Breaking Trade News Alert from NHLA

Bundle Tag Requirements for Vietnam
“Made in the USA”

Yesterday, NHLA received word from our friends at the American Hardwood Export Council of issues with shipments to Vietnam concerning the exact requirements for bundle tags. It appears there have been no major changes in the actual requirements themselves since 2017, but a new decree on illegal timber issued in October of 2020 has changed the level of enforcement in an effort to “tighten Vietnamese timber legality assurances” in response to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) launching its Section 301 Trade Investigation against Vietnam for illegal timber trade late last year.

Linked below, you will find English translations of the requirements themselves, but as different importers in Vietnam are making different requests, the US recommends that “U.S. exporters should consult with their respective importer’s specific information to be filled in the bundle tags to comply with Vietnam’s regulations.”

It is also imperative that bundle tags identify the origin of the lumber as “Made in the USA.”

Read the Customs Law here.

Read the Decree of 102 here.

A summary of the regulations themselves as provided by the US Agricultural Trade Office is below:

Agr. Specialist Kiet Thanh Vo, HCMC Agr. Affairs Office

Dear John,
Regarding concerns on the bundle tags issue, please find below a summary that we’ve pulled out from related Vietnam’s laws and regulations and from our industry contacts.

There are 3 main regulatory documents related to this issue, including:
1) Decree 43/2017/ND-CP issued by the Government of Vietnam (GOV) dated April 14, 2017, on good labeling
2) Law of Customs on June 23, 2014
3) Decree 102/2020/ND-CP, providing guidance on the Vietnam Timber Legality Assurance System

+ According to Decree 43, goods imported to Vietnam, including wood materials (logs, lumbers, timbers, etc.), are subject to labeling requirements. Please refer to the GAIN report VM7031 for further details. Industry contacts note that bundle tags are usually considered as labels of wood materials. Common information found on the tags includes bundle number, species, and origin. The bundle number usually refers to a log list (or packing list) that provides full details of the shipment.

+ According to the Law of Customs, depending on various factors, shipments to Vietnam will be assigned to one of the three channels: green, yellow, or red. Shipments assigned to the green and yellow line can be released without site inspections, meaning they are considered to fully comply with import regulations, including labeling requirements.
Meanwhile, those falling to the red line are subject to site inspections and as a result, labeling compliance is one of the criteria that customs officers will inspect. Business contacts noted that imported wood materials are mostly assigned to the red line.

+ Decree 102 provides guidance on the import and export of timber, including tracing of wood origin and other relevant legal documents. Accordingly, customs officers are more vigilant and stricter with the bundle tags.

Industry contacts noted that although Decree 43 has been in effect since June 1, 2017, Vietnam’s customs officers were quite flexible with American wood materials until Decree 102 came into force. We are aware that local associations including VIFOREST and HAWA are following up on the implementation of Decree 102 to assist their members.

In short, we recommend that U.S. exporters should consult with their respective importer’s specific information to be filled in the bundle tags to comply with Vietnam’s regulations.

Attached, please find the Law of Customs and Decree 102 for your kind reference. (see links above)

We hope you find this information useful. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.
Best regards,
Kiet Vo
Agricultural Specialist
Office of Agricultural Affairs | U.S. Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City |
T: 84.28-3520 4630 | DL: 84.28-3520 4633 | C: 84-908 44 65 88 | Fax: 84.28-3520 4636 | [email protected]

*NHLA would like to thank the American Hardwood Export Council for their work on this matter and for keeping us informed.