The municipal People’s Committee released a document on Tuesday affirming that the collection had adequate legal foundation.
In December, the municipal People’s Committee promulgated Resolution No 148 stipulating that individuals and organisations having shipments stored at bonded warehouses must now pay VND2.2million (US$97) to VND4.8million ($220) per container. This is an increase of nearly 70 per cent. The fees for goods in transit are VND500,000 to VND1 million.
The resolution took effect from the beginning of the year.
Many associations and businesses have raised their concerns over the high fees, some even appealing to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on the matter.
The People’s Committee said the fee had been imposed as per the regulations of the Law on Fees and Charges that took effect on January 1, 2017, the Decree No 120 guiding the law’s articles, and Circular No 250 guiding fees and charges for cities and provinces.
In addition, the city’s authorities have referred to Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue’s direction assigning the People’s Committees with the task of imposing fees and charges for the use of government infrastructure, service facilities and public utilities.
The Ministry of Finance had also sent a document to the People’s Committees in October demarcating the border gates and seaports to promulgate a resolution on fee collection for implementation from the beginning of the year.
Ministries and agencies have confirmed that the collection of fees in the Hai Phong City was being done within their rights and as per the law.
The Ministry of Justice has not discovered any irregularities in the resolution.
The People’s Committee said they had organised a meeting in October with the municipal Finance Department, as well as held six other meetings with several hundreds of companies operating in the seaport, import-export and shipping firms, and maritime transport enterprises to gather opinions on the matter.
It also held 99 meetings with people and businesses to enlist their support for the resolution.
The People’s Committee said they had also referred to the fees being collected in other localities with land border gates such as Quang Trị, Tay Ninh, Lao Cai and Quang Ninh. The collection is also based on the businesses.
It said the fees were much lower than that of Lao Cai (a half for 20-feet container and 62.5 per cent for 40-feet container).
It added that Hai Phong City was the first locality in the country to impose fees at seaports and so, could not compare its fees with other localities having seaports.
The collection of fees is in line with its commitments to the World Trade Organization and the Government’s Resolution No 35 on supporting and developing businesses, it said.
It said the collection was not delaying customs clearance of import-export goods, as it took only three minutes to resolve a fee collection application.