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Businesses face difficulties because of CITES imported wood

Sunday, 10/29/2023, 20:24, (GMT+7)

Not being granted CITES, dozens of containers of wood imported from Africa by businesses are being stored at the port. Storage costs of up to tens of millions of dong/day make businesses feel like they are sitting on fire.

Businesses suffered huge losses

The owner of a wood import business in the Northern region confirmed: since December last year, she has heard the news after the 19th Conference of Member States of the Convention on International Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora. in Panama (CITES-19), the Secretariat issued a notice on the amendment and supplementation of flora and fauna species in CITES appendices effective from February 23, 2023. Accordingly, the added plant species include species of the genera genus percussion, incense and mother of pearl distributed in Africa. These are the types of wood that businesses still export to Vietnam.

According to the enterprise, during the 90-day waiting period, trade in these species will still take place and is considered trade in pre-convention specimens. Orders have also been signed before, businesses have also ordered containers to ship to Vietnam or are on their way from Africa to Vietnam.

“As experienced in 2017 when the CITES Secretariat added African rosewood to Appendix II of the CITES Convention, while waiting for its entry into force, wood importers submitted bills of lading and food quarantine certificates. documents to apply for CITES and have been granted, so this time we also feel secure with the above documents. In particular, at a meeting between three parties including CITES Vietnam, the Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association and businesses, in January 2023, a CITES representative said businesses only need to have documents proving that goods leave the port and return to Vietnam. South before February 23, 2023, it can be accepted and granted CITES, but in reality that is not the case. All applications submitted to CITES Vietnam, including those with convention money, were rejected without specifying the reason,” the business representative said.

Also according to the business, Vietnam’s management agency requires a CITES certificate from the exporting country, but for goods leaving African ports before the Convention takes effect, “how can they grant us CITES?” . This can only happen when the business ships the goods back to them, but the risk is huge because the contract has been signed, and the shipping cost from Africa to Vietnam is up to 270 million VND/container. Each business has at least a few dozen containers, many up to hundreds of containers. This cost is very large, and it is difficult for any business to bear.

According to estimates, there are currently about 20 businesses importing wood from Africa having difficulty granting CITES, with hundreds of containers being stored at Cat Lai and Hai Phong ports. “Every day, a 20 – 40 foot container in storage costs from 500,000 – 850,000 VND and the longer it is stored, this amount will increase. In addition, from 2022, wood importing businesses will have a very difficult time because when bringing goods to Vietnam, prices will slip. Now, having to bear this additional cost will be even more difficult. More importantly, reputation with customers and partners will be seriously affected,” said a business representative.

Faced with that difficulty, the Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association has written a petition to the General Department of Forestry and the Vietnam CITES Management Authority to consider and issue CITES import licenses to businesses in the pre-convention categories. to get customs clearance for the goods, but there is still no response.

Châu Phi là một trong những thị trường nhập khẩu gỗ chính của Việt Nam. Nguồn: ITN

Africa is one of Vietnam’s main wood import markets. Source: ITN

What does Vietnam CITES say?

Responding to feedback from businesses, Ms. Ha Thi Tuyet Nga, Director of the Vietnam CITES Management Authority, said that in principle, the day the Convention takes effect, a CITES permit must be obtained on that day. “Pre-convention documents cannot replace CITES permits and are not acceptable for commercial shipments. Pre-Convention Certificates are only used for personal belongings and family property, can be carried with one person without a CITES export permit and are valid for 3 years, while all commercial paper shipments permit within only 6 months,” Ms. Nga emphasized.

Also according to the representative of CITES Vietnam, when the CITES Secretariat finalized the specimens to be included in the Convention, in January 2023, this Agency widely advised organizations, individuals and associations to be careful. when commercial trade in species is about to take effect under the CITES appendix because of the risk of violating the Convention. Instead, wait until the Convention takes effect and apply for a CITES permit from the exporting country before bringing goods to Vietnam. However, businesses did not comply despite warnings. The fact that CITES Vietnam does not grant CITES to businesses importing wood from Africa even though they have submitted dossiers is in accordance with the provisions of the Convention, Ms. Nga affirmed.

Explaining why in 2017 there was a precedent with sandalwood imported from Nigeria, businesses reported that they only had to submit a pre-convention certificate to be granted CITES, Ms. Nga said this was not true. “At that time, I was the one who had to work with the CITES Secretariat and the importing country to prove that all those shipments were exported before the button was pressed (approval for addition to the CITES list – PV) and not must be before the date of entry into force of the Convention. At the same time, I had to sign with them a clause that “this is the only exception and will not create any exceptions in the future”, Ms. Nga informed.

Although “very sharing with businesses”, the Director of Vietnam CITES Management Authority said that for wood shipments imported from Africa to Vietnam even before February 23, 2023 when the Convention has In effect, businesses are forced to accept risks like many businesses that accepted to abandon a shipment of rosewood from Nigeria in 2017 to avoid criminal prosecution as well as having to accept being “refused to continue” by CITES Vietnam. receive the application” because “we have a recommendation”.

However, what businesses expect is for CITES Vietnam to clearly explain the refusal to process the application when the business has submitted it for more than a month. Organizing a working meeting between businesses and CITES Vietnam to clarify the issue and find appropriate solutions is probably very necessary at this time.

(Source: daibieunhandan.vn )