Ministries’ different interpretations, wood imports get stuck

VietNamNet Bridge – The disagreement among the relevant ministries on the wood import licensing has made enterprises suffer, because they cannot import materials for their production plans until the ministries can reach a consensus on the issue.

The Vietnam Agriculture and Forestry Investment and Development Company in Hanoi is one of the two enterprises that signed a contract on importing 20,000 cubic meters of wood from Cambodia.

Cambodian authorities approved the export of the volume of wood to Vietnam in 2011-2012. The Dak Nong provincial People’s Committee has licensed the import, releasing a decision to open an auxiliary border gate for the imports to go through.

However, the wood imports still cannot enter Vietnam, because the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) believes that the company doesn’t have necessary conditions to import wood.

The ministry said that enterprises can import wood only when they get the licenses granted by MOIT. Meanwhile, the company doesn’t have such a license.

However, the company, citing the Circular No. 13 released by MOIT on June 3, 2009, stipulating the import of goods through auxiliary border gates, has affirmed that the imports need to be licensed by local authorities, not MOIT.

Meanwhile, MOIT has cited the Circular No. 04 released in 2006 which guides the implementation of the Commerce Law, saying that it is MOIT which will grant licenses on wood imports.

However, the company argued that its wood imports are not covered by the circular 04 referred to by MOIT.

In order to clarify the problem, the company has sent dispatches to the Ministries of Justice, Agriculture and Rural Development and Public Security to consult about this.

The Ministry of Justice has affirmed that the wood import by the company must be covered by the Circular No. 13/2009, which means that it does not need the approval from MOIT to import the wood consignment.

A similar conclusion has also been made by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Public Security.

Nevertheless, since MOIT does not change its viewpoint, the case has been forwarded to the government.

The government has to once again, consult with relevant ministries before making final decision. The government office on December 5 released a document requesting MOIT to express its standpoint on the issue.

MOIT has, once again, affirmed that the import can be implemented only if it is licensed by the ministry. Meanwhile, MOIT will only grant license after it receives the document from the Cambodian Ministry of Trade, saying that it allows exporting the wood consignment. After getting the license from MOIT, businessmen can import products through one of the 14 national and international border gates, or auxiliary border gates.

MOIT has affirmed that to date, it has not received any document from the Cambodian administration which says that it allows Angkor Ply Wood to export the wood consignment to Vietnam, and has not received the application from the Vietnamese importer. Therefore, it cannot grant any license at this moment. This means that the Dak Nong provincial people’s committee cannot make the decision on allowing the imports.

In the latest move, the government office on December 12 once again requested the relevant ministries to discuss to clarify the matter and report the result to the government office prior to December 20.

However, until December 19, no meeting among the relevant ministries had been held.

Tran Thuy

Vietnam, argument, MOIT, importers, local authorities, license