VCN – Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and problems related to Decree 112/2014/ND-CP stipulating the management of land border, the trade activities in the borders under the management of Ly Van Border Gate Customs Branch and Po Peo Border Gate Customs Branch (under Cao Bang Customs Department) are gloomy.
|Warehoue of Viet Long company in Po Peo Border Gate is desolate in 2023. Photo: T.B|
Deputy Director of Cao Bang Customs Department Hoang Van Hau:
To facilitate import and export activities across the sub-border gate in the area, on September 9, Cao Bang Customs Department issued Official Dispatch 1178/HQCB-NV, sending to the People’s Committee of Cao Bang province to direct relevant agencies in advising the Provincial People’s Committee to soon issue a list of sub-border gates and border crossing permitted to carry out import and export activities.
Bi Ha is one of the sub-border gates with import and export activities over the past ten years in Cao Bang province.
The road to Bi Ha is now more convenient. The road from the centre of Thi Hoa town to the border gate has been completed and put into use with a total investment of VND 36 billion. However, the border gate is closed, and no enterprises are carrying out customs procedures here.
Desolate Bi Ha Border Gate
The working report in 2022 and in the first five months in 2023 of Ly Van Border Gate Customs Branch showed the “zero results” (zero declaration, zero turnover and zero tax).
Manager Pham Anh Tung said the area includes two border gates including Ly Van and Bi Ha, some border crossings (Ky Soc, Pac Ty, Ban Khoong), and some checkpoints. Earlier, the import and export activities at the Branch showed positive results with the highest revenue of VND 20 billion.
However, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and problems related to Decree 112/2014/ND-CP, the import and export activities in the area have not arisen.
“Although there are no import and export activities in the area, the Branch always assigns officers to perform tasks, even in holidays and new year to ensure the management, prevention and combat of smuggling. In the first months of the year, the Branch coordinated with other competent agencies to arrest a case of 4 kg of firecracker illegal transportation.
In 2022, the Branch coordinated with other enforcement forces to seize two cases of illegally transporting frozen goods and about 10 tons of infringing goods. In addition to patrolling and controlling, officers have focused on self-study to improve their qualifications,” said by Deputy Manager Hoang Tan Hoi.
Without means of transport on highway
At Po Peo Border Gate, provincial road 213 has been upgraded and invested more than 200 billion. The local residents consider the road as the highway of Cao Bang. Although the infrastructure is spacious, import and export activities at Po Peo border gate are also quiet.
Mr. Nong Van Dong, manager of the site for gathering and inspecting goods of Ngan Ha, said that the company invested more than VND10 billion in this site with a total area of more than 4 hectares following regulations of the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
“Though we only operated for about one year (from the middle of 2019), we have had to pause until now due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and problems related to Decree 112. During the period of operation, the Branch arranged 10 employees, but now we only maintain two to manage properties. Due to inactivity for a long time, the houses and infrastructure of the yard are increasingly degraded, and then the risk of property theft increasing. We hope that the departments and agencies in the Central and Cao Bang province will soon remove these difficulties. It is difficult to restore import-export activities at the Po Peo border gate to help businesses recover their investment capital,” said Mr Nong Van Dong.
According to the Director of the Po Peo Border Gate Customs Branch, the Branch manages four checkpoints (Ngan Ha, Viet Long, Duc Huy Cooperative, and South Thang Long). Previously, activities in the area were quite busy, and the Branch collected more than VND20 billion/ per year. But for about two recent years, import and export activities have been halted, so there are no declarations, turnover or budget revenues. The reason for the suspension is similar to that at the Ly Van border gate Customs Branch.
“Although there are no import-export activities, the Branch always maintains enough officers as prescribed to carry out the task of anti-smuggling. In 2022, the Branch coordinated with other authorities to arrest one drug trafficking case and two cases of illegal goods transportation. From the beginning of 2023, the Branch seized four cases, arrested four suspects and captured 210 kg of tobacco leaves; 4,500 packs of Marlboro cigarette,” said Be Van Hai.
For localities with many difficulties like Cao Bang, developing the border gate economy is a very important solution to promote socio-economic development in the area; this is also the expectation of the people and the business community. Therefore, the local authority needs to have more drastic and urgent solutions to open up import and export activities and avoid wasting resources invested at sub-border gates and border-crossings located in the border gate economic zone, which have been approved by the Prime Minister, especially at Po Peo and Bi Ha sub-border gates.
According to the portal of Cao Bang province, on February 9, the Chairman of Cao Bang Provincial People’s Committee Hoang Xuan Anh chaired a meeting on import and export activities at border gates and border crossing in the new situation.
At the meeting, Mr. Hoang Xuan Anh requested agencies, sectors and competent forces to implement six key tasks to upgrade the border gates, including enhancing exchange of information, policies, legal documents with the Chinese side to perfect procedures for upgrading the border gate; review procedures and documents on border-gate economic activities; facilitate to attract businesses and people in import, export and exit activities; review investment projects and withdraw unfeasible investment projects; invest, upgrade and build infrastructure comprehensively and focus on planning working area at border gates; arrange officers to carry out procedures for border control.
However, by the end of May, the import and export activities at the sub-border gate and border crossing in the area have not been restored.
By Thai Binh/Ngoc Loan