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Cablegate: Vietnam's Private Sector Pushes Pm to Make Import-Export

VZCZCXRO3223
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHFK RUEHHM RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH RUEHPB
DE RUEHHI #1270 3230402
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 180402Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8738
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 5303
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHZU/ASIAN PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS HANOI 001270

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS MBROWN
SINGAPORE FOR TREASURY
TREASURY FOR SCHUN
USTR FOR DBISBEE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ENRG EAGR PINR VM
SUBJECT: VIETNAM'S PRIVATE SECTOR PUSHES PM TO MAKE IMPORT-EXPORT
PROCEDURES MORE EFFICIENT

REF: HCMC 921 (East-West Corridor)

1. (U) Summary: Leaders and representatives from Vietnam's private
sector urged the Prime Minister at a November 7 regional summit to
reduce import-export red tape, or lose competitiveness to other
regional players. Specific recommendations included implementation
of single-window customs and e-clearances to speed up import-export
processing. Others suggestions included easing immigration
procedures for frequent travelers, such as business people and cargo
truck drivers, an "Open Skies" aviation agreement, and improving
infrastructure. End Summary.

KEY DEMANDS FROM VIETNAM'S BUSINESSES
------------------------------------

2. (U) In their address to a November 7 regional summit between
Vietnam, Laos, Burma, Cambodia and Thailand, called the
Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS)
Business Forum, and before an audience that included Prime Minister
Dung, executives from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(VCCI) urged that Vietnam speed up customs processing and flow of
imports and exports. Complaining that "in Singapore a container can
clear customs in ten minutes, but in Vietnam it takes seven days,"
the VCCI representatives pointed to e-customs and single window
initiatives as ways to increase competitive advantage.

3. (U) The private sector representatives also urged PM Dung and
prime ministers from other ACMEC countries in attendance to expedite
regional customs integration to speed regional trade flows. Customs
information could be passed digitally from one country to the other,
giving Customs officials and vendors an accurate estimated time of
arrival and list of contents. The private sector stated that an
e-logistics system would allow Vietnam and its regional partners to
know the contents of containers entering and exiting their countries
before the container leaves the country of origin.

4. (U) Other private sector suggestions included an "Open Skies"
aviation agreement between ACMECS members and mutual investment in
regional infrastructure projects. Specific infrastructure
recommendations called for continuation of the East-West corridor
project (REF), completion of a highway between Thailand and
Cambodia, and the establishment of more border crossing points with
joint customs inspection.

5. (U) The Vietnamese private sector representatives also talked
about the need for new visa and country clearance procedures. The
representatives urged the PM and the other four ACMEC leaders to
approve the use of a business travel card for inter-ACMEC travel,
single visas for third country tourists to visit all five ACMEC
countries, and duty free imports for all capital goods used for
development and infrastructure projects.

6. (U) PM Dung did not address any of the private sector's specific
proposals when Dung opened the afternoon's discussions and closed
them at the end with remarks. PM Dung focused his remarks on the
current state of the Vietnamese economy. The PM stated that the
Vietnamese economy grew seven to eight percent a year for the last
several years and 8.5% in 2007. PM Dung reported that Vietnam
currently has over 11,000 projects from 80 different countries with
commitments of over $57 billion in the first nine months of the
year. He also stated that Vietnam has over 196 projects with other
ACMECs member nations totaling over $1.5 billion. The PM proclaimed
that Vietnam would focus on macro-economic stability, sustaining
growth, and leveling the playing field for foreign investment.

COMMENT
--------

7. (SBU) Although many in the audience were taken aback at the
directness of the Vietnamese private sector's remarks, numerous
members of the audience applauded their suggestions. Most people
laughed when one participant shared the Vietnamese example of a
container taking seven days to clear customs and clapped when he
called for single inspection. While the ACMEC leaders indicated
agreement in principle to some of the recommendations, there is no
concrete plan at this point for streamlining export-import
procedures or simplifying burdensome customs red tape.

MICHALAK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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