General & Misc

New Service Charter planned to ease Cross-Border Trade

Date: 21 May 2019; Type: Legal News; Source: Vientiane Times

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce plans to introduce a new service charter to reduce the time it takes to authorise imports and exports, as part of efforts to improve the business climate.

The ministry’s Import and Export Department said in a recent report that it plans to introduce the service charter this year so that business operators can benefit from faster services at the department.

Under the new service charter, businesses will be able to get permission to import and export vehicles, fuel and diamonds within one day after submitting a formal request.

If businesses submit a request electronically through the National Single Window system, the approval process will take only half a day through the 2019 service charter, the department’s report says.

Under the 2018 service charter, it took two days for officials to receive import and export authorisation.

In addition to reducing the time it takes to issue import and export documents, the department plans to halve the time it takes to issue businesses with a certificate of goods origin. In 2018, it took four hours for officials to do this.

As of this year, business operators will be able to obtain certificate for the transit of goods in just one day, down from two days in 2018. Businesses will also be able to obtain a certificate for imported goods for export within one day, down from the two days it took in 2018.

With regard to responses to inquiries by business operators, import and export officials will reply toa letter within three days, down from the five days it took last year.

To further facilitate cross-border trade, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce’s Import and Export Department met with the relevant authorities to recommend the changes they should make.

One of these recommendations was for the government to cancel the import and export approval process currently required for goods related to livestock, food and drugs. However, the government should continue to check the quality of imported goods at border crossings.

This means the government should freely allow goods to be imported so long as they meet the set national standards.

The report from the import and export department also states that the department has seen a big improvement at border checkpoints, adding that it now takes less time to import goods. However, the fees charged for this process have increased.

The increase in cost is attributed to the fact that the authorities have invested in modern technology to speed up the import and export process.

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