New tech to bolster ASEAN e-trade

Vietnam as ASEAN chair this year is accelerating the application of digital technologies and administrative reforms to facilitate intra-bloc e-trade activities.

New tech to bolster ASEAN e-trade
New tech to bolster ASEAN e-trade

Accessing the Vietnam National Single Window (VNSW) in order to check her application for a certificate on technical safety quality for importing Indonesian machines for vegetable processing, Tran Hai Van, director of Red Lotus Trade JSC in Hanoi, found that the company’s dossier would be appraised on the network within a few days.

“We are awaiting the final step of approval for the dossier,” Van said. “Previously, we had to visit authorised agencies’ headquarters to carry out the same procedures. However, now we can process it online without travelling and with time and costs saved.”

In another case, a representative from Intrado Logistics JSC in the Mekong Delta province of Long An said that his firm uses the VNSW to receive permission for ships carrying imported goods to enter local sea ports. “It is quite convenient now. Previously, we had to travel from Long An to Ho Chi Minh City to complete all procedures,” the representative said.

Such conveniences for these two companies are expected to be further increased. Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh urged related ministries and agencies to deploy more digital technologies in the network which facilitate enterprises to conduct all procedures online, and which is connected with the ASEAN Single Window (ASW).

The Vietnam National Single Window integrated system

- It will allow parties involved in international trade to submit/send standardised data and information to a single point;

- It will allow government agencies to process data and information and make decisions based on a consistent and unified processes;

- It will allow decisions to be issued and sent to the system on the basis of the agreement to provide and exchange information between government agencies; and

- It will allow customs to make a final decision on clearance and release of cargoes and conveyances on the basis of decisions taken by line ministries and agencies, and communicated in a timely manner to customs.Source: ASEAN Single Window

In addition, ministries and agencies such as the Ministry of Finance and the General Department of Vietnam Customs are furthering administrative reforms and reducing procedures for enterprises when they conduct export-import procedures with partners in regional nations. DPM Minh assigned the Ministry of Public Security to connect its system with the VNSW to make it easier for individuals and enterprises to access information about flights.

“As ASEAN chair, Vietnam is also cooperating with regional nations to boost the connectivity of e-trade, with e-customs procedures considered one of the prime priorities,” DPM Minh said. “This is also a big priority for the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025.”

The master plan is also aimed to enhance data management, harmonisation of regulations among ASEAN member states, and promote intra-ASEAN flows of data.

As of late August, the VNSW was integrated with 200 administrative procedures of 13 ministries and agencies. The procedures are now connected with more than 3.2 million dossiers of over 40,000 foreign and domestic firms.

In the very near future, another 37 new procedures will be launched in the VNSW, including six from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, six from the Ministry of Defence, and two from the Ministry of Health, which is also piloting nine new procedures before putting it on the network.

At present, the VNSW has been connected with the peers of the other nations in ASEAN in order to exchange many procedures, including the information about the certificate of origin of imported products under the electric D form. As of August 25, the total number of such certificates that Vietnam received from ASEAN member states was over 179,000, while the total number that Vietnam sent to other countries was more than 263,000.

Vietnam became the fifth ASEAN member state to join the ASW live operation, in 2015. The implementation of the ASW will not only promote the harmonisation of standards and conformance procedures, including enhancing intra-ASEAN preferential rules of origin procedures, but also facilitate coordination and partnership among customs administrations.

The ASW connects and integrates ASEAN member states to exchange electronic trade-related documents. The system enables a single submission of data, a single synchronous processing of information, and a single decision-making process for customs release and clearance among regional nations and participating countries.

The ASW is an environment that provides secure IT architecture and legal framework that will allow trade, transport, and commercial data to be exchanged electronically among government agencies and the private sector. The ASW aims to expedite the cargo clearance process, reduce cost and time of doing business, and enhance trade efficiency and competitiveness.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Southeast Asia is now Vietnam’s fourth-largest export market after the US, the EU, and China. Vietnam’s export turnover to the region surged from under $1 billion in 1995 to $25.3 billion last year, up 1.9 per cent on-year. In the first nine months of 2020, the figure hit $17 billion, down 12.5 per cent on-year.

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