|Professional activities at Cao Bang Customs (May 2023). Photo: T.Binh|
Inadequate management policy with a new generation of tobacco products
Recently, the Ministry of Finance (General Department of Customs) advised the Ministry of Industry and Trade on many issues related to the system of legal documents on foreign trade management. For export and import ban measures, The Ministry of Finance said that according to the Law on Foreign Trade Management provisions, goods banned from export or import fall under the competence prescribed by the Government. For goods subject to export suspension or import suspension, the Minister of Industry and Trade shall decide to suspend export or import based on consultation or proposal of the Ministries, relevant ministerial-level agencies and take responsibility for their decisions”. According to current regulations, the List of goods banned from export and import and the List of goods exported and imported under permits and conditions are issued in Appendix I and III of Decree No. 69/2018 /ND-CP.
However, through the monitoring process, the Ministry of Finance (General Department of Customs) said that the administration of management policies for several new items arising in the past period was still inadequate and not following the spirit of the Law on Foreign Trade Management, the especially new generation of tobacco products.
Currently, there are only specialized management regulations for traditional cigarettes according to Decree No. 67/2013/ND-CP dated June 27, 2013, as amended and supplemented in Decree No. 106/2017/ND-CP. CP dated September 14, 2017, Decree No. 08/2018/ND-CP dated January 15, 2018, Decree 17/2020/ND-CP dated February 5, 2020, of the Government and related guiding documents. There are no specific regulations for new-generation tobacco products such as electronic cigarettes and heated cigarettes, including components, raw materials, assembly materials, flavourings, and chemicals, used to manufacture and assemble the finished product of this item.
This item has not been specifically identified in the List of goods banned from export or import, suspension of export and import, or the List of goods exported and imported under permits and conditions under Decree No. 69/2018/ND-CP.
However, in the past period, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has had several documents replying to Customs authorities and several businesses about the management policy of this item “not yet imported into Vietnam”, “not yet imported raw materials, components used for e-cigarettes, not yet imported e-cigarette products”. Compared with the Law on Foreign Trade Management, Decree No. 69/2018/ND-CP, the guidance: “not yet imported into Vietnam” is inconsistent with the current foreign trade management measures. This includes import ban, import suspension or import under permits and conditions.
In addition, according to the Ministry of Finance, the regulations issued in legal documents will be transparent and clear. Therefore, the written guidance for next-generation tobacco products will cause difficulties for enforcement units in managing this item in the current period.
Therefore, according to the Ministry of Finance, for groups of products that require special management mechanisms in general, and new-generation tobacco products in particular, the Ministry of Industry and Trade needs to study and advise competent authorities to issue or assume the prime responsibility for elaborating legal documents specifying management policies so that the enforcement units have a basis for consistent and correct implementation of the provisions of the legal documents.
Clarifying license types
Regarding management measures according to permits, according to export and import conditions, Article 29 of the Law on Foreign Trade Management stipulates management measures under export and import permits; management according to export and import conditions; Clauses 1 and 2, Article 4 of Decree No. 69/2018/ND-CP stipulates: For goods imported or exported under permits, export and import traders must obtain permits from ministries or equivalent agencies, relevant ministry; for goods exported or imported under conditions, exporters and importers must satisfy the conditions prescribed by law.
The form of management as prescribed above is an export or import license (or other forms of equivalent legal validity) or export and import conditions according to the concept specified in the Law on Foreign Trade Management. However, according to Appendix III of the List of goods exported and imported under permits and conditions, promulgated together with Decree No. 69/2018/ND-CP stipulating the type of documents such as: “marketing registration certificate”, “marketing number”, “marketing permit”, “standardization announcement” for drug items, medicinal ingredients, medical equipment, cosmetics, chemicals, insecticidal preparations, and insecticides Bacteria used in household and medical fields is “Be allowed to be imported on demand without order confirmation”.
“This document is not an import license or import condition according to the Law on Foreign Trade Management, but the regulation under Decree No. 69/2018/ND-CP leads the Customs to require enterprises to present, provide this document information to determine whether this is the subject of import permission on demand, not to confirm the order or not. This is causing administrative procedures and inconsistent with the concepts specified in the Law on Foreign Trade Management”, the Ministry of Finance stated.