Solutions to support and facilitate businesses when exporting goods and services to ASEAN market were on discussion at a seminar held in Hanoi on September 23.
The event was hosted by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) with the support from the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC), the ASEAN Regional Integration Support by the EU (ARISE) Plus project and the Vietnam Logistics Business Association (VLA).
This seminar, which is part of the Project 25 on "Promoting bilateral trade and investment cooperation between Vietnam and strategic, important partner countries,” aims to support Vietnamese enterprises to increase exports to potential markets in ASEAN.
Speaking at the opening, Nguyen Vu Kien, the deputy head of the International Relations Department under the VCCI, said that ASEAN is a large market and is now open to all trade relations and exchange of services for imports and exports between member states.
In order to ensure high transparency and equality of rights and reduce disputes between businesses and functional management representatives, a consultation and support mechanism is needed to facilitate businesses in helping to solve problems arising themselves when conducting procedures for import and export of goods or customs clearance across borders.
According to Kien, it not only contributes to improving business activities and trade exchange among intra-ASEAN countries but also promotes a favourable, positive and harmonious business environment in the whole region.
Introducing the ASEAN Solutions for Investments, Services and Trade (ASSIST) at assist.asean.org – an online consultative mechanism supporting businesses in exporting to ASEAN market funded by the European Union through the ARISE Plus programme, Paul Mandl, the project leader, said it is an online tool to provide information on laws, regulations, standards and favourable solutions to advise enterprises in the process of transporting goods or conducting services and customs procedures of goods when exporting to ASEAN market.
It is also a useful, non-binding and completely free consultative mechanism that enables businesses in ASEAN to interact directly with the concerned authorities when facing difficulties for consultation on specific solutions to facilitate the intra-regional exchange of goods, ensuring the compliance with the implementation of ASEAN's economic agreements.
To support businesses to interact directly with the relevant agencies of the Governments of ASEAN countries, Paolo R. Vergano, an expert from the ARISE Plus project, said that the ASSIST system would help solve the problems related to tariff and non-tariff measures that affect goods, issues in the cross-border service sector and investment restrictions in a number of different areas during the ASEAN’s integration.
Sharing from the practice in logistics enterprises, Nguyen Tuong, the deputy general secretary of the VLA, said that with the help of the ASSIST system, businesses who encounter troubles in the sector would have more opportunities to solve them and defuse any problems arising in import and export transactions at border gates and customs.
Experts at the seminar also suggested to develop an objective mechanism that ensures transparency and fairness for all businesses of each ASEAN member country to solve the difficulties and challenges in intra-ASEAN trade activities.