Import from Vietnam

It is widely known that the European Union has strong trade ties with Asia, especially China. Similarly, the EU-Vietnam economic ties become stronger every year. The situation is similar in the United States, especially in recent years, influenced by the country’s policies. In this article, we present essential information about import from Vietnam.

EU-Vietnam Economic and Trade Agreement (EVFTA)

On August 1, 2020, an economic and trade agreement signed between the European Union and Vietnam, commonly known as EVFTA or FTA, came into force. This agreement aims to facilitate trade and investment in the Member States. According to the agreement, 99% of customs duties on both sides will be lifted.

Since the agreement came into force, more than 60% of import duties have been lifted and more than 70% reduced. Not all duties will be eliminated immediately. The planned customs duties reductions from and to Vietnam are expected to take around seven years.

Examples of products for which the duty rate will no longer apply:

  • textiles
  • wines and spirits (after seven years)
  • beef (after three years)
  • car parts (after seven years).

Check the European Union tariff schedule and Vietnam tariff schedule.

Examples of products for which tariff quotas will be established:

  • sugar and products with high sugar content
  • rice
  • surimi (fish products)
  • canned tuna
  • various starches.

Certificate of Origin

Origin clauses were added to the contract so that the product imported into the European Union could be exempt from due duties. To be qualified as “duty-free,” one of the two conditions must be met:

  1. the good must be entirely manufactured in Vietnam
  2. or sufficiently processed in Vietnam

For this purpose, you will need a declaration of the origin of the product (Certificate of Origin), which contains an original description of the registered exporter. This declaration protects the European market mainly against Chinese products claiming to be Vietnamese.

A product is not considered local if:

  • packages were split or combined
  • textiles were pressed
  • animals were slaughtered
  • products were diluted or dehydrated
  • goods were stoned or peeled
  • products were mixed.

A full list of prohibited actions can be found in Article 6, 1 (Insufficient Working or Processing) of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

If the product does not qualify as “local,” it will be covered by the standard customs duty.

If you are not sure if there is a custom charge for the imported product from Vietnam, you can check this information on the website Access2Markets. Besides, on the website, you will find information about the required import documents in a selected country of the European Union.

Get to know the rules of importing into UE – European Commission page.

Import from Vietnam to the EU – What documents are needed for customs clearance in the European Union?

  • a commercial invoice (translated into the language of the country to which you import goods)
  • packing list – package list containing the specification of the transported goods
  • certificate of origin
  • bill of lading
  • certificates required in the European Union (“CE certificate”)
  • additional documents required in the destination country.

Trade between the United States and Vietnam

As with the European Union, trade between the United States and Vietnam continues to grow. In 2019, Vietnam was the 7th biggest exporter to the US. In 2001, the United States and Vietnam signed the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA), which includes the terms of trade.

The US mainly imports from Vietnam goods such as:

  • clothing
  • electric machines
  • footwear
  • furniture
  • bedsheets
  • other textiles.

Import from Vietnam to the US – basic information

A tariff is imposed on products imported from Vietnam into the US if they are worth over $2,500. You can find the tariff schedule here.

In the US, products entering a country must have a label of origin, compared to a declaration for the European Union. Vietnamese origin label is mandatory. You have to mark your consignment with the inscription “Made in Vietnam.” Not placing a label of origin is a federal crime. It is regulated by: the United States Code, Title 19, Chapter 4, Section 1304, and Country of Origin Marking (19 CFR 134). The appropriate labeling rules are also included in Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) and The Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulation (UPLR).

Some products cannot be imported into the US, and some require a special license. This mostly refers to chemicals and other highly explosive products.

Each product imported into the country requires different documentation. Information on this matter is available on the pages of the relevant government agency. You can read more about it on the official US government website.

The US Customs and Border Protection has prepared a guide about imports into the US.

What documents are needed when importing from Vietnam to the USA?

  • commercial invoice
  • bill of lading
  • list of items
  • certificates and other documents required for importing a specific product, like the ISF10+2 document.

Import from Vietnam – conclusion

Trade agreements with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam contributed to increased imports from that country, especially in the clothing industry, for both the US and the EU Member States. The EVFTA agreement, which eliminated most customs duties, may enhance the position of Vietnam as the EU’s trade partner. If you import goods from Vietnam, one of the most important things to remember is to obtain all documentation, especially the label and declaration of origin. In case of any doubts, it is best to contact the customs agency.