The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance launched the USAID Trade Facilitation Program on July 10 with the aim of helping the country to improve customs procedures.
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue addresses the event. (Photo: VOV)
The launching ceremony was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink, and USAID/Vietnam Mission Director Michael Greene, along with representatives from local government agencies, international organizations, and business associations.
The US$21.7 million program is seeking to support the Vietnamese Government to adopt and implement a risk management approach to customs and specialized inspection agencies. This is believed to strengthen the implementation of the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement of which both Vietnam and the US are members.
The program will work with the General Department of Vietnam Customs under the Ministry of Finance to strengthen the role and capacity of Vietnam's National Trade Facilitation Committee and their associated working groups to heighten the efficiency of specialized inspections and customs-to-business partnerships.
Deputy PM Hue said that the Vietnamese Government believes the USAID Trade Facilitation Program is a practical, timely, and necessary project. Furthermore, it will meet expectations of implementing free trade agreements and setting forth the realization of new generation ones.
He asked the Ministry of Finance to coordinate closely with relevant ministries, agencies, localities, the USAID, and private entities to implement the program in an effective manner.
The project will run until 2023 and will support the standardization of policies and procedures for exports and imports, strengthen national and provincial coordination, and build the capacity of provincial customs officers.
It will also help the country build up a more attractive and predictable trade and investment climate for domestic small and medium-sized enterprises as well as provide more advantages to international traders and investors.