Difficulties Facing FDI Firms
According to the ministry's statistics, FDI firms' export turnover accounts for the highest rate among all economic sectors. In 2008 alone, FDI firms' export turnover, including crude oil exports, reached USUS$34.5 billion, making up 55 per cent of the whole country’s total export value.
However, the figure had represented an on-year decrease of 8.8 per cent in the first three months of 2009. In the current context, if there are not active measures to improve the situation, it is forecast that the sector's export turnover could reach only USUS$20 billion this year, down 15 per cent on year.
Representative of Panasonic Company, on behalf of the community of FDI firms, complained that Vietnam’s customs procedures are still complicated and time wasting. The representative gave an example on the promotion of e-customs in Vietnam, which is done by halves as compared to that in other nations in the region like the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. In fact, the e-customs in Vietnam has not yet help enterprises shorten the duration for customs clearance because it still uses too many papers and documents.
Speaking about difficulties in the near future, Panasonic representative said the company's goal to produce three millions of units in 2009 will be difficult to gain as the consumption demand has reduced sharply since September last year. One after another the huge markets like the U.S., Russia cut down orders. The representative frankly said if difficulties are not improved, Panasonic products made in Vietnam would be difficult to meet clients' requirements on time and quality. As a result, the enterprise’s contribution to the economic growth and unemployment settlement will be surely limited.
Meanwhile, representative of the Suncom Technology Company proposed the General Customs Department in general and the North Thang Long Customs Department in particular to impose flexibly customs enumeration procedures to enterprises. In detail, enterprises who meet sufficiently conditions will be imposed the customs enumeration on the spot while those who have no suitable conditions will enumerate one time a month like in the past.
Agreeing with the above-mentioned opinions, the Brother Vietnam Ltd. Co. under Japan Brother Corp. which specializes in manufacturing electronics products also criticized the customs’ incomprehensive measures. It said that with the same regulation, each locality had settled in different methods, causing difficulty for enterprises. Brother Vietnam took the occasion to ask the government to issue a legal document which allows corporations to develop their system of affiliates because almost all affiliates are facing many challenges involved in tariff procedures.
Some businesses said that lots of tariffs of Vietnam are now much higher than those of other countries in the region. They suggested the Vietnamese government should reduce the tariff of some items to 0 per cent in order to support exporters like what governments of Japan and Malaysia are imposing.
In addition, participants also showed other challenges often facing them such as support policies of interest rate, labor, limitation of duration granting C/O certificates, certificates of origin. The Chee Wah Ltd. Co. said that the export and import C/O procedures are now complicated and time-consuming, resulting in the stagnation in goods delivery and reducing the company’s reputation to foreign partners.
At the meeting, enterprises also complained the quality of sea ports, air terminals of Vietnam. Almost of FDI firms expressed hope that Vietnam would promptly upgrade its infrastructures like sea ports, air terminals to serve the export, contributing to help enterprises to reduce expenses for production and increase the export volume.
Attending the meeting, representatives of authored agencies like General Customs Department, State Bank of Vietnam and Ministry of Industry and Trade recorded opinions as well as answered some questions. Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang said that a series of measures to push up the production and export have been promoted. Regarding the tariff policies, he said the ministry will instruct tax agencies at all levels to settle urgently files as well as troubles for payers.
In the future, authorities may adjust the export tariff of materials for seafood and cashew nut industries; expand the hire of sea ports; allow more objects to be invested into sea port services, particularly the logistics in order to raise the competition of country’s sea port field, as well as call for more investment capitals into huge ports in economic zones like the Hiep Phuoc-Lach Huyen port.
Leader of the Finance Ministry affirmed his body will adjust flexibly export and import tariffs of some items in the coming time in order for providing the maximum support for the domestic production and export. For example, the import tariff for materials to serve the production of textile and garment sector may be reduced from 3 per cent to 0 per cent. In general, the added value tax for a large number of goods and services has been reduced by up to 50 per cent. The finance ministry’s efforts to speed up the VAT repaid mechanism would help enterprises have more capitals to remain the business and employment.
Mr Trinh Dinh Kinh, vice head of the General Customs Department's Division for Management and Supervision, said the general department is boosting the application of e-customs as well as restructuring the working process in order to make the settlement of procedures faster. On schedule, 80 per cent of customs procedures will be settled through the electronic system by 2012.