The conference had an importance role practically and theorily in the event that The Agreement on facilitating trading of WTO (TFA) has come into force since February 22th, 2017, marking the great development of WTO and international business. Being one of the members approving Decree 2014 on putting TFA on the list of Agreement in Apendix 1A of Marrakesh Agreement 1994, Vietnam is inneed of organizing proper programs and plans to utilize the opportunities and overcome the difficulties and challenges incurred when implementing TFA.
Attending the conference, there were of Prof. Nathalie RUBIO, Director of International and Social Training and Researching Center (CERIC), Aix-Marseille University (France); Mr. Roman WINDISCH, Deputy Country Director, SECO Vietnam; Mr. Matthieu PENOT, Attaché, European Union Delegation to Vietnam, researchers and experts in international trading legal. Besides, there were representatives from Vietnam: Mr Nguyen Toan, Director of Department of International Cooperation, Vietnam Custom Directorate together with representatives from other national administrative departments, business leaders, lawyers, professors, experts and researchers working in the field of international business in general and facilitating trading as well. In addition to experts in legal issues, a large number of researchers on trading, economics, management science were also attracted to the conference, which led to the diversified perpectives on facilitating trading.
Prof. Nathalie Rubio, Director of CETRIC presenting souvenirs to Assoc. Prof. Bui Anh Tuan, President of Foreign Trade University
Presenting opening speech at the Conference, Assoc. Prof Bui Anh Tuan, President of Foreign Trade University stated that international cooperation in researching was one of the strategic direction of the university so as to improve the competency of lecturers. The President also emphasized that the success of this conference, a part of the events celebrating 5 years of the Falcuty of Law, proved the expertise maturity of the Falcuty.
Assoc. Prof Bui Anh Tuan delivering the open speech
Prof. Nathalie Rubio, on behalf of CERIC, then delivered acknowledgement speech to Foreign Trade University for hosting the conference. Prof. Nathalie Rubio also hoped that this international conference will put the first brick for the future cooperation between two sides in training and researching.
Mr Roman Windisch, Deputy Director, SECO Hanoi presenting at the conference
Finally, Mr Roman Windisch emphasized the importance of Vietnam – Swiss relationship and the sponsorship, within WTI/SECO framework, for Foreign Trade University is the typical example for the commitment from Swiss relating to their technical support available for developing countries, especially, for Vietnam. Mr Roman Windisch also hoped that the same cooperations would be continuously promoted in the future.
Prof. Nathalie Rubio, Director of CERIC delivered the open speech
The topics of the conference analyzed from different angles, piqued a large amount of participants’ interest. At the beginning of the conference, Prof Marie-Pierre Lanfranchi, Aix-Marseille University delivered the first report. Emphasizing on the lack of a specific definition of trade facilitating, Prof Marie-Pierre Lanfranchi, at first, explained this term, then raising the problem, especially in the case of EU. Finally, Prof Marie-Pierre Lanfranchi stated that this conference was a valued opportunity for experts to discuss on trade facilitating theoretically and practically. These problems related to some main points such as: the importance of law system on commulgating and implementing policies on trade facilitating, aspects of global law doctrines relating to the mobility of legal terms; the adaptation of national law to international law.
Prof. Marie-Pierre Lanfranchi presented open speech
Guest speakers and representatives then presented and openly discussed on given topics. After four continuously sessions with 13 presentations, 3 main issues were discussed: Trade facilitating and WTO agreements on trade facilitating; Experiences in trade facilitating from EU, Legal issues, reality and proposals for trade facilitating in Vietnam. During the first session about Trade facilitating and WTO agreements on trade facilitating, under the moderation of PhD Nguyen Minh Hang, Head of Faculty of Law, Foreign Trade University and Prof. Nathalie Rubio, Director of CERIC, Vietnamese guest speakers analyzed the problems in both law and economic framework. Assoc. Prof Trinh Thi Thu Huong, Deputy Head of Faculty of Economics and International Business, Foreign Trade University, evaluated the competence of Vietnam logistic system and emphasized the importance of transportation and logistics infrastructures in trade facilitating by analyzing different sets of indexes on trade facilitating and logistics.
Ms Ly Van Anh, Deputy Head of Faculty of Law, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, presented the relationship between TFA with other WTO agreements and other FTA as well, then digged deep to solve the problems of issuing national law corresponding with those international laws in Vietnam.
In the meantime, Prof. Hugues Hellio, Artois University, France delivered his analysis on the relationship between trade facilitating and environment protection and concluded that the implementation of TFAs not only didn’t limit the environment protection rights but also supported member countries to keep their environment sustainable.
The first session
On the second session, under the moderation of Prof. Marie-Pierre LANFRANCHI, Aix-Marseille University, the international and Vietnamese experts openly discussed on the various experiences of EU from commulgating to implementing their policies on trade facilitation and settling the disputes at EU court as well. First of all, Prof. Nathalie Rubio presented the experiences in trade facilitating on the aspects of Vietnam - relating dispute settlements at EU Justice Court. These dispute settlements enabled us to make EU legal system clearer at some points, for instances: power division, antidumping laws, which was really helpful for Vietnam and Vietnam enterprises to orient their policies to attain profit when doing business in EU. Besides, after researching on the “single door” custom clearance mechanism and the idea of implementing “Prioritized Enterprise Program” in EU, PhD Nguyen Minh Hang and PhD Phan Thi Thu Hien both agreed that the above policies were valued lessons for Vietnam to simplify our custom clearance and promote trading activities, investment and business environment of Vietnam.
The third session moderated by Assoc. Prof Tran Thi Thuy Duong, Ho Chi Minh City Law University, continued to discuss about the European experiences on facilitating trading. In general, Prof Ahmed Mahiou, Aix – Marseille University, France, Former Head of Law Department Alger (Algeria), member of Institutes of International Law and Former President of Board of International Law, United Nation, analyzed the cooperation between Europe and Algeria in commercializing, which led to the valued experiences for Vietnam on promoting cooperation between Vietnam – EU. Especially, from the perspective of a researcher on management science, Assoc. Prof. Le Thi Thu Thuy, Vice President, Foreign Trade University emphasized that the reciprocal relationship between developing supply chains and trade facilitating, analyzed from the experiences in developing supply chains when facilitating trade of Sweden and Thailand. Finally, Ph.D Nguyen Ngoc Ha, lecturer from Faculty of Law presented the importance of private sector on facilitating trade. Even though the major of trade facilitating methods has been issued by governments or international organizations, the private sector has their own votes. Their vote is their very participation in interviews, meetings and activities enhancing the power of authorities or in their reclaimation relating to trade facilitation. From the experiences of EU relating to the participation of private sector in trade facilitating, Ph.D Nguyen Ngoc Ha proposed that Vietnam may issue a policy allowing private sector to ask their government to investigate foreign countries’ barrier against trade facilitation; solve the limitation of “ Prioritized Enterprise Program” and set up policies allowing regular interview with private sector.
Being the moderator of sesstion 4, Prof. Nathalie Rubio, Director of CERIC, together with 4 guest speakers, Mr Nguyen Toan, Assoc. Prof Tran Thi Thuy Duong, Editor in Chief, Legal Science Magazine, Ho Chi Minh City Law University, Ms Nguyen Thi Hong Phuc, Haiphong Custom Department , Assoc. Prof. Le Thi Thu Ha, Foreign Trade University, discussed about the pratical issues on facilitating trading in Vietnam. Mr Nguyen Toan pointed out the difficulties and challenges, including the internal and external factors towards Vietnam and Custom Department on implementing regulations of TFA. To implement TFA effectively, Mr Nguyen Toan emphasized the cooperation between nations in setting policy and implementing it.
Looking into details, Assoc. Prof Tran Thi Thuy Duong shared about the problems relating to food hygiene that Vietnam is facing to when implementing TFA. In the mean time, Assoc. Prof Le Thi Thu Ha pointed out the challenges relating to intellectual property for Vietnam in TFA. From the point of view of Custom officer, Ms Nguyen Thi Hong Phuc shared about the practical experiences of the process of automatic custom clearance in Haiphong in order to evaluate the achievements and limitation and propose the solutions to deploy electronic custom clearance formalities.
The discussion sessions picked the interests from a lot of researchers, lawyers and legal experts. A big number of questions relating to TFAs, European experiences from experts, especially the question relating to simplify custom formalities, upgrade the infrastructure and logistic system, improve national conpetitive advantages, were answered by guest speakers, which helped to clearly understand the regulations of TFAs and suggest the solutions to the problems that Vietnam is facing to on implementing TFAs.
“Facilitating trading is not a destination, it is a process instead”
As emphasized by Mr. Nguyen Toan at the Conference: “Facilitating trading is not a destination, it is a process instead” therefore, in addition to the cooperation among nations, regions, that of public and private, business leaders’ contribution is vital. Even though having different points of view on implementing TFAs, all guest speakers came to an agreement that the implementation of TFA’s regulations didn’t harm the rights of TFAs members but brings a great number of potential opportunities to promote free trade. The last discussion session triggered a lot of questions as the research topics for the future such as the controlling at territory border, the maintenance of the balance between security and profit towards exported and imported goods. In the closing speech, Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Ha summarized the issues discussed at the Conference, including pratical issues and theory about facilitating trading within Vietnam and Europe, and the critical analysis from legal, economic and administrative perspectives. In the mean time, she also summarized the proprosals into three mains categories: politic proposals, systematic proposals and others.
The Conference came to an end and left the good impression for participants. With the results obtained during the open discussion and the practical experience shared, the organizers hoped to bring valued lessons for Vietnam in implementing and abiding by the regulations of TFAs, helping to facilitate trading activities and improve business and investing environment locally. The organizers also hoped to provide useful information for Vietnam enterprises for them to utilize the opportunities from TFAs and make the contribution the the improvement of the formality and custom process when signing TFAs. The conference potentially starts the cooperation between departments, universities, institutes to acknowlegding the commercial law and international commercial law research in Vietnam.