A trade facilitation program to help Vietnam improve customs procedures was launched by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Hanoi on Wednesday.
The USAID Trade Facilitation Program, which will be implemented until 2023, will support the standardization of policies and procedures for export and import, strengthen national and provincial coordination, and build the capacity of provincial customs officers.
It is also expected to help Vietnam develop a more attractive and predictable trade and investment climate for domestic small and medium-sized enterprises as well as international traders and investors.
The five-year, $21.7-million program aims to support the Vietnamese government to adopt and implement a risk management approach to customs and specialized inspection agencies, which will strengthen the implementation of the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement of which both Vietnam and the United States are members.
During the course of the program, operators will work with the General Department of Vietnam Customs under the Ministry of Finance, to strengthen the role and capacity of Vietnam's National Trade Facilitation Committee and their associated working groups to improve the efficiency of specialized inspections and customs-to-business partnerships.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said that the trading facilitation program is essential and meets requirements and desire of the government in implementing the trade facilitation agreement and other new-generation free trade agreements.
The Deputy Prime Minister also asked the Ministry of Finance to coordinate with ministries, relevant agencies, and the USAID to work towards the successful implementation of the project.
In response, the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink, said the U.S. administration will coordinate with the Vietnamese side in harmonizing and simplifying specialized inspection procedures.
Giving the example of Vietnam climbing 21 ranks in World Bank’s “Doing Business”, an annual report measuring the ease of doing business in 190 countries, in the past four years, the U.S. ambassador hopes that Vietnam will improve its business environment more with the customs procedure simplification program.