Companies complain high trade costs at Haiphong port
  • | ld, | March 16, 2017 08:52 AM
Many import-export firms have complained about the high fees for using infrastructure from shipments at all ports in Haiphong City after a new resolution took effect.


Import-export companies complain high trade costs for using infrastructure from shipments at Haiphong port.

The problem was discussed at a recent conference on improving business environment and competitiveness.

From January 1, Haiphong issued Resolution 148 and started collecting fees for using infrastructure, service facilities and public utilities from shipments at all ports in the city. According to the Hai Phong Department of Finance, its ports receive 80 million tonnes of goods each year and can collect VND1.5trn (USD66m) from the proposed fees.

Many import-export firms protested against the decision immediately, saying that the costs were too high because they are already paying customs fees, shipment handling fees and import and export taxes.

In 2015, the government issued Resolution 19 to ask ministries, agencies and localities to focus on economic and administrative reforms to improve business environment.

However, General Secretary of the Private Sector Forum Dao Huy Giam said there were many problems with the implementation. According to Giam, the localities still issue additional regulations which cause difficulties for firms.

Haiphong Port is the biggest in the north that regulates 35% of Vietnam’s total import-export goods. Statistics from Japan External Trade Organisation show that the cost for a container to be transferred from Hanoi to Haiphong Port then to Japan is USD990. It is much higher than the fee of USD170 from Guangzhou City in China to Japan or the fee of USD550 from Manila, Philippines.

It takes firms about two hours to pay the fees. In addition, firms also have to pay more for storage and customs procedures. It is hard to get their goods released within a day.

According to business associations, they already pay infrastructure fees via road maintenance charges. It's also unfair if only import-export firms are requested to pay since local firms use the infrastructure of the port and city's roads too.

The associations asked the prime minister to suspend Resolution 148 and reassess the charges. The implementation from state departments and ministries has failed to win support from firms and the message to improve the business investments. It's a long way yet for Vietnam to realise the goals set out in Resolution 19.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam asked local authorities to fix regulations that are causing difficulties for businesses.

"We ask for trust from the associations that the government does want to hear your opinions, this isn’t just for show," he said.

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