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Deputy PM wants backlogs at northern border cleared before Tet

By Van Phong

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HCMC – Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh has asked the relevant ministries, agencies and localities to work with Chinese counterparts to accelerate customs clearance for exports to China and clear the backlogs at the northern border gates before the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday (Tet).

At a recent online meeting to deal with the backlog, Deputy PM Thanh asked the Ministries of Industry and Trade, Agriculture and Rural Development, Foreign Affairs and Finance, customs agencies and localities to discuss with Chinese agencies ways to quicken customs clearance at the border gates and increase the number of operational border gates.

The Ministry of Health would provide localities with guidelines on anti-pandemic measures and medical equipment and human resources for the long term.

He assigned localities along the border to keep a close watch on the situation to control the number of vehicles heading for the border gates.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was asked to coordinate with localities, associations and enterprises to enhance the processing of agricultural products. The Ministry of Industry and Trade was asked to proactively come up with solutions to expand markets and bolster local distribution and consumption, especially through supermarkets, commercial centers and traditional wet markets.

These ministries must work out comprehensive solutions on planning, production, the satisfaction of requirements, quality and traceability, improve logistics services and shift from unofficial to official exports, the deputy prime minister added.

At the meeting, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said as of January 7, more than 3,600 container trucks had been stranded at the northern border gates, down 2,500 vehicles over December 26 last year. Of the total, over 2,000 vehicles had been stuck in Lang Son and 1,260 others in Quang Ninh.

The decline in the number of vehicles stuck was due to the local consumption and official exports through the Huu Nghi International Border Gate in Lang Son and by sea.

In the north, 10 border gates remain operational, including four international ones — Huu Nghi and Dong Dang in Lang Son, and Lao Cai and Kim Thanh in Lao Cai.

A Lang Son leader said over 1,900 container trucks were stranded in the province, including 919 trucks transporting fruits. With a customs clearance pace of 80-100 vehicles per day, the backlog at the Chi Ma Border Gate in the province would be cleared.

The provincial leader proposed developing a comprehensive plan to consume and export farm produce nationwide at the beginning of the year.

Nguyen Ngoc Dong, Deputy Minister of Transport, said Vietnam could export products to China by train or sea. The railway sector could transport 80 containers of goods per day.

Le Quang Trung, deputy general director of the Vietnam National Shipping Lines, shared the view, adding that the company and logistics firms were willing to help transport goods to Quang Ninh or Haiphong for export to China if goods exporters meet certain requirements. The company will also reduce costs for goods exporters.

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