditional method at Huu Nghi border gate, Tan Thanh has been gradually restored, helping the number of vehicles to be cleared for customs clearance to reach approximately 1,000 vehicles per day. However, this number did not increase as strongly as expected, partly because the demand for goods exchange between the two sides decreased after the Lunar New Year, partly because goods from Vietnam to China are still subject to inspection and supervision quite closely.
However, as recorded at the border gate area, currently, the number of vehicles carrying import and export goods from the inland to the border gate area of the two countries Vietnam – China is increasing, potentially causing congestion at the border gate. In particular, when restoring the traditional delivery method, the number of vehicles that do not have to return goods (Chinese cars) at the Huu Nghi international border gate also increased, causing congestion in the barie area. During the exit process to China, Hoang Khanh Duy emphasized.
Company representative Le Nguyen Lang Son shared, at this time, the export of agricultural products to China has been much more convenient. This is because goods transported to the border gates in the province are facilitated and handled by the authorities to complete customs clearance procedures within a day, and the inventory at the end of the day is very small. However, compared to when there was no pandemic, the customs clearance efficiency of enterprises was only about 50-60%. This also greatly limits the business plan and development of enterprises.
Need to quickly restore sub-border gates
Although the Lang Son authorities create maximum convenience for import-export activities in the area to further strengthen the customs clearance capacity, many opinions say that Lang Son province needs to promote exchanges and meetings with China at all levels to ease pandemic prevention and control measures removing conditions on testing; restore the sub-gateway; extending the working time of functional forces at border gates.
According to Tran Thi Hang, a Thai Viet Trung Transport Joint Stock Company representative, reopening the auxiliary border gate helps import and export activities of agricultural, forestry and fishery products faster because the main border gates, such as Tan Thanh and Huu Nghi are reduced. Besides, when the border gate reopens, the loading docks will be restarted, helping to create jobs and reduce traffic jams when the demand from China increases.
Emphasizing this issue, Hoang Khanh Duy said that Lang Son province has repeatedly asked the Chinese side to restore all the auxiliary border gates due to the great exchange demand between the two sides. Lang Son also emphasized to the Chinese side that human resources and infrastructure at all sub-border gates are ready and can be operated immediately if customs clearance is restored. Specifically, at the exchange and discussion held on February 10, the Lang Son side proposed to the Chinese side to reopen the Binh Nghi, Na Hinh and Po Nhung sub-border gates to improve the customs clearance capacity of goods. Through the meeting, the Chinese side said it is reviewing and submitting to the competent authorities for approval to restore the operation of the auxiliary border gates. Accordingly, as soon as the competent authority approves, the Chinese side will inform again.
According to Hoang Khanh Duy, the Management Board of Dong Dang – Lang Son border gate economic zone expects to pilot many options for import and export activities at border gates soon, promoting the early implementation of the “model border gate” model at the Huu Nghi – Huu Nghi Quan border gate. At the same time, the parties effectively operate the “green channel” to quickly clear agricultural products at the Tan Thanh – Po Chai border gate.
To prepare for the meeting between the Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee of Lang Son (Vietnam) and the Secretary of the Party Committee of Guangxi (China) expected to occur soon, Deputy Director of the Lang Son Customs Department Nguyen Anh Tai said. According to Lang Son Customs, leaders of Lang Son province should request the Chinese side to soon resume import-export activities at border gates and border markets of Na Hinh, Binh Nghi, Na Nua, Ban Chot, and Po Nung, Co Sau. At the same time, the Guangxi side needs to create a separate channel for imported cars and means of transport through the Lang Son border gate to create favourable conditions for businesses.
In particular, Lang Son Customs proposed that the leaders of Lang Son province request the Chinese side to report to their superiors to promote the early signing of the Protocol to add more fruit and agricultural products of Vietnam to export through Vietnam. In addition, Tan Thanh, Chi Ma and Coc Nam border gates, such as sweet potatoes, chilli, pomelo, na, fresh seafood, fine art furniture are exported to the Chinese market.