A representative of a firm importing wood materials said that the firm had to deal with several complaints from customers about additional quarantine costs and time resulting from Circular 40 which became effective on September 29.

When importing wood materials, importers have to get the plant quarantine license and incur a quarantine cost of nearly VND300,000 per shipment, and the quarantine duration takes around three days. Similarly, the export of wood also has to undergo the above process.

“The previous regulation on green and red channels which helps simplify customs procedures is now invalid as all wood imports and exports have to be quarantined before being cleared. Customers complain much as it takes them a lot of time,” he said.

According to Article 1 of Circular 40, products that must be quarantined include wood, wood products, handicraft products, paper and wood pulp.

Huynh Van Hanh, vice chairman of the HCMC Handicraft and Wood Industry Association (Hawa), said that the quarantine imposed on wood and handicraft products was only demanded by some certain importing countries.

“Therefore, the quarantine obligation is not necessary and places a new burden on enterprises,” Hanh said.

According to Hanh, two importing countries demanding quarantine are Australia and New Zealand while Japan and the U.S. do not. Besides, importing countries have their own quarantine agencies in Vietnam, and thus the agriculture ministry’s regulation is unnecessary.

Nguyen Van Nga, head of the Zone 2 Plant Quarantine Inspection Department, said that while waiting for response from the ministry, enterprises can apply for the quarantine waiver if their products are not required to be quarantined by importing countries.

Together with wood associations in Binh Dinh Province and the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association, Hawa has sent a petition to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to reconsider the regulation.

By Pham Thai - The Saigon Times Daily - October 18, 2012