HÀ NỘI — The Vietnam National Trade Repository (VNTR) was completed after 16 months of development and made its debut on March 30.
The VNTR is a free-to-access online platform that provides all the latest trade regulations, and information enterprises need to import from and export to Việt Nam.
Its establishment is an obligation as stated in the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, of which Việt Nam is a member.
The platform is sponsored by the UK Government, led by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) with the support of project partner UNCTAD, and linked to the ASEAN Trade Repository.
At the inauguration ceremony, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Đỗ Thắng Hải officially announced the completion of VNTR after more than one year of development. Traders now can get access to the platform online.
The VNTR aims to enhance policy transparency and public access to Vietnamese trade-related laws and regulations, reducing the time and costs of trading across borders.
The deputy minister highlighted nine types of data traders could look at on the platform.
The data includes Vietnamese tariff nomenclature, most-favoured-nation tariff and preferential tariffs, rules of origin, non-tariff measures, legal documents relating to trade, customs procedures, administrative rulings, best practices for trade facilitation, and a list of authorised economic operators in Việt Nam.
“We call on the Vietnamese business community and foreign businesses in ASEAN to frequently access the platform when doing business,” he added.
Amanda Milling, UK Minister of State for Asia and the Middle East, underlined the portal as a source of information about tariffs and non-tariff measures that will help traders comply with Vietnamese regulations and reduce costs.
The portal will also strengthen the diverse inclusivity of the economy by helping micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including women-led businesses, benefit from cross-border trade.
Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN, underlined the platform as an achievement that offered tremendous benefits to businesses with more accessible, predictable and transparent trade-related information.
“It will not just boost the confidence of our businesses but also help them grow stronger, more adaptive and resilient in confronting uncertainties throughout and beyond the pandemic,” the secretary-general explained.
The secretary-general also revealed that VNTR and ATR are part of a much larger solution to unlock the potential of digital transformation in ASEAN.
He recommended Việt Nam capitalise on the success of these platforms to support the automation of trade and customs processes and step up cross-border paperless trade.
He believes the country will be able to take a leading role in this.
Ralf Peters, chief of the Trade Information Section under the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, acknowledged that the launching of VNTR was remarkable and ahead of the curve.
“From this, I’m convinced that all businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, will benefit significantly,” he added.
Buddhika Samarasinghe, head of Global Practices under Nathan Associates UK Ltd., a company authorised by the UK Government to help Việt Nam develop the VNTR, claimed that the platform worked in a way that traders did not need to consult multiple places for information.
If they need specialised information, the platform will provide links to relevant sources, effectively reducing the time and costs of cross-border trade.
The platform also keeps up-to-date sources of facts, rules and regulations, improving certainty and predictability in the trading process.
Additionally, it includes trading services, a section specifically for women in businesses, a useful glossary of over 300 trade terms and a series of sustainable trade resources.
According to UNCTAD, transparency in trade can reduce trade costs by up to 25 per cent. — VNS