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Exports to US will face more difficulties, experts warn   2009-05-11 - NLD

With the US’ new laws, Vietnamese exports of woodworks, garments and seafood will have to bear strict supervision, which means big obstacles.


Cathy Sauceda, Director, Import Safety and Interagency Requirements Division under the US Customs and Border Protection, has said that the laws on improving consumer products’ safety with a lot of new regulations will have direct impacts on Vietnamese goods exported to the US market, adding that Vietnamese businesses should learn about the laws and make high-quality products in order to avoid risks.


Vietnamese associations have said that the new regulations will put some 75% of total export items of Vietnam sent to the US under strict control. Of these export items, three will bear the biggest impacts: woodworks, garments and seafood.


The woodwork industry, which witnessed export turnover in the first four months of the year down by 10% over the same period of last year due to narrowed markets, is believed will suffer most.


According to Janet Napolitano from the US Department of Homeland Security, in the first stage, materials and raw timber imported into the US will have to show legal origins. By October 2009, sawdust exported to the US will also have to show material origin, and by April 2010, all woodwork and wooden furniture exports will have to follow the provisions stipulated by the Lacey Law.


Enterprises which use illegally-sourced timber may be forced to pay the fine of $50,000. If violations are found on import declarations, enterprises may have to pay fines of up to $100,000.


As for seafood exports, enterprises will not be able to export products with the label ‘catfish’, but will have to follow the regulation on classifying in accordance with products’ quality which will be shown on the products’ packages.


Stressing that the US will remain a key export market for Vietnam, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien said that the ministry will invite consultants who have deep knowledge of the laws to give advice to Vietnamese businesses.


Meanwhile, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) said that enterprises have to seek ways themselves to overcome difficulties. They have to make high-quality products, examine the materials provided by suppliers, keep records on materials. Moreover, they should hire professional consultancy firms to get advice about laws, especially about trade barriers.


Currently, Vietnamese enterprises always have to export products to the US through third parties. Bien said that instead of going through third countries, Vietnamese businesses should think of exporting products directly to the US, while trying to access partners through e-commerce.


Nguyen Duy Khien, Director of the US Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, has also advised businesses to push up e-commerce transactions in order to introduce products and seek orders.


In related news, Ho Duc Lam, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Plastics Association, said that the association, with the assistance of lawyers, is collecting necessary documents to submit to the US court for the anti-dumping lawsuit raised against Vietnam-made plastic bags.

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