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The customs clearance of goods through border gates has initially been restored, but remains slow and incomprehensive.

A number of border gates resume customs clearance

Although import-export activities at Huu Nghi border gate have returned to normal, the progress in clearance has not seen much improvement because the two sides are still intensifying measures in the prevention and control of Covid-19 epidemic, according to the Department of Industry and Trade of Lang Son province. In particular, the number of Chinese labourers in charge of loading and unloading of goods is small while the number of vehicles transporting goods through the border gate is only equivalent to 40% of the time before the spread of the epidemic.

As many as 319 container trucks carrying agricultural products, including jackfruit, dragon fruit, mango, longan, chili and other commodities, remained stuck at Tan Thanh border gate on February 25th, despite the reopening of the border gate on February 20th.

43 trucks of watermelon, dragon fruit, banana and mango have been exported to China while Vietnam has imported 11 trucks of ginger, onion, potato, and fresh mushroom from the Chinese side. 110 trucks (mainly dragon fruit and watermelon) remain waiting for export procedures. Meanwhile, 11 trucks carrying peanuts, groceries, cowhide, cosmetics, and frozen fish are stuck at Coc Nam Border Gate.

According to the Customs Branch of the Dong Dang international railway, hundreds of carriages carrying over 1,000 tonnes of Vietnamese fresh dragon fruit have been piloted to export to China through the railway since the beginning of February. Accordingly, for the first time, agricultural containers were loaded onto freight trains to be shipped to Pingxiang railway station in China. The move has helped goods to be moved quickly while reducing costs and avoiding congestion.

Phung Quang Hoi, Director of the Department of Industry and Trade of Lang Son province, said that the department will coordinate with relevant units to continue implementing solutions to speed up the clearance of goods, contributing to the promotion of goods export and consumption of agricultural and aquatic products.

The Customs Branch of Mong Cai city, Quang Ninh province, has set up four working groups to support import-export activities. Head of the Customs Branch Nguyen Van Hoan said that a temporary pontoon bridge has been set up at the ICD Thanh Dat port to facilitate the import and export of goods. A temporary pontoon bridge on Ka Long River officially resumed its operation on February 25 which helped to export five tonnes of lobster, worth VND1.2 billion (USD52,000). Meanwhile, goods valued at over USD5 million have passed through Bac Luan II bridge since February 7th.

The current priority export items include fresh fruits, agricultural products, fresh aquatic products, cashew nuts, and cassava starch.

In addition, the border market of Hoanh Mo in Binh Lieu district, Quang Ninh province, has resumed the clearance of goods after a temporary suspension due to Covid-19, with the initial clearance provided for seafood, agricultural and forestry products.

Synchronous solutions to be promptly implemented

At Kim Thanh border gate, connecting Vietnam’s Lao Cai with China’ Ha Khau (Hekou), agricultural products have been facing huge stockpiles due to the Covid-19 epidemic, creating adverse impacts on the production and lives of peoples of both countries. The functional forces of Vietnam and China are working together to remove difficulties and accelerate the clearance of goods.

By closely monitoring the situation, the two sides came up with suitable solutions. The Management Board of Lao Cai Economic Zone has established "designated transit driver teams" to transport imported and exported goods through Kim Thanh border gate No.2.The initiative helps to shorten the clearance time and increase the clearance capacity at the border gate.

An average 130 trucks are now cleared at the border gate each day, an increase of 40 trucks compared to the previous time. In addition, the Lao Cai railway transport branch has also set up a "specialised train operation team” in a bid to quickly handle import and export goods.

Chairman of the Lao Cai Economic Zone Management Board Nguyen Ngoc Khai said that nearly 20,000 tonnes of goods, mainly dragon fruit, watermelon, jackfruit and banana, have been exported to China through Kim Thanh border gate No.2, with a total import-export turnover of overUSD32 million. Export and import activities are expected to increase in the coming days.

The Management Board of Lao Cai Economic Zone has developed a plan to establish more areas to gather trucks into the Kim Thanh logistics warehouse with a capacity of up to 1,000 vehicles to facilitate the clearance of goods.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the People's Committee of Mong Cai city Nguyen Tien Dung said the city has talked with Dongxing city in China to actively build plans to resume the clearance of goods through the shared border. The city also requires warehouse businesses to have a preferential policy for enterprises who have to preserve their goods while waiting to be exported to China.

At the same time, the city will investigate and monitor the market situation to have a plan to connect domestic enterprises and prepare goods to export immediately after the border gate is opened.

Director of the Import and Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Phan Van Chinh said that the provincial Departments of Industry and Trade have closely coordinated with the Import and Export Department and functional units of the Ministry of Industry and Trade to promptly update the import and export situation through border gates as well as create favourable conditions for enterprises to accelerate the clearance of goods.

The Ministry will also work together with relevant ministries, sectors and localities to continue removing difficulties for import and export activities and boosting the consumption of goods, especially agricultural and aquatic products. Besides, it will also work to deal with the shortage of raw materials for domestic manufacturing and processing due to the effects of the Covid-19 epidemic spreading to many countries around the world./.

CPV/Nhan Dan