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Automatic import licence to trouble home appliance importers   2008-08-22 - Saigon tiep thi

Decision No 24 by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) will become valid on August 1, 2008, and importers of some items, including electronics, communication and information technology products, will have to show automatic import licences. The decision is believed will put big difficulties on home appliance importers.


Under the decision, the automatic import licence will be granted by MOIT under the mode of approving businessmen’s import registrations for every consignment of imports. MOIT will grant licences within 10 days of receiving registrations with lawful documents from importers.


Importers, who get automatic import licences, will have to show them to local customs agencies when making customs declarations.


Unsatisfactory decision


The decision is believed will put big difficulties on import companies as it will take time to get approval. Moreover, experts have warned that when the state tries to limit imports with the licencing scheme, there will appear so-called ‘quota soliciting’, i.e. importers will have to pay underground fees to get the right to import products.


Importers say that the licencing scheme will push sale prices up as importers will count expenses in the prices. This will also pave the way for illegal imports to dominate the domestic market.


Nguyen Quoc Bao, Director of Thanh Cong Mobile Company, said that MOIT should keep strict control over imports which arrive in an unofficial way or imports which are brought to Vietnam as the luggage of travellers. “If products imported in an official way cannot meet the market demand, illegal imports will be indispensable,” Bao said.


Just temporary


Nguyen Thi Bach Diep, Deputy Director of FPT Mobile, an importer of Motorola and Samsung mobile phones, said that MOIT’s decision aims to reduce the trade deficit by limiting the imports of luxury products like mobile phones, digital cameras and printing machines.


To Thi Hong Trang, Business Director of Digiworld, said it is necessary to reconsider whether to put laptops on the list of products subject to automatic licencing. Trang said that the limitation of imports should be applied to luxury items only, while computers are essential for domestic clients.


Businesses have expressed their concern that the new decision will spoil their business plans.


Diep said that companies set business plans (premises leasing, employment) at the beginning of the year. Now, with the new decision, companies will have to change their plans and fire staffs.  


The new decision has also sparked serious concern among home appliance importers. They say that they still cannot imagine how much time it will take to get an automatic licence.


The new decision will be valid from September 7 to December 31, 2008.

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