Vietnam trade ministry reviews new import rule: report

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Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade said it is reviewing a new rule that tightens controls over alcohol, cosmetics and mobile phones imports, following concerns raised by foreign business groups.

The rule, effective June 1, stipulates that the product groups can only be imported via one of three Vietnamese seaports. Importers also need to provide authorization documents notarized by Vietnamese diplomatic representatives in the country of origin.

According to the ministry, the rule aims to prevent counterfeit and low-quality goods coming into Vietnam.

News website VnExpress cited Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Nguyen Thanh Bien as saying on Friday that his ministry was reconsidering the rule after several business groups, including the European Chamber of Commerce, voiced their concerns.

"We have met them and consult them in order to check whether our regulations have broken international commitments and WTO rules," Bien said.

Foreign business groups have complained about the new import rule, even suggesting that it's just a measure to control trade defict.

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European Chamber of Commerce head Alain Cany told a twice-a-year dialogue between the business community and government late last month that the restrictions "may be in breach of Vietnam's international trade law obligations."

At least 100 local car importers are protesting another trade ministry rule that also requires them to show authorization documents signed by diplomatic representatives, VnExpress reported.

But Bien said the ministry thinks the restriction on car imports is necessary and will hold talks with importers to discuss the rule, which will take effect on June 26.

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