|Outside an auto salon in Vinh Phuc city, Vinh Phuc province__Photo: Nguyen Trong Lich/VNA|
To facilitate its global economic integration, thereby promoting trade liberalization and bringing about socio-economic development opportunities, Vietnam has joined numerous treaties over the recent years. Of them, two important treaties, namely the Free Trade Agreement between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the European Union (EVFTA) and the Free Trade Agreement between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UKVFTA) have an annex on certification of motor vehicles.
The above FTAs all set requirements on facilitation of trade in goods, including provisions on recognition of certificates and results of the conformity assessment granted for motor vehicles and their parts, spare parts and equipment.
In order to implement those FTAs, the Government on August 16 promulgated Decree 60 on inspection and certification of technical safety and environmental protection quality of imported automobiles and automobile parts under treaties to which Vietnam is a contracting party.
After Government issued Decree 116 dated October 17, 2017, specifying conditions for manufacturing, assembly and import of automobiles and provision of automobile warranty and maintenance services, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) has issued several circulars to guide the inspection and certification of technical safety and environmental protection quality of motor vehicles and their parts and equipment. However, these circulars remain silent about procedures for, and methods of, acceptance and recognition of conformity assessment certificates and results granted for motor vehicles and their parts and equipment. The new Decree now guides procedures for developing a database to serve specialized state management agencies’ recognition of conformity assessment certificates and results granted for motor vehicles and their parts and equipment under treaties to which Vietnam is a contracting party, with a view to ensuring transparency, simplifying testing procedures and shortening the testing period for motor vehicles and their parts and equipment.
Procedures for inspection and certification of technical safety and environmental protection quality of motor vehicles
Under the new Decree, a motor vehicle importer is required to prepare and submit one set of dossier of registration for technical safety and environmental protection inspection to the inspection agency. The dossier may take the form of e-dossier and be submitted online. Otherwise, a paper dossier must be hand-delivered to the inspection agency.
For imported automobiles, such dossier must comprise a written registration for technical safety and environmental protection quality inspection of the imported automobile; a sheet of information on the imported automobile; the original certificate of origin granted for each automobile; the original certificate of origin granted for each automobile; vehicle type approval (VTA) certificate; documents on assessment of product quality assurance at the manufacturing establishment, i.e. certificate of proficiency (COP), granted to the automobile manufacturer; certificate of origin (C/O); the automobile manufacturer’s vehicle identification number (VIN) decoding document; commercial invoice enclosed with the commodity list; import declaration form, for paper dossiers, or serial number and date of the import declaration form, for e-dossiers.
At the time of inspection registration, the first-time automobile importer has to fully provide the above documents (particularly for C/O, in case of submission of an e-dossier, the importer is required to submit one copy for each vehicle type on the National Single-Window Portal and additionally submit all original C/Os for all vehicles in the concerned import shipment to the inspection agency before the physical vehicle inspection is carried out). The import declaration form will be submitted as soon as the physical inspection is requested.
Particularly for a vehicle type for which a certificate of technical safety and environmental protection quality of imported motor vehicles has been granted in accordance with this Decree, the importer is required to provide the serial number of such certificate granted by the inspection agency for the vehicle of the same type under the first-time inspection registration dossier so that inspection agency can have a ground for tracing documents to serve the inspection.
When the COP document expires, the importer is required to add a new one. If the importer is unable to provide a new COP document, he/she/it may provide a report on results of the assessment of quality assurance and add a valid COP into the inspection registration dossier within 90 days from the date of expiration of the previous COP document.
Within four working days from the date of completion of the inspection with satisfactory results, if finding the inspection registration dossier complete and valid, the inspection agency will grant an e-certificate of technical safety and environmental protection quality on the National Single-Window Portal (for e-dossiers) or a paper certificate (for paper dossiers) for each vehicle in the whole imported vehicle shipment.
For imported automobile parts, an inspection registration dossier must comprise a written registration for technical safety and environmental protection quality inspection of the imported parts; a sheet of information on the imported parts; photos of part products of each vehicle type (overall photos of the two opposite sides and stamps, labels, brands and symbols on products); COP documents granted for the part manufacturer; VTA certificate; C/O; commercial invoice enclosed with the commodity list; import declaration form, for paper dossiers, or serial number and date of the import declaration form, for e-dossiers.
The inspection agency will inspect the dossier contents within seven working days after receiving fully required documents. If the dossier is invalid, the inspection agency will notify such on the National Single-Window Portal (for e-dossiers) or in writing (for paper dossiers) for the importer to supplement or modify the dossier.
For a type of parts for which a notice of exemption from technical safety quality inspection of imported parts, the importer is not required to make an inspection registration dossier but has to report, once every 12 months, on the importation of such type of parts to the inspection agency for monitoring. The inspection agency may carry out extraordinary inspection of any imported shipment upon detecting a technical safety quality violation or receiving a complaint or denunciation about technical safety quality of imported parts. Within four working days after the inspection registration dossier is considered complete and valid under regulations, the inspection agency will issue an e-notice of inspection exemption on the National Single-Window Portal (for e-dossiers) or a written notice of inspection exemption (for paper dossiers). The validity of such a notice is equivalent to that of the COP document.
Regulations on recall of automobiles
The new Decree specifies two kinds of recall, including recall under manufacturers’ announcements and recall upon requests of inspection agencies.
Requests for recall of automobiles may be made by inspection agencies on the basis of specific evidences and results of the verification of reported information on technical safety and environmental protection quality of imported automobiles.
In case marketed automobiles of an importer are found having technical errors subject to recall, such importer will have to carry out the following activities:
Within five working days after receiving a recall notice from the manufacturer or the inspection agency, the importer will have to notify such in writing to sale agents, requesting them not to sell to the market automobiles subject to the recall without having their errors remedied;
Within 10 working days after receiving a recall notice from the manufacturer or the inspection agency, the importer will have to send to the inspection agency a written report on such contents as causes of technical errors, remedial measures, number of automobiles that must be recalled, and an appropriate recall plan; and take the initiative in implementing and strictly complying with the recall plan and at the same time announce information on the recall plan and the list of automobiles subject to recall on its/his/her website and its/his/her sale agents’ websites in a timely and adequate manner.
The new Decree also defines responsibilities of the inspection agency. Specifically, it is responsible for notifying in writing importers of the receipt of recall plans and requirements on supplementation of recall plans (if any); requesting importers to carry out the recall; providing information on to-be-recalled automobiles on its website; and monitoring and inspecting the recall by importers under recall plans.
Besides, the inspection agency will consider suspending procedures for inspection and certification of technical safety and environmental protection quality of automobiles of the same manufacturer in case importers can provide the evidence of such manufacturer’s failure to coordinate with them in implementing recall plans.
For automobiles subject to recall for which the inspection agency has not yet granted certificates, the inspection agency will have to notify the customs office where import declaration forms are filed of the permission for the importer to temporarily release the imported shipments so as to remedy errors of automobiles subject to the recall. After the importer provides the list of automobiles having their errors remedied under the manufacturer’s regulations, the inspection agency may continue carrying out the procedures for inspection and certification under regulations.
The new Decree takes effect on October 1, 2023, and applies to imported automobile parts from that day and to imported automobiles from August 1, 2025. Its enactment is expected to help ensure the constitutionality, legality, consistency and uniformity of the legal system and facilitate the effective implementation of treaties to which Vietnam has acceded or is a contracting party. At the same time, the explicit provision of competence and procedures for recognition of certificates and COP results granted for motor vehicles and parts and equipment thereof under relevant treaties would create favorable conditions for management agencies, the people and enterprises to conveniently complete relevant administrative procedures.-
 Annex 2-B (on motor vehicles and motor vehicles parts and equipment) to the EVFTA took effect in August 2020, while Annex 2-B (on motor vehicles and motor vehicles parts and equipment) to the UKVFTA came into force in August 2023.