List of quarantined goods is increasing
According to Mr. Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy Secretary General of Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), implementing the content of the resolution of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), coordinate with the Ministry of Finance to review and amend Circular No.285/2016/TT-BTC on the way to calculate fees and charges in veterinary activities in order to reduce unreasonable costs for seafood enterprises.
According to Mr. Nam, some contents of the resolution have not been implemented thoroughly and effectively. In particular, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has not applied the principles of risk management, prioritization, mutual recognition in management and specialized inspection of seafood exports and imports; has not yet instructed and distinguished between quarantine and food safety inspection, as well as specific and clear instructions on the way to check (especially sensory inspection), ensuring consistent implementation, avoiding costs for businesses.
This issue has been included in Resolution 02/NQ-CP for two to three years, but there has been no appropriate amendment. In which, there are quarantine activities for imported seafood products.
“Since 2010, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has issued three circulars (Circular 06; Circular 26 and Circular 36) on quarantine of aquatic animals and animal products but the list of goods to be quarantined is increasing,” Mr. Nam said.
When VASEP received a draft of Circular replacing Circular 15/2018/TT-BNNPTNT dated October 29, 2018 (HS code for the list of goods under the management of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), it was surprised to see that 100% of aquatic products from HS code 03 to deeply processed HS 16 imported goods must be quarantined according to the Veterinary Law and the Law on Food Safety.
Based on the above shortcomings, Mr. Nam said, on February 19, 2021, VASEP sent Official Letter No. 14/CV-VASEP to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Legal Department, Department of Animal Health (MARD) to comment on the Circular 15/2018/TT-BNNPTNT recommending not to include products processed from aquatic animals and animal products on the quarantine list according to the Veterinary Law.
The Association recommends that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development do not put seafood products processed from animal products or products containing “animal products” (dry, canned, cooked, ready-to-eat, frozen) on the list of subject to quarantine under the Veterinary Law, excluding raw, fresh, chilled products. The above processed products are only subject to control according to the provisions of the Food Safety Law.
Shortcomings from the legal basis
According to VASEP leaders, the inadequacies related to the specialized inspection of soybeans on imported and exported seafood are reflected from the legal basis as the Veterinary Law and the Food Safety Law.
A representative of VASEP said that many products processed from animals, animal products or products containing “animal products” (dried, canned, cooked, ready-to-eat, frozen) products on the list of quarantine (according to the Veterinary Law) is inappropriate.
According to the provisions of the Law on Animal Health, the types of imported goods on the list of animals subject to quarantine include only terrestrial animals, terrestrial animal products and aquatic products. Under the provisions of Clause 2, Article 3 of the Veterinary Law, “animal products” include parts of the animal’s body and aquatic animals.
The Veterinary Law does not stipulate that products processed from “animal products” or products containing “animal products” are subject to animal quarantine.
Chapter 3 of the Food Safety Law on “conditions to ensure the safety of food” requires that fresh food of animal origin must have a veterinary hygiene certificate of the veterinary authority (Article 11).
For pre-packaged processed food, only the regulation conformity declaration must be registered with a competent state agency before being circulated on the market (Article 12).
However, sub-law documents (Circular 26/2016/TT-BNN and Circular 36/2018/TT-BNN on fisheries of MARD) regulate quarantine of “animal products” explained and applied in such a way that products processed from “animal products” or products containing “animal products” (including pre-packaged types) are subject to quarantine. The concept of “animal products” has been extended beyond the provisions of the Veterinary Law.
Another shortcoming is that Clause 3, Article 3 of the Veterinary Law puts “preliminary processing” and “processing” in the same concept while these are inherently two concepts with very different connotations.
According to Article 2 of the Law on Food Safety, the concept of “processing” defined in Clause 4 is completely different from the “preliminary processing” concept specified in Clause 16. The expansion of the concept of “animal products” of the aforementioned sub-law documents and not clearly distinguish the concept of “preliminary processing and processing” as mentioned is an important reason for increasing the number of goods subject to animal quarantine, hindering efforts to reduce the reputation item of goods, the rate of shipment must be specialized inspection.