(VCN)- The assessment of sturgeon is an important factor to determine the species of permitted to be traded in Vietnam. However, there are still a lot of problems arising that make it difficult for Customs authorities to clear goods.
|Sturgeon smuggled from China was seized in Lao Cai. Photo: General Department of Market Surveillance|
Regarding the import of sturgeon, on January 26, 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development issued Official Letter No. 580/BNN-TCTS on controlling the import of commercial sturgeon for food.
In particular, 8 of 11 samples collected in some markets such as Yen So- Hanoi, Binh Dien were unsuitable for the species of sturgeon permitted for business in Vietnam according to the provisions of Decree No. 26/2019/ND-CP dated March 8, 2019 of the Government detailing a number of articles and enforcement measures of Law on Fisheries, including: Beluga sturgeon (Huso huso), Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii), Sterlet sturgeon (Acipenser ruthenus), Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis) and Chinese sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis).
As a result, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development proposed that the Ministry of Finance strictly control the origin of imported sturgeon to Vietnam which must satisfy the specifications of the permitted business list in Vietnam.
In order to ensure that the imported goods are in accordance with the declared contents on the customs declaration form and the CITES License issued, to prevent sturgeon that are not in accordance with the CITES License and are not on the List of permitted business in Vietnam. At the same time, to strictly control imported sturgeon products at the request of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and solve the difficulties and problems, the Ministry of Finance issued an official letter to the Ministry of Finance. Version No. 13797/BTC-TCHQ dated December 2, 2021, recommends the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development consider guiding the handling of problems arising from imported sturgeon.
The customs clearance is done when imported sturgeon fully met imported requirements of specialized agencies and are consistent with the declared content on the customs declaration, the issued CITES License and belongs to the List of aquatic species permitted to be traded in Vietnam.
Accordingly, the General Department of Customs has issued official dispatches directing local customs units to carry out inspection, control and assessment measures for shipments of sturgeon imported from China.
However, there are a number of inadequacies in the process of sampling and coordinating with units in the inspection of imported sturgeon.
On May 14, 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development issued Official Letter No. 2788/BNN-TCTS providing information on units and organizations to inspect imported sturgeon. Specifically, for the aquatic sector, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has appointed the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources and the Seafood Research Institute to take samples and assess the specimens.
Accordingly, Customs has coordinated with the two institutes mentioned above to take samples for assessment of imported sturgeon batches. However, the assessment results of the two institutes did not conclude whether the species, offspring or purebreds of the imported sturgeon were correct with the names listed on the CITES Permit or not which hinders the Customs authorities in carrying out customs clearance procedures for shipments with such inspection results.
On January 7, 2022, the Fisheries Research Institute sent an official dispatch to the Huu Nghi – Lang Son border gate Customs Sub-Department announcing the refusal to assess sturgeon products to complete the DNA analysis.
Meanwhile, at a dialogue between agencies under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Legal Department – General Department of Forestry, CITES Management Authority of Vietnam – General Department of Forestry, Institute of Marine Research products) with representatives of domestic sturgeon farming households on December 28, 2021, the leader of the General Department of Forestry concluded: “The accurate classification is necessary as a tool to check goods of the Department of Customs. The General Department of Forestry assigned the CITES Management Authority to be the focal point to coordinate with CITES scientific agencies and representatives of domestic sturgeon farming households to continue identifying sturgeon species (combining morphological identification methods with DNA).”
In order for businesses and Customs authorities to implement uniformly, the General Department of Customs recently asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to have specific instructions on inspection agencies and coordinate with Customs in the inspection of imported goods in accordance with the CITES permit granted by the CITES management authority of Vietnam and on the List of aquatic species permitted to be traded in Vietnam.
At the same time, it is proposed to suspend the issuance of CITES permits for imported sturgeon until an agency certifies that the breed, species, hybrid, and purebred offspring are consistent with the CITES License of the imported sturgeon.
Ngọc Linh/ Thu Phuong