Customs Update: June 3, 2020

US-ASEAN Customs Update | June 3, 2020
Authors: Michaela Wong, Isabelle Belleza
 
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

COVID-19 Impact on RCEP Negotiations

Since 2012, ASEAN leaders have been working with Australia, People’s Republic of China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, and New Zealand to establish the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). If signed, RCEP would become the world’s largest trade agreement, providing businesses with access to larger markets while lowering tariffs and streamlining customs rules and procedures. Set to be completed and signed by the end of 2020, RCEP negotiations have already faced challenges such as India’s withdrawal from the pact and Japan’s reluctance to participate. Now officials also face the added pressure of addressing the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 20, 22, and 24, the 29th RCEP Trade Negotiating Committee Meeting was held virtually, with all 15 participating countries reaffirming their commitment to sign the RCEP agreement in 2020. However, the pandemic has forced countries to rethink their supply chains, causing an acceleration of supply chain relocation from international to regional or domestic operations. Supply chain disruptions and protectionist export restriction measures are contradictory to the free-trade goals of the RCEP, posing challenges to the completion of RCEP negotiations this year.

Although leaders from China, Singapore, and Thailand have recently stated that the virus will not impact the timeline and completion of RCEP negotiations, trade disruptions may complicate the ongoing RCEP negotiations.

Potential for Digital Taxes in the Philippines and Indonesia

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing nearly all social interaction and entertainment online, ASEAN countries are considering imposing taxes on digital sales and services from non-resident companies. These propositions come amid falling revenues for governments and rising profits for foreign technology companies, which have seen significant increases in the use of their digital services and products this year. Both the Philippines and Indonesia are looking to tax tech giants such as Spotify, Netflix, Google, Facebook, and other companies who provide services such as gaming, applications, and streaming.

Beginning July 1, Indonesia will impose a 10 percent value added tax (VAT) on the sales of digital products and services from foreign internet companies which have a “significant economic presence” in the Indonesian market. In the Philippines, a lawmaker introduced a bill that would also impose a VAT on foreign tech firms, although this proposal has yet to be debated. As the digital economy expands to encapsulate a shift in consumption patterns, both countries hope to expand their tax base and establish a clear tax system for the digital economy.

Taxes on digital services have already been implemented in Singapore and Malaysia, effective January 1, 2020. In 2019, other ASEAN countries such as Thailand expressed their intentions to introduce an e-commerce tax, but these plans have not yet materialized in legislation. While it is unclear whether the introduction of e-commerce taxes will become a broader regional trend across ASEAN in 2020, the increase in digital consumption brought about by COVID-19 could incentivize other governments to impose e-commerce taxes to take advantage of the potentially significant tax revenue.

Myanmar Lifts Ban on Foreign Liquor Imports

On May 25, the Ministry of Commerce issued new “Guidelines for the Importation of Foreign Liquor,” which relaxed a ban on alcohol imports that has been in place since 1995. Foreign spirits are now permitted to be legally imported into the country, but only if the product has a cost, insurance, and freight value of at least US$8 per liter. Although this value minimum is designed to ensure the importation of quality products and protect local producers, it is expected to initially limit the impact of the policy due to the higher cost of legally imported liquor. Furthermore, the requirements for registration certificates, licenses and distribution arrangements for importing liquor may pose additional barriers to importers seeking to bring their products into the market.

The policy change is intended to increase tax revenues and reduce the illicit trade of liquor, which is worth approximately $80 million per year and crimps government revenue. Although the import of foreign liquor is legalized, the government is still in the process of drafting regulations for the distribution and sale of foreign liquor within the country.

“Economic Prosperity Network”: Shifting Supply Chains Away from China

A new US-led multilateral initiative, entitled the “Economic Prosperity Network,” is under discussion to facilitate moving supply chains out of China. In a statement to the press on April 29th, U.S Secretary of State Pompeo referenced recent conversations with Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Vietnam on the topics of economic recovery and restructuring supply chains “to prevent something like this from ever happening again.” Given the significant supply chain disruptions in the wake of COVID-19, the potential creation of such a network would reduce sourcing and manufacturing dependence on China. The network is intended to be inclusive of countries and companies and would operate with similar values and standards across multiple sectors and industries. Vietnam is the only Southeast Asian country to be included in these discussions thus far, but Vietnam holds a competitive position to attract companies as an alternative destination for manufacturing due to its location, lower labor costs, and relatively successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participation in the network could facilitate trade relations with the United States without the need for establishing free trade agreements, enabling increased investment from U.S. companies with fewer delays. While discussions for the network are still in early stages, they come at a time of tense U.S-China relations. The Trump administration is looking to act quickly in moving supply chains away from China, even if those supply chains are moved to other nations instead of the United States.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Digital Economy Taxation proposed in the Philippine House of Representatives

On May 19, Representative Joey Sarte Salceda filed House Bill No. 6765 (copy attached), to be known as Digital Economy Taxation Act if enacted, in the Philippine House of Representatives seeking to establish a fiscal regime for digital services and amending sections 57, 105, 108, and 114 of the National Internal Revenue Code.

The salient features of this bill include the following amendments and clarification:

  1. Definition of terms (section 3) - Digital advertising services, Electronic commerce platform, Network orchestrator, Services rendered electronically, Subscription-based services.
  2. Withholding of Tax at Source (section 57) – The network orchestrator shall withhold tax on taxable income/revenue derived through a membership in a network orchestrator system.
  3. Persons liable (section 105) – Any person who, in the course of trade or business, sells, barters, exchanges, leases goods or properties, including those digital or electronic in nature, renders services including those rendered electronically, and any person who imports shall be subject to the value-added tax (VAT)…(emphasis supplied).
  4. Section 108. The phrase "sale or exchange of services" means the performance of all kinds of services in the Philippines for others for a fee, remuneration or consideration, whether rendered electronically or otherwiseincluding the supply by any resident or non-resident person of digital advertising services such as online advertisement services, provision of ad space, any other facility or service for online advertisement; the supply by any resident or non-resident person of subscription-based services; the supply of services that can be delivered through an information infrastructure, such as the internet.
  5. The value-added tax withheld under the new section shall be remitted within ten (10 days) following the end of the month when withholding was made.
  6. The standard VAT, currently set at 12%, will be applied to digital services as defined (SEC 6).
  7. The bill requires that those who render digital services must do so through a resident agent or a representative office in the Philippines (SEC 8).
  8. A non-resident person shall have the privilege of doing business in the Philippines as a network orchestrator and/or as an electronic commerce platform exclusively through a representative office or an agent which shall be a resident corporation in the Philippines. Revenues derived from the aforesaid services shall, for tax purposes, be revenues generated by the representative office or agent (SEC 9).
  9. This Act shall take effect immediately upon its publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines (SEC 13).

If unchallenged in the House of Representatives, this bill will be heard and deliberated on in the Senate as part of the bicameral legislative process in the Philippines. There is political pressure to look for additional sources of government revenue as part of the COVID-19 Philippine economic recovery.

The deadline for member input has passed and the Council is in the process of collating members input for submission before Congress breaks for recess on June 5. Contact Kim Yaeger, Lilibeth Almonte-Arbez and Michaela Wong with any questions.

US-ABC Advocacy Tracker

In response to member feedback and in our effort to improve members' ability to plug into our many ongoing advocacy efforts, we have launched a simple Advocacy Tracker on the Council website. The Advocacy Tracker lists all active Call for Inputs with due dates and contacts for which Council staff to reach out to for more information. The tracker can be found on our website under the Members Only section. You may reach out to Kim Yaeger at kyaeger@usasean.org if you have any questions or feedback regarding the Advocacy Tracker.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
Asean replaces EU to be China’s largest trading partner

ASEAN
Virus-fueled protectionist mode derails RCEP
TPP countries defy protectionist trend to maintain supply chains

Brunei
Brunei introduces new rules for cross-border goods delivery
BND1.5 billion total trade recorded in February
Only authorised foreigners can enter Brunei

Indonesia
Indonesia imposes tariffs on some textile imports until 2022
Indonesia posts trade deficit as imports, exports fall
Indonesia-Australia free trade deal to be activated by July

Laos
COVID-19: new entry-exit regulations between Vietnam and Laos
Website assures easier access to business in Laos, says Investment MInistry
Laos allows people to enter, exit country as restriction measures eased
Govt postpones payment of customs duty, taxes

Malaysia
Malaysia signs record rice import deal with India: Exporters
Malaysia imposes new entry policies
Labuan Chinese Chamber appeal Customs Dept to expedite the release of containers
Malaysia’s total trade in March fell to RM148b
Malaysia’s 1Q trade numbers up slightly, but economists say outlook dim
Malaysia posts highest Q1 export value since 2011
MCO: Authorities beef up security at border checkpoints
Containers are being transported from ports, intermediary warehouses overstacked — FMFF
Malaysians in Singapore advised to stay put for two weeks

Myanmar
Commerce ministry issues foreign liquor import guidelines in Myanmar

Philippines
Duterte hikes tariffs on petroleum products to raise funds for COVID-19 fight
Philippine lawmaker proposes tax targeting tech giants to fund coronavirus fight
Philippines' trade deficit drops to more than two-year low in February
PPA gives relief to port lessees, operators amid ECQ
Biz groups urge gov’t to lower costs of logistics
Manila terminal operations back to normal, says ICTSI
BIR, BOC post revenue gap of P156B in 1st quarter
DOTr, PPA renew calls to shippers to withdraw cargoes By Myla Iglesias -April 8, 202038
FDA Advisory No. 2020-547 || Updated Procedure for FDA Clearance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Prior to Customs Release
Import process for urgently needed medical supplies streamlined

Singapore
Food, essential items from New Zealand to land in Singapore under trade declaration

Thailand
Thailand opens up LNG market, eyes regional trade - News for the Oil and Gas Sector
Customs seizes large haul of medical and protective gear

Vietnam
US is VN’s biggest export market in Jan-May
Local firms should have good knowledge about CE and FDA standards: seminar
MoIT to help local firms cope with trade remedies
PM permits re-opening of sub-border gates with China
US launches circumvention inquiry on Vietnamese stainless steel sheet, strip
Vietnam abolishes regulation on export licensing for medical face masks
Việt Nam’s plain MDF board faces anti-dumping investigation in India
US cuts anti-dumping taxes on Vietnamese catfish products
Vietnam enjoys trade surplus of US$12.4 billion with the US in Q1
Anti-dumping investigation underway into imported polyester yarn
Inspection team set up to check rice volume stuck at ports
PM allows exports of medical face masks
Việt Nam Food Association demands priority clearance for rice stuck at ports
Lạng Sơn proposes temporary halt to goods transport at Tân Thanh border gate
Amendments of regulations on intellectual property border measures in Vietnam
Rice exporters surprised with the quick end of export quota
MoIT requests Hải Phòng to create favourable conditions to transport goods
Ministry launches investigation into anti-dumping duties on polyester yarn
Vietnam Issues Regulations on Receipt and Handling of Information on Smuggling, Trade Fraud and Counterfeit Goods | Lexology
Northern provinces asked to cooperate with China to manage border trade
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Asean replaces EU to be China’s largest trading partner The Star Online 15th Apr 2020
Asean, as a bloc, has replaced the European Union to become China's largest trading partner in the first quarter of this year, according to China’s Global Times citing data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs. In the first three months of this year, Asean-China total bilateral trade rose 6.1% year-on-year to 991.34 billion yuan (US$140.62 billion) despite the coronavirus pandemic, the official online news portal added. However, it noted contracted manufacturing activities in some Asean countries were hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in March.

ASEAN

Virus-fueled protectionist mode derails RCEP BusinessMirror 21st May 2020
It might be difficult to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of this year as planned, as parties are moving toward the direction of protecting their supply chains to the detriment of free trade. In its Global Trade Monitor for May, Moody’s said the coronavirus pandemic will accelerate the transfer of supply chains to regional and even domestic, from international. The health crisis, it argued, exposed the vulnerabilities of just-in-time supply chain management, and this will likely trigger firms to relocate their factories closer to their final markets.

TPP countries defy protectionist trend to maintain supply chains Nikkei Asian Review 1st May 2020
As many countries tighten restrictions on exports of vital products in response to the coronavirus pandemic, members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership regional trade pact are going against the tide of protectionism with agreements to facilitate free trade. With export restrictions widening amid the pandemic and the U.S. and China, the world's two largest economies, focused on their ongoing rivalry, the 11 nations in the TPP are trying to minimize disruption to the free flow of goods by joining hands with other nations both within and outside the bloc.

Brunei

Brunei introduces new rules for cross-border goods delivery Borneo Post Online 5th May 2020
The Brunei Government has announced new protocols and measures on cross-border travel for transport companies and runners including limiting travel time and deploying tracking bracelets to prevent the spread of Covid-19. All items brought in by transport operators and runners into the country must be kept or quarantined for 72 hours or three days at the respective companies’ premise before they can be delivered to customers, it said in a statement on May 5. It said the new rules and guidelines were effective from tomorrow and applies to companies registered in Brunei and Malaysia and for runners providing cross-border services or transportation of goods for commercial or personal use. Transport operators, it said, are required to furnish job order sheet documents and were allowed only for point-to-point pickups or delivery and they must return home on the same day . “The route must be from the fixed pickup location and to place of delivery, without transit or stops, and to return to country of origin on the same day to avoid close contact especially when outside the country,” it said iMSafe tracking bracelets would be given out to transport operators or runners at control posts for monitoring of the location of transport operators and compliance of the point-to-point conditions while ensuring the operators return to their country on the same day. Companies registered with the Brunei authorities are allocated specific time for their return journey – from Sungai Tujuh CIQ and Labu CIQ within five hours and from CIQ Ujung Jalan and Kuala Lurah, three hours. Malaysian transport operators can apply for permit to enter Brunei for delivering perishable goods and the consignment must be escorted by representatives of the government agencies during the entire return trip from the control post to the delivery location and back, the statement said. For those delivering commodities that do not require permit or non-perishable goods, operators are only allowed to send or pick up it at Inland Container Depot at Sungai Tujuh and Kuala Lurah.

BND1.5 billion total trade recorded in February Borneo Bulletin 30th Apr 2020
Brunei Darussalam’s total trade in February 2020 was valued at BND1,510.7 million, an increase by 45.4 per cent from BND1,038.9 million during the same month last year. Meanwhile, for month-to-month changes, total trade for February 2020 decreased by 16.3 per cent compared to January 2020. Exports rose by 59.7 per cent year-on-year to BND1,121.2 million compared to BND701.9 million in February 2019. This was due to the increase in mineral fuels exports by 47.3 per cent year-on-year mainly contributed by the exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and petroleum and gas products of which the major commodity was ‘other motor spirit, of other RON, unleaded’ from the downstream activities. The main export market for Brunei Darussalam in February 2020 was Japan (34.3 per cent) followed by Singapore (19.6 per cent) and People’s Republic of China (9.3 per cent). In terms of commodity exports, mineral fuels represents the major contributor with 86.6 per cent followed by chemicals (12.4 per cent) and machinery and transport equipment (0.6 per cent). Meanwhile, total imports increased by 15.6 per cent year-on-year to BND389.5 million driven by imports of mineral fuels in line with the downstream activities. The five main import commodities were mineral fuels (39.1 per cent), followed by machinery and transport equipment (29.2 per cent), food (9.5 per cent), manufactured goods (8.7 per cent) and chemicals (6.5 per cent). By end use category, imports of intermediate goods comprised of 61.3 per cent of the total imports followed by capital goods (32.5 per cent) and consumption goods (6.2 per cent).

Only authorised foreigners can enter Brunei Borneo Bulletin Online 18th Apr 2020
Following the announcement on foreigners needing to pay BND1,000 for the COVID-19 test, Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar clarified that the government is still not allowing foreigners to the country except those who are authorized. “Those authorised include spouses, family members or those who are working with the government or the private sector who are needed to work here. Tourists are definitely not allowed,” the minister said during the daily press conference. He said foreign workers need to be quarantined and cover the cost for accommodation for 15 days of isolation and the swab test. The mandatory COVID-19 test also applies for their children. The minister said the government will bear the cost of accommodation and swab test for foreign workers working with the government who arrive in the country.

Indonesia

Indonesia imposes tariffs on some textile imports until 2022 Bangkok Post 29th May 2020
Indonesia has imposed tariffs on imports of some textile products for the period until November 2022 in a bid to protect local producers from a surge of imports of fabrics, curtains and yarn. "Safeguard duties" of up to 11,426 rupiah (25 baht) per metre have been imposed for textile fabrics in three stages, and the tariff will be gradually lowered by Nov 8, 2022, said the regulation signed on May 27 and made public on Friday.

Indonesia posts trade deficit as imports, exports fall The Straits Times 16th May 2020
Indonesia's imports last month shrank at the fastest pace in nearly five years, underlining weak domestic demand and export markets that were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, trade data showed yesterday. South-east Asia's largest economy booked a US$344.7 million (S$477 million) trade deficit last month, according to the data released by the country's statistics bureau, larger than the US$200 million gap expected in a Reuters poll. The deficit was its first after two months of trade surpluses.

Indonesia-Australia free trade deal to be activated by July The Sydney Morning Herald 7th May 2020
A free trade deal covering $18 billion in agriculture, education and health services between Australia and Indonesia will be activated within two months, as the Morrison government looks to push the economy out of the coronavirus pandemic. The deal comes into force on July 5, following years of delay and protracted negotiations over what would be left in, and out, of the agreement. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the deal meant 99 per cent of Australian goods will enter Indonesia duty-free or under significantly improved arrangements.

Laos

COVID-19: new entry-exit regulations between Vietnam and Laos Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 6th Apr 2020
The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 5 informed Vietnam citizens of new entry-exit regulations the Lao Government has issued as an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry noted that the Lao government has completely closed all of its international border gates and not allowed any individuals to go through these border gates, except for trucks carrying goods and emergency cases from April 3-19.

Website assures easier access to business in Laos, says Investment MInistry The Star Online 31st May 2020
The Ministry of Planning and Investment has launched a new version of its website, making it easier for investors to access important economic and business information. The website www.investlao.gov.la, which is administered by the ministry’s Investment Promotion Department, provides essential and comprehensive information needed by investors to start a business in Laos.

Laos allows people to enter, exit country as restriction measures eased Xinhua 26th May 2020
Students, Lao citizens, experts and diplomats are now permitted to enter and exit Laos with travel documents authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to officials. People were required to continue strictly following the government guidelines to ensure effective control of COVID-19 and prevent the spread of the virus, even though no new case has been reported in the country for 44 days, Director General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control under Lao Ministry of Health, Rattanaxay Phetsavanh, told a press conference on May 26.

Govt postpones payment of customs duty, taxes Vientiane Times 6th Apr 2020
The government will reduce and defer the payment of customs duty, taxes and various fees in a bid to regulate goods prices and address labour problems during the Covid-19 outbreak. Deputy Prime Minister Dr Sonexay Siphandone issued a statement on Thursday saying this was a preliminary measure by the government to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus, and to ease the hardships being felt by the general public.

Malaysia

Malaysia signs record rice import deal with India: Exporters The Straits Times 15th May 2020
Malaysia has contracted to import a record 100,000 tonnes of rice from India for shipment this month and next, in a further sign of improving trade relations between the countries after a diplomatic spat. The first such purchase this year is already nearly twice the average annual volume of rice Malaysia has imported from India in the last five years, as rival suppliers such as Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia placed temporary curbs on exports to save the grain for themselves during the coronavirus crisis.

Malaysia imposes new entry policies Borneo Bulletin Online 31st May 2020
Bruneians entering Malaysia from June 1 have to pay for the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine. Non-Malaysians entering the country, including permanent resident pass holders, will have to foot the full cost of hotel accommodation when they are quarantined upon arrival. Malaysians have to pay half of the accommodation with the government subsidizing the other half. The full cost of quarantine is RM150 (BND48.87) per day. The total cost for 14 days is RM2,100 (BND684). The Malaysian High Commission in Brunei Darussalam in a letter dated May 25, 2020, stated that from June 1, 2020, the Malaysian Government will impose a new policy for all entering Malaysia through the International Entry Point (PMA).

Labuan Chinese Chamber appeal Customs Dept to expedite the release of containers Malay Mail 10th May 2020
The Labuan Chinese Chamber of Commerce (LCCC) has appealed to the Royal Malaysian Customs Department to expedite the release of containers worth millions of ringgit still held up at the Labuan Liberty Wharf since February this year. Its president Datuk Wong Kii Yii said if the issue remains unresolved, all five companies which imported the containers would have to cease their business operations. According to him, over 40 containers of alcoholic drinks could not be moved to their destinations due to a delay in the issuance of valid liquor import license by the Customs Department. Kii Yii reiterated the problem arises as the Customs Department has yet to renew the import license for the consignments. “A letter replied by the Customs Department in Putrajaya on April 30 did not resolve the issue but dragging it on to the extent of their losses,” he said adding that, the importers usually submitted applications to renew the import license about three months before the expiry date. Should there be any queries by the Customs Department in relation to the license renewal, it should be brought to the attention of the applicants well before the license expired, he said. “The importers are our members whose cargoes are stuck at the port. They had informed the chamber after they brought the issue to the Customs’ attention via a letter of intervention on April 8, where they were asked to submit certain documents to support their import license renewal applications, but there was no communication at all when they received the renewal application,” said Kii Yii. He said the importers are not new but had been in the business for more than three decades and were well-versed on the procedures to renew liquor/tobacco import license.

Malaysia’s total trade in March fell to RM148b The Malaysian Reserve 5th May 2020
Weaker exports of electrical and electronics (E&E) and commodities dragged Malaysia’s total trade in March to RM147.9 billion or 3.8% lower year-on-year (YoY), according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM). Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said both exports and imports registered a decrease of 4.7% YoY to RM80.1 billion and 2.7% YoY to RM67.8 billion respectively. “Trade surplus in March 2020 was valued at RM12.3 billion, shrank by 14.2% compared to March 2019. The decrease in exports was driven by domestic exports, which declined by 8.7% to RM62.9 billion. Meanwhile, re-exports picked up by 13.4% to RM17.3 billion,” he said in a statement on May 4. Lower exports in March were registered to Thailand (-RM2 billion), India (-RM1.4 billion), the European Union (EU) (-RM1.1 billion) and Vietnam (-RM966.2 million), while lower imports were mainly from Singapore (-RM 1.9 billion), the EU (-RM1.5 billion) and Thailand (-RM1.2 billion). “The main products which contributed to the decline in exports were E&E products (-RM4.4 billion), liquefied natural gas (-RM518 million), timber and timber-based products (-RM293 million), crude petroleum (-RM101.6 million), palm oil and palm oil-based products (-RM48.8 million) and natural rubber (-RM29.6 million),” he said. However, higher exports were recorded for refined petroleum products (RM2.2 billion), said Mohd Uzir.

Malaysia’s 1Q trade numbers up slightly, but economists say outlook dim The Edge Markets 4th May 2020
A mild improvement was seen in Malaysia’s first-quarter (1Q) trade performance, but economists say the outlook for the next two quarters is dim as a result of the movement control order (MCO). Data released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia on May 4 showed exports and imports rising by 1.1% and 1.3% year-on-year during the first quarter of the year. However, for the month of March, exports dropped to a four-month low, falling 4.7% from a year ago, on lower export volume across all three export sectors following the adverse impact of the Covid-19 outbreak and Malaysia’s imposition of the MCO. IHS Markit’s latest Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for Malaysia also affirmed this with the index plunging to a record low of 31.3 in April from 48.4 in March. MIDF also anticipated a weaker performance in the second quarter, and forecast both export and import growth to contract further in 2020 at -8.3% and –7.8% year-on-year respectively.

Malaysia posts highest Q1 export value since 2011 NST Online 4th May 2020
Malaysia's trade grew 1.2 per cent to RM440.38 billion year-on-year in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020. Higher trade was recorded with Indonesia, the United States, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, the International Trade and Industry Ministry said in a statement on May 4. Exports increased 1.1 per cent to RM238.68 billion, the highest export value recorded for Q1 thus far, the ministry said. Imports rose 1.3 per cent to RM201.69 billion. Trade surplus in Q1 2020 was valued at RM36.99 billion, rising 0.1 per cent from the same period in 2019. "This was the largest trade surplus recorded for Q1 since 2011. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, total trade, exports and imports contracted by 8.1 per cent, 7.4 per cent and 8.9 per cent respectively," the ministry said. Trade surplus had expanded 1.5, it added. In March 2020, Malaysia's trade was valued at RM147.9 billion, a decrease of 3.8 per cent compared to March 2019. Lower trade was recorded with Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Germany and Singapore. Nevertheless, higher trade was registered with Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan. Exports contracted 4.7 per cent to RM80.12 billion and imports declined by 2.7 per cent to RM67.78 billion. Trade surplus in March 2020 was valued at RM12.34 billion, dropping 14.2 per cent from March 2019. This was the 269th consecutive month of trade surplus since November 1997. Compared to February 2020, trade, exports and imports rose 8.5 per cent, 7.6 per cent and 9.6 per cent, respectively while trade surplus was down by 2.2 per cent.

MCO: Authorities beef up security at border checkpoints Malay Mail 2nd May 2020
Tight border control is a key measure necessary to keep at bay imported cases of Covid-19 even as the government eases the movement control order (MCO) to allow the restart of economic activities on May 4. The border control factor has been emphasized over and over again by Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the director-general of health, at almost all his Covid-19 daily updates to the media since Malaysia came under the MCO on March 18. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador and Chief of Defence Forces Gen Tan Sri Affendi Buang have kept their word and beefed up security at the numerous border checkpoints. The security personnel are also keeping a sharp lookout for anyone trying to sneak into the country through the numerous rat trails, illegal routes across forests and plantations that are also used for smuggling. It is not an easy task policing the entire international border, about 3,000km on land alone, and a coastline of over 4,600km, that Malaysia shares with its neighbours, namely, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in an address to the nation on May 1, said the tight border control is one of the six criteria that has been taken into account to implement the Conditional MCO to allow the restart of economic activities on May 4. Kedah/Perlis Op Wawasan commanding officer Supt Abd Razak Md Din said the 18th Battalion General Operations Force (PGA) based in Pengkalan Hulu, Perak, has increased the number of personnel and stepped up patrols along the Malaysia-Thailand border in Perlis since taking up the task on April 1. Perlis Police chief Datuk Surina Saad said the police constantly conducted intelligence work to obtain information on the possible entry of illegal immigrants. Kedah Immigration director Zuhair Jamaludin said only individuals who get through the screening conducted by the Ministry of Health can come to the Immigration counter. Patrols have been stepped up in Pengkalan Hulu, Perak, which shares the Malaysia-Thailand common border with Betong in the Yala province of southern Thailand.

Containers are being transported from ports, intermediary warehouses overstacked — FMFF The Edge Markets 20th Apr 2020
While containers are being transported from Malaysia’s ports, intermediary warehouses outside of ports are near full capacity. Speaking to theedgemarkets.com, Federation of Malaysian Freight Forwarders (FMFF) president Alvin Chua said freight forwarders are only delivering to those who have the approval from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to receive goods. In Port Klang alone, Alvin noted that on-port storage has gone down to about 50% to 60% of storage capacity, from 70% previously. That said, there are 50,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) still stuck at the port, with the bulk containing materials for the construction and automotive industries. Chua continued to note that it was unlikely that all of the goods in these containers would be delivered until after the movement control order (MCO) is slated to end on April 28, 2020. This is as it would take five days for such businesses to get approval from MITI to operate and bring these materials in. Chua also noted that logistics and transport players (including freight forwarders) are required to apply for approval to operate by MITI. Of the 1,300 members under FMFF, some 5% or 65 of its members have received approval from the ministry.

Malaysians in Singapore advised to stay put for two weeks The Edge Markets 7th Apr 2020
Malaysians working in Singapore are advised to stay in the city-state for at least another two weeks, instead of coming back home. Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this as the authorities of the two countries are still in talks on the terms for Malaysians returning from Singapore, considering the two countries are now under movement restrictions following the Covid-19 outbreak.  However, Malaysians who are insisting to return home will have to go through the necessary measures by the Health Ministry to screen them for Covid-19.  Last Friday, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced a "circuit breaker", where most workplaces, except for key economic sectors and essential services, will be closed effective today.  Meanwhile, all schools and institutes of higher learning will close and move to full home-based learning starting April 8.

Myanmar

Commerce ministry issues foreign liquor import guidelines in Myanmar The Myanmar Times 25th May 2020
The ministry’s “Guidelines for the Importation of Foreign Liquor” allows foreign spirits with the cost, insurance and freight value of US$8 or above to be brought in from Yangon ports and the Yangon International Airport. “Before, alcohol and beer and cigarettes were not allowed to be imported. It is now permissible to import liquor,” said U Ko Ko Naing, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce. Imports of spirits have been tightly restricted in Myanmar since 1962. The current ban was introduced by the military government in 1995. U Thein Sein’s government permitted the import of wines in late 2015, but only hotels and duty-free outlets have been allowed to import spirits and beer until now.

Philippines

Duterte hikes tariffs on petroleum products to raise funds for COVID-19 fight CNN 29th May 2020
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order temporarily raising tariffs on petroleum products to increase funding for the government's fight against COVID-19. Executive Order No. 113 was signed by the President on May 2 according to the document released Monday. Under the executive order, imported crude oil and refined petroleum products "shall be subject to a temporary additional import duty of 10 percent, on top of their existing Most Favored Nation and preferential import duties."

Philippine lawmaker proposes tax targeting tech giants to fund coronavirus fight The Straits Times 22nd May 2020
A Philippine lawmaker has introduced a Bill in Parliament aimed at taxing big tech firms such as Facebook, Alphabet's Google and Youtube, Netflix and Spotify, to raise funds to battle the coronavirus. The Bill looks to raise 29 billion pesos (S$811 million) by imposing a value added tax on digital services provided in the Philippines, a key growth area for e-commerce transactions as its people are among the world's heaviest users of social media.

Philippines' trade deficit drops to more than two-year low in February Reuters 8th Apr 2020
The Philippines posted its smallest trade deficit in more than two years in February as imports declined, and exports continued to grow although at a much smaller pace, the statistics agency said on Wednesday. The trade deficit narrowed to $1.65 billion, the smallest since July 2017, data showed. Imports fell 11.6% in February due to a double digit decline in the purchase industrial machinery, transport and telecommunication equipment, among others, while exports rose 2.8%, slower than the previous month’s 9.7% growth. (Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

PPA gives relief to port lessees, operators amid ECQ Philippine News Agency 24th Apr 2020
Lessees and port operators having contracts with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) can heave a sigh of relief as the agency gives a 30-day reprieve in the payment of rental and concession fees. The directive states that all qualified PPA lessees and port operators are granted the payment extension without incurring interests, penalties, and other charges. PPA general manager Jay Daniel Santiago said the grace period shall reckon from the last due date of the rent or concession fee payment falling within the ECQ period.

Biz groups urge gov’t to lower costs of logistics Business World 24th Apr 2020
FOURTEEN of the country’s biggest business groups on Thursday urged the government to implement a moratorium on fees and charges slapped on shipments currently stuck at the country’s ports, as the Luzon-lockdown continues. The statement, signed by groups led by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Management Association of the Philippines, PhilExport, and the Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines, urged the government to improve logistics efficiency and lower costs, especially at ports. The government should “implement a moratorium on demurrage/detention fees, port congestion surcharges, and other penalties imposed on cargoes/ shipments stuck at the port due to slow DO issuances/bank processing/customs clearance and apply this retroactively to all shipments affected,” the business groups said.

Manila terminal operations back to normal, says ICTSI Business World 21st Apr 2020
International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) said on April 20 that operations at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) have returned to normal levels after stakeholders responded to calls to withdraw their overstaying cargoes. “Overall terminal utilization is now under 67% and reefer utilization at under 65%, with cargo pullouts during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) peaking last week,” the listed port operator said in a statement. It added: “The pullouts last week do not include numerous containers of unclaimed cargo, carefully transferred to other yards and facilitated by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA). Moreover, all incoming ships are able to dock as scheduled, with no waiting time.”

BIR, BOC post revenue gap of P156B in 1st quarter BusinessMirror 20th Apr 2020
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC)—the main collection agencies of the government—missed their respective collection targets for the first quarter, posting a combined revenue shortfall of P156.26 billion mainly due to the Luzon-wide lockdown. The Department of Finance (DOF) said in a statement on Sunday that BIR and BOC’s actual collections for the first quarter settled at P600.86 billion, falling short of the P757.12-billion revenue target for the period. Revenues collected from January to March this year were also P10.17 billion less than the revenues collected in the same period last year.

DOTr, PPA renew calls to shippers to withdraw cargoes By Myla Iglesias -April 8, 202038 Malaya 8th Apr 2020
THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) have reiterated their call to cargo shippers and consignees to withdraw overstaying cargoes as ports in Manila become congested anew, with yard utilization reaching over 90 percent. ““We are targeting an approximate of 60 percent utilization to achieve an ideal operation. This congestion will not only limit the movement of cargoes in our ports, it will also result to delays of cargo delivery, which will affect prices of goods, and that’s not what we want right now, or ever,” Tugade added. Meanwhile, PPA yesterday said it amended Memorandum Circular No. 13-2020 to further aid in minimizing the disruption of the supply chain under the current implementation of the enhanced community quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic. With this, truck drivers and helpers may now be allowed unhampered access to and from any PPA-managed ports, subject to safety and health measures such as accomplishment of entry protocol form, passing thru thermal scan and disinfection procedures, and referral of those symptomatic persons to Department of Health or local government unit health offices.

FDA Advisory No. 2020-547 || Updated Procedure for FDA Clearance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Prior to Customs Release Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines 6th Apr 2020
Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, the following updated measures are adopted for the expedient release of certain protective equipment (PPE) withn the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Customs. The PPE include: Face masks including N95 masks; Shoe Covers; Gloves; Head Covers, and Gowns. For the abovementioned PPE intended for entry to the local market for commercial use, the presentation of the copy of the importer’s License to Operate (LTO) should be sufficient compliance for customs release.

Import process for urgently needed medical supplies streamlined Business World 5th Apr 2020
The government said it has created a simplified process for the import of medical and protective products urgently needed to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19) outbreak. The Department of Finance, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a joint memorandum circular Saturday to streamline procedures for government agencies dealing with imports of such goods. The goods covered by the new process include personal protective equipment and medical supplies identified by the health department as COVID-19-critical commodities. Under the so-called one-stop-shop system, applications for such imports will be managed through a single window.

Singapore

Food, essential items from New Zealand to land in Singapore under trade declaration The Straits Times 16th Apr 2020
Food and other essential items will be landing in Singapore from New Zealand next week under a trade declaration launched yesterday. Both nations have pledged to ensure the continued production and flow of essential items for combating the Covid-19 pandemic through their sea and air ports. Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said in a Facebook post that the declaration is a direct outcome of a joint ministerial statement among nine countries last month.

Thailand

Thailand opens up LNG market, eyes regional trade - News for the Oil and Gas Sector Energy Voice 27th May 2020
Thailand is issuing more liquefied natural gas (LNG) import licences as it attempts to liberalise its gas market and position itself as a regional LNG trading hub. Thai independent energy producer Gulf Energy has become the second company to secure a licence to import LNG into Thailand. It has been awarded a permit from the country’s Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to import 300,000 tonnes per year of LNG to fuel 19 small-scale gas-fired power plants. Its associate company Hin Kong Power – in which Gulf holds a 49% stake alongside Thai power producer Ratch Group – was also granted a licence to import 1.4 million tonnes per year (mtpy) of LNG. This will supply a proposed 1.4GW gas-fired power plant in the country’s central province of Ratchaburi that is expected to start up in 2024-25.

Customs seizes large haul of medical and protective gear Bangkok Post 20th Apr 2020
Customs officials have seized millions of baht worth of smuggled face masks, thermometers and other protective gear from a transport firm in Muang district of this northeastern province. Officials were sent to the company's premises on the Mukdahan-Nakhon Phanom bypass road in Muang district on Friday following a tip-off that many untaxed face masks and other products were stored there, said Sirichai Khunabut, director of the Customs Office Region 2.

Vietnam

US is VN’s biggest export market in Jan-May vietnamnews.vn 1st Jun 2020
The US was Việt Nam’s leading export market in the first five months of the year, despite a slight decrease in total export turnover. Việt Nam's total export and import turnover in the first five months was US$196.84 billion, a 2.8 per cent drop year-on-year, according to the General Department of Statistics. Total export turnover was $99.36 billion, a yearly drop of 1.7 per cent, while imports reached $97.48 billion, down 4 per cent year-on-year.

Local firms should have good knowledge about CE and FDA standards: seminar vietnamnews.vn 27th May 2020
Local businesses need to know clearly about the CE and FDA standards for exporting goods to the EU and US markets, according to experts at a seminar on CE and FDA standards held in Hà Nội on Tuesday. They should avoid the situation that they have sent finished goods to the EU and US markets to get CE and FDA certificates for exporting to those markets, the experts said. If their products could not receive CE and FDA certificates, they would have wasted resources, including capital.

MoIT to help local firms cope with trade remedies vietnamnews.vn 25th May 2020
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) is planning to increase the number of training courses it organises on trade remedies for the domestic production industry. The idea is to improve the ability of domestic producers to cope with the application of trade defence measures on the global market. At the same time, the ministry will also provide information about current trade remedies for domestic associations and production industries. This will include guidance on using or dealing with trade remedies for key industries such as steel, wood, seafood, chemicals, textiles and support industries.

PM permits re-opening of sub-border gates with China vietnamnews.vn 13th May 2020
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has allowed the re-opening of sub-border gates and border crossings to resume trading activities between Việt Nam and China, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The permission was issued after proposals from the ministry and people’s committees of Lạng Sơn and Quảng Ninh provinces on returning those activities to to normal at border gates between the two countries.

US launches circumvention inquiry on Vietnamese stainless steel sheet, strip S&P Global Platts 12th May 2020
The US Department of Commerce on Tuesday self-initiated a circumvention inquiry to determine if imports of stainless steel sheet and strip from Vietnam are circumventing existing US antidumping and countervailing duties on these products from China. The possible circumvention involves stainless steel flat-rolled products from China that are completed in Vietnam and then exported to the US, Commerce said.

Vietnam abolishes regulation on export licensing for medical face masks SGGP English Edition 3rd May 2020
The Vietnamese Government has just issued Resolution No.60/NQ-CP to abolish export licensing for medical face masks. Previously, the Government issued Resolution No.20/NQ-CP to regulate export licensing for medical face masks on February 28. Accordingly, the Ministry of Health reported the development of the disease and domestic demand of face masks in the country to the Prime Minister who will decide proper management basing on the country’s reality.

Việt Nam’s plain MDF board faces anti-dumping investigation in India vietnamnews.vn 29th Apr 2020
Việt Nam is among several countries to face India’s anti-dumping investigation on plain medium density fibre (MDF) board with thickness of less than 6mm, the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has said. The Indian Ministry of Commerce’s Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has began its investigation into alleged dumping of products coded 4411.12, 4411.13, 4411.92, 4411.93 and 4411.94 originating in or exported from Việt Nam, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, the authority said.

US cuts anti-dumping taxes on Vietnamese catfish products vietnamnews.vn 28th Apr 2020
The US Department of Commerce (DOC) has lowered anti-dumping duties on tra fish (pangasius) products from Việt Nam following the official conclusion of its 15th period of review (POR15) from August 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018, according to the Trade Remedies Authorities of Vietnam under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoIT). The final anti-dumping taxes on Vietnamese products have been set at US$0.15 per kilogramme (equivalent to 3.8 per cent of the export price), lower than the final results for POR14 at $1.37 per kilogramme.

Vietnam enjoys trade surplus of US$12.4 billion with the US in Q1 Nhan Dan Online 26th Apr 2020
Trade revenue between Vietnam and the United States climbed to US$19.5 billion in the first quarter of 2020, with the Southeast Asian country enjoying a trade surplus of US$12.4 billion, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs. Specifically, Vietnam exported US$15.95 billion worth of commodities to the US market between January and March, representing a year-on-year increase of 19.9% and accounting for 25.5% of the total value.

Anti-dumping investigation underway into imported polyester yarn VietnamPlus 23rd Apr 2020
The Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam under the Ministry of Industry and Trade has sent questionnaires to all relevant foreign producers and exporters to serve the anti-dumping investigation into polyester filament yarn (PFY) imported from China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. The businesses must reply before 17:00 on May 28 (Hanoi time), the Authority said, adding that in case it receives late response or inaccurate and inadequate information, it will use existing information to issue decisions in accordance with the Law on Foreign Trade Management. The information and data to be provided and the right to information access of concerned parties during the investigation will be ensured in line with legal regulations on information safety.

Inspection team set up to check rice volume stuck at ports Vietnam Investment Review - VIR 20th Apr 2020
An interdisciplinary inspection team led by the Ministry of Industry and Trade has been established to work with agencies to determine how much rice is stuck at ports so that the ministry can come up with an appropriate rice export plan. The mission of the team is to work with customs authorities and a number of agencies to determine the actual amount of rice volume at ports. The team will then write a report on the rice export situation in April and recommend measures to regulate rice exports in May. This will be submitted to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. The team’s working time is expected to be from April 20 to April 24 and will dissolve upon completion of the task.

PM allows exports of medical face masks vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has approved the export of medical face masks and protective clothing, as long as domestic demand, including reserves, is met first. These products could only be exported to countries that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Phúc asked. Phúc urged the ministries of health and industry and trade to take early actions so producers could export medical face masks and protective clothing as many countries are facing shortages of these products in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Việt Nam Food Association demands priority clearance for rice stuck at ports vietnamnews.vn 17th Apr 2020
The Việt Nam Food Association has petitioned authorities to prioritise customs clearance of consignments of rice exports stuck at ports. It has also urged them to cancel the customs declarations of exporters who submitted declaration forms with high volumes but could not prove they had them ready for export when inspected. The Government recently approved resumption of rice exports, but capped them at around 400,000 tonnes for April with an eye on national food security amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lạng Sơn proposes temporary halt to goods transport at Tân Thanh border gate vietnamnews.vn 16th Apr 2020
The People's Committee of Lạng Sơn Province has sent to the Prime Minister a proposal that Tân Thanh Border gate temporarily stop receiving trucks transporting exported goods to China for 15 days from April 16. According to the People's Committee, as of April 13, there were up to 2,600 trucks carrying exported goods at border gates in Lạng Sơn waiting for entry to China. Of which, the Tân Thanh Border Gate has 1,000 trucks waiting for entry. There were 50 trucks of goods entering China per day during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, lower than the 300 trucks per day before the pandemic, reported haiquanonline.vn.

Amendments of regulations on intellectual property border measures in Vietnam IPMAX 16th Apr 2020
On 06 March 2020 the Ministry of Finance issued Circular No. 13/2020/TT-BTC (new Circular 13) amending and supplementing a number of provisions of Circular No.13/2015/TT-BTC dated 30 January 2015 on inspection, supervision and suspension of customs procedures for imported and exported goods that are subject of requests for intellectual property rights protection, and control of exporting and importing counterfeit goods and goods infringing intellectual property rights (IPRs). The amendments will become effective on 20 April 2020.

Rice exporters surprised with the quick end of export quota vietnamnews.vn 14th Apr 2020
Many rice exporters were left surprised because the export quota of 400,000 tonnes of rice in April ended quickly in just three hours. Earlier, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) issued a decision announcing the rice export quota for April after the Prime Minister gave the green light to resume exporting the product. Rice exporters therefore required their staff to wait for the opening of the online customs portal to submit declaration forms. However, they were unable to access the system. Notably, the portal was opened at midnight on April 11 and by April 12 the quota was fully registered.

MoIT requests Hải Phòng to create favourable conditions to transport goods vietnamnews.vn 14th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) on Monday requested Hải Phòng City People's Committee to ensure smooth goods transport of trading enterprises and logistics services coming to and from the city while implementing the COVID-19 pandemic prevention activities. The ministry said during the Prime Minister's Directive 16/CT-TTg on preventing and controlling the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Hải Phòng City has been given urgent tasks, especially strengthening control of drivers of trucks coming to and from Hải Phòng City.

Ministry launches investigation into anti-dumping duties on polyester yarn vietnamnews.vn 13th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has launched an investigation that may result in anti-dumping duties on polyester filament yarn (PFY) originating from China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. The investigation was launched after a request from the domestic manufacturing industry. The request, which was submitted on November 7 last year, said that PFY imports from the above-mentioned countries had surged, causing significant damage to the local PFY manufacturing industry.

Vietnam Issues Regulations on Receipt and Handling of Information on Smuggling, Trade Fraud and Counterfeit Goods | Lexology Lexology 7th Apr 2020
On March 23, 2020, the National Steering Committee Against Smuggling, Trade Fraud and Counterfeit Goods (“National Steering Committee 389”) issued Decision No. 195/QD-BCD 389 promulgating regulations on receiving and handling information from organizations and individuals (e.g., tips or leads) on smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods. Decision 195, which took effect immediately upon issuance, prescribes how Steering Committees at national, ministry and provincial levels are to receive and handle such information; proper ways to send information to the Steering Committees; and responsibilities of the Steering Committees in cooperating with authorities to verify information, transferring the same to enforcement authorities, and following up with them on the handling and results of matters.

Northern provinces asked to cooperate with China to manage border trade vietnamnews.vn 6th Apr 2020
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has requested northern provinces to promote cooperation with their Chinese partners to implement disease control processes and allow goods through the border. On Sunday, Deputy Minister Trần Quốc Khánh sent this request to the northern provinces of Quảng Ninh, Lạng Sơn, Cao Bằng, Hà Giang, Lào Cai, Lai Châu and Điện Biên after the Embassy of Việt Nam in China on Friday sent letters to ministers and People’s Committees in those provinces about China’s efforts to control the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to the embassy, China would strengthen the management of goods and restrict entry at border areas between Việt Nam and China.