The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade recently issued a circular stipulating the certificates of origin (C/O) rules in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). CPTPP has some different clauses compared to other free trade agreements (FTAs) that Vietnam has signed, according to the Ministry’s Import-Export Department.

The differences include clauses related to rule of origin of goods and rules of origin of refurbished and recycled goods. The circular will take effect from March 8, 2019. Goods exported from Vietnam would be applied with the C/O mechanism by agencies and organisations authorised by the Ministry, according to some reports.

The transition time to implement the mechanism of exporters eligible for self-certification of goods origin is carried out from 5 to10 years under the Ministry’s guidance. The mechanism of Vietnamese importers certifying their origin is implemented after five years from the effective date of the CPTPP.

For Vietnamese goods exported before the effective date of this circular, C/O-granting agencies and organisations shall consider granting C/O forms to enjoy tariff preferences under the agreement and regulations of importing member countries. Only when the origin requirements are met can Vietnamese products be exported to new markets to enjoy preferential tariffs. This is a strict rule of origin to prevent countries that are not members of the agreement from taking advantage of tax incentives. CPTPP rules of origin for yarns are a big bottleneck for the industry. Vietnam still has to import nearly 99 per cent cotton, 1.3 mn tonne of fibre and 80 per cent fabric.