March 31, 2020 19:33

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Lao Cai’s initiative for import and export facilitation during epidemic

09:30 | 16/02/2020

VCN - At the National Steering Committee’s meeting on the prevention and fight against the acute respiratory infections caused by the new strain of Corona virus (February 10), Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam and Steering Committee members said they appreciated Lao Cai's initiative in organising a transit driver team (including drivers equipped with specialised protective equipment) to transport cleared goods, which is considered a solution for road border gates.  

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Lao Cai Customs officers supervise import and export goods (photo). Thai Binh

Creating exit for agricultural products

To learn more about the initiative, on the morning of February 11, Customs Newspaper spoke with Ha Duc Thuan - Deputy Head of Lao Cai Economic Zone Management Board, that develops the initiative and presides over the performance.

“Based on the epidemic situation, we think this problem will move on. While import and export activities, especially imports of raw materials for domestic production and exports of agricultural products, are very necessary. If all import and export activities are stopped, it will be very difficult for the business community, people and the economy in general,” said Thuan.

On the morning of February 5, the Lao Cai Economic Zone Management Board chaired a meeting with local units and advised the People's Committee of Lao Cai province to report to the Government on solutions to remove difficulties for import and export activities during the epidemic.

One solution was for import and export activities to be continued in the direction that people involved in these activities such as drivers, consignees, consigners, shippers and more will be isolated in certain areas at the border and will not be permitted to move inland.

The unit also has an initiative to establish a transit driver force for import and export activities. In the transportation process, drivers will be fully equipped with protective equipment as prescribed.

Specifically about the import and export process, Thuan said regarding exports, if the drivers want to bring goods directly through the border gate, they will go through normal procedures. But when they return to the territory of Vietnam (in Lao Cai), they will be isolated for 14 days at the Military School of Lao Cai province.

The second solution is to use the transit driver force. Drivers will be arranged at an isolated area at the border gate. They will be charge of driving trucks from Kim Thanh international border gate Road No. II (Lao Cai) to Ha Khau border gate (China).

“After delivering goods, they will move to the designated location. The drivers will continue to stay in the quarantine area at the border. If they want to go back inland, they will have to go to isolated areas of the province for 14 days for monitoring,” Thuan said.

On the import side, when Chinese drivers bring goods to the designated area, the drivers will enter the quarantine area at the border gate. Then, the medical quarantine force will disinfect the vehicles, then the competent force in Lao Cai will arrange transit vehicles to bring goods to the area as prescribed.

Lao Cai has formed a transit team of more than 20 drivers. This number may increase according to demand.

Applied from February 8, Lao Cai's initiative has been efficient in helping with the customs clearance of hundreds of containers of import and export goods.

On February 10, there were 57 containers of dragon fruits exported. As a result, the amount of goods in stuck in Lao Cai international border gate area decreased from about 200 containers in the first days of February to less than 100 at present. With the speed of customs clearance in recent days, the congestion of goods in Lao Cai international border gate area is likely to be resolved soon.

“The provinces of the south-central and southern regions are in the process of harvesting dragon fruit, watermelon and many other agricultural products, so Lao Cai's initiative for import and export facilitation has great importance in creating exit for domestic agricultural products,” Thuan said.

Authorities in Hekou (China) are also studying the model that Lao Cai is applying to be able to build a loading and unloading force in China.

Export and import target of US$4.6 billion

On the local import-export target in 2020, Director of the Department of Industry and Trade of Lao Cai Do Truong Giang said that this year, the locality set an import and export target of US$4.6 billion.

Therefore, from the first day of the year, Lao Cai has proposed many solutions to promote import and export activities.

In particular, amid the epidemic, authorities in Lao Cai have focused on developing many solutions, including forming the transit driver force.

"We also discuss with the authorities of Hekou, China to solve difficulties and release import and export goods in backlog," Giang said.

According to Lao Cai Economic Zone Management Board, in 2019, total value of imports and exports, goods through border gates in the province reached $3,812 billion, up 26.6 percent compared to 2018.

In particular, exports reached $2,628 billion, up 39 percent, imports $1,182 billion, down 0.3 percent.

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Regarding the management of border gate economic zones and industrial parks, there are three industrial parks and one commercial industrial park (Kim Thanh) in the province; border-gate economic zone has a total area of ​​nearly 16,000 hectares in four districts and cities adjacent to the border. The total value of industrial production in industrial parks in 2019 reached nearly VND 20,000 billion, contributing 68 percent to the overall industrial production value of Lao Cai province.

By Thai Binh/ Huyen Trang