Vietnams Ministry of Industry and Trade said it is reviewing a new rule that tightens controls over alcohol, cosmetics and mobile phones imports, following concerns raised by foreign business groups.
The rule, effective June 1, stipulates that the product groups can only be imported via one of three Vietnamese seaports. Importers also need to provide authorization documents notarized by Vietnamese diplomatic representatives in the country of origin.
According to the ministry, the rule aims to prevent counterfeit and low-quality goods coming into Vietnam.
News website VnExpress cited Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Nguyen Thanh Bien as saying on Friday that his ministry was reconsidering the rule after several business groups, including the European Chamber of Commerce, voiced their concerns.
“We have met them and consult them in order to check whether our regulations have broken international commitments and WTO rules,” Bien said.
Foreign business groups have complained about the new import rule, even suggesting that its just a measure to control trade defict.
European Chamber of Commerce head Alain Cany told a twice-a-year dialogue between the business community and government late last month that the restrictions “may be in breach of Vietnams international trade law obligations.”
[vietnamhandicrafts - 1399857687_1]
At least 100 local car importers are protesting another trade ministry rule that also requires them to show authorization documents signed by diplomatic representatives, VnExpress reported.
But Bien said the ministry thinks the restriction on car imports is necessary and will hold talks with importers to discuss the rule, which will take effect on June 26.
Vietnam actual August trade deficit $396mn
Vietnam's actual trade deficit in August was $396 million, the customs office said on Tuesday, roughly half the $800 million estimated by the government's General Statistics Office late last month.
Exports rose 31.5 percent from the same month last year to $9.25 billion while imports increased 17.3 percent to $9.64 billion, Vietnam Customs said on its website.
The deficit comes after a rare $1.1 billion surplus in July due to a surge in gold exports.
Exports of gemstones and precious metals, which is dominated by gold, during August totaled $165 million, or 85.2 percent less than in July, customs said.
The government has struggled to narrow the trade deficit, which has been a chronic source of pressure on the dong.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment said earlier this month it expected the trade deficit for the whole year to be $12 billion. The government, meanwhile, projected a deficit of potentially $14.5 billion.
Vietnam's trade deficit last year was $12.6 billion.