The National Assembly is expected to adopt a law on foreign trade management next March, Minister of Industry and Trade Trần Tuấn Anh said at a legislature session in Hà Nội yesterday.

Anh, who was authorised by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, was presenting a report on the construction of the law.

“Foreign trade activities have been busy for the last few years, contributing to national economic development and meeting international economic integration requirements,” said Anh.

“State management policies for the activities have been more close, transparent and efficient, but they remain incomplete and need to be improved,” he said.

Anh said after the Law on Commerce was issued in 2005, Việt Nam joined the World Trade Organisation and many other free trade agreements such as Eurasian Economic Union, ASEAN Economic Community and Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Certain regulations of the commerce law are no longer suitable in practice, while many legal documents involved in foreign trade are inconsistent with low predictability.

“That is why a law on foreign trade management is needed,” he said.

As drafted by the industry and trade ministry and relevant agencies, the new law will regulate State management measures involved in the international trade of goods.

It will stipulate administrative measures such as prohibition, restriction or cessation of import and export; and technical measures, especially hygiene and sanitary methods.

The Government will specify goods listed for prohibition and restriction after considering if they harm security, national defence and local customs, as well as public health and the environment.

The law will also provide guidelines for trade remedies, settlement of disputes, and foreign trade promotion.

The law will not intervene in specific activities among businesspeople. It will not regulate the trade of services.

Under Decision No 28/2012/QĐ-TTg issued by former Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng in May 2012, professional laws regulate import and export services related to tourism, transportation and post and telecommunications, as well as construction, insurance and finance, and information and computing.

The professional laws include the Tourism Law, Construction Law, Securities Law and Law on Insurance Business.

Anh said the law on foreign trade management is to be in line with international treaties in which Việt Nam is a member. It must stimulate domestic production and export.

It must be fair and transparent, and assure legal rights and interests of the State and entrepreneurs from all economic sectors. It must also help simplify administrative procedures and better the business climate.

“The National Assembly Economic Committee (NAEC) agree with the Government statement about the necessity to issue the law to complete the legal framework for foreign trade, so as to intensify State management and boost efficiency of these activities in line with international commitments,” said chairman of the committee, Vũ Hồng Thanh.

Việt Nam targets an average export growth rate of 10 per cent per year over the next few years, striving to exploit trade agreements, and expand and diversify foreign markets.

The country also pursues a sustained trade balance, trying to build brand names for local products and bring benefits for consumers.

Telling Việt Nam News how the law will impact Việt Nam’s foreign trade prospects, if it is adopted, NAEC member Nguyễn Đức Kiên said “We should not hope that this law will create a breakthrough in foreign trade. The outlook depends on our export markets.

“The most important things are whether customers will buy our goods and if our products can overcome technical barriers in those markets. The law will just help us simplify procedures for enterprises to save time and cost, while maintaining proper management towards their activities,” he said.

The local press reported earlier this month, citing the General Department of Customs data, that Việt Nam’s import-export values totalled some US$253.44 billion in the first nine months of this year.

The country recorded a trade surplus of roughly $3.72 billion in the period.

Yesterday, policymakers also heard Minister of Justice Lê Thành Long speak about projects revising a law on mutual legal assistance, and another one on State compensation liability. — VNS

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