10 outstanding events of Customs in 2016

VCN- The General Department of Vietnam Customs has recently announced 10 outstanding events in 2016, which has shown a comprehensive picture of Customs. The Customs Newspapers proudly introduces them as follows:
10 outstanding events of customs in 2016 The Customs upgrades the tax accounting system
10 outstanding events of customs in 2016 To develop the integrated, concentrated, multi-dimensional IT system
10 outstanding events of customs in 2016 Tax payment through banks: Convenient
10 outstanding events of customs in 2016

1. The implementation of the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 65/2015 / QD-TTg of 17th December 2015 on the functions, tasks, powers and organizational structure of the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Under the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 65/2015/QD-TTg of 17 December 2015 on the functions, tasks, powers and organizational structure of the General Department of Vietnam Customs under the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Finance has issued 15 Decisions on the functions, tasks, powers and organizational structure for the 15 Departments under the General Department of Vietnam Customs to enhance the operational efficiency of Customs authorities, and to ensure te centralized management at all levels. The Customs system has been restructured simply, reasonably and unitedly.

It is notable that there are many decisions on the establishment of the Risk Management Department on the basis of the Risk Management Board, establishment of the Department of Finance and Logistics, establishment of the Department of Examination on the basis of the Center for analysis and classification of exported and imported goods, establishment of the Inspectorate and Audit Department on the basis of the Inspectorate Department; and the Post-Clearance Audit Department was reformed and reconstructed under the project "Strengthening of post-clearance audits to 2020" from the General Department to local Customs Departments.

The Ministry of Finance has also issued Decision 1919/QD-BTC of 6 September 2016 on functions, duties, powers and organizational structure of the provincial, inter-provincial and central Customs Departments. Compared with the previous regulations, this new decision has changed quite a lot about the structure and organization of the Customs Department such as reducing the forces of Customs post-clearance audits and Customs control teams in provinces or cities. In addition, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has issued Directive 3957/CT-TCHQ of 12 May 2016 on accelerating innovation activities of human resource management based on working positions for 2016-2020.

In 2016, Customs has added the Ha Nam Ninh Customs Department under the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 546/QD-TTg of 4 April 2016. This is the 35th Customs Department under the General Department of Vietnam Customs. The Ha Nam Ninh Customs Department is responsible for Customs management in 3 provinces: Ninh Binh, Ha Nam and Nam Dinh.

2. Introduction of the Plan on reforms, development and modernization of Customs for 2016-2020 under Decision No. 1614 / QD-BTC of 19th July 2016.

10 outstanding events of customs in 2016
The modern surveillance system at Noi Bai international airport. Photo: N.Linh.

On 19 July 2016, the Minister of Finance signed Decision No. 1614/QD-BTC to issue the Plan on reforms, development and modernization of Customs for 2016-2020. This is the next 5-year plan to implement the Customs Development Strategy to 2020 under the Prime Minister’s Decision 448/QD-TTg. There are three strategic purposes of Customs in this period:

First, facilitate and control the implementation of Customs management for enterprises, organizations and individuals to promote the security and facilitation of international trade; ensure full revenues, social security and public health.

Second, improve the quality and efficiency of the State management of Customs on the basis of exchange of information and cooperation with Ministries, agencies, local and international organizations involved in the State management of Customs.

Third, enhance the capacity of Customs authorities at all levels to gradually build electronic Customs authorities based on the model of electronic Ministries at the request of the Government.

3. Introduction of the 5-Year Plan on the application of information technology of the General Department of Vietnam Customs for 2016-2020, issued with the Ministry of Finance’s Decision No. 1018/QD-BTC of 12 May 2016.

In the period 2016 - 2020, the General Department of Vietnam Customs should focus on implementing the tasks set out in the Customs Development Strategy to 2020 in the context of drastic changes in the domestic and international market. Regional and international economic integration is becoming stronger, therefore, it requires many reforms in administrative procedures to facilitate trade and improvement in capacity building of Customs authorities in the fight against smuggling, trade fraud to ensure social security. In this context, the comprehensive development of IT in all fields of Customs on the basis of inheriting the achievements in the last 5 years is very important.

Therefore, the 5-Year Plan on the application of information technology of the General Department of Vietnam Customs for 2016-2020 plays an important role in the process of reform and modernization of Customs, bringing a huge effect on socio-economic development of Vietnam in the upcoming time, ensuring effectiveness and efficiency of State management of Customs and facilitating import and export enterprises. The 5-Year Plan on the application of information technology of the General Department of Vietnam Customs for 2016-2020 is the decisive factor in completing the plan of reform and modernization of Customs for 2016-2020 and the Customs Development Strategy of Vietnam to 2020, which is the motivation of administrative procedure reforms under the policies of the Government.

4. The General Department of Vietnam Customs has coordinated with relevant units to advise the Ministry of Finance and the Government to issue Decree 134/2016/ND-CP of 1 September 2016 on provisions and measures to implement the Law on import and export tax.

With 91.30% approval, on 6th April 2016, the National Assembly passed the Draft Law on import and export tax No. 107/2016/QH13. This was an important Draft Law where the Ministry of Finance assigned the General Department of Vietnam Customs to build contents.

The main content of the Draft Law on import and export tax which was modified was to match the commitments and international practice, as well as handle problems arising in practice, facilitating trade, attracting foreign investment, enhancing the competitiveness of domestic and international enterprises and promoting economic growth.

In order to apply this law in practice, 13 Decrees and 1 Government decision have been issued. In particular, there were two important Decrees, including Decree 122/2016/ND-CP on preferential export and import tariffs, the list of goods, the absolute tax rate, the mixed tax, import tax exceeding the quota; and Decree 134/2016/ND-CP detailing a number of provisions and measures to implement the Law on import and export tax.

5. The General Department of Vietnam Customs has hosted and actively coordinated with the specialized management Ministries to implement the project "Solutions for improving effectiveness and efficiency of specialized inspections for exported and imported goods".

The Government’s Resolution 19/NQ-CP and the Prime Minister’s Decision 2026/QD-TTg have indicated requirements of comprehensive reforms of specialized inspections for exported and imported goods in order to reduce the clearance time of goods.

Based on the results of 2015, in 2016, with a key role in supervising the implementation of the tasks assigned by the Prime Minister, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has actively connected, exchanged and made recommendations to Ministries and agencies to quickly deploy innovative solutions to reform specialized inspection activities for exported and imported goods and remove many obstacles of specialized inspections. The Director General of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Mr. Nguyen Van Can has directly worked with the leaders of Ministries such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Development, the Ministry of Transport, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to review the progress of improvement of specialized inspections for exported and imported goods.

Thereby, many laws hindering production and business activities of enterprises have been amended, supplemented, replaced and canceled.

6. The General Department of Vietnam Customs seized many huge smuggling cases.

With the right policies of the leaders of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, along with the deployment of united and flexible solutions, in recent years, Customs has gained many achievements in the prevention and fight against smuggling and commercial fraud.

From 16th October 2016 to 15th November 2016, Customs detected and seized a total of 1,200 violated cases, worth 17.808 billion vnd. The budget revenue reached 14.92 billion vnd, and Customs authorities prosecuted 5 cases and transferred 2 cases to other agencies to prosecute.

From 15th December 2015 to 15th November 2016, Customs detected and seized a total of 14,445 violated cases, worth 391.848 billion vnd and the State budget revenues reached more than 156.438 billion vnd. Customs authorities prosecuted 40 violated cases and transferred 91 cases to other agencies to prosecute.

In particular, there were many huge cases of smuggling ivory, rhino horns, drugs and goods in transit discovered and seized by Customs forces. Specifically, the Customs Branch of Tan Son Nhat International Airport seized an illegal case of importing 4 African rhinoceros horns (31st July 2016); the Anti-smuggling and control team in the North (Team 1- the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department under the General Department of Vietnam Customs) coordinated with the Customs Branch of Noi Bai International Airport to seize 309 kg of ivory through airfreight (30th September 2016). In addition, the Customs Branch of Saigon port, Zone 1 seized an illegal case of importing 500 kg of ivory hidden in 12 hollow wooden blocks (November 2016). Earlier, this case was transferred by the Risk Management Department to implement Customs screening before clearance at the Customs office of the Customs Branch of Saigon port, Zone 1. On 1 December 2016, the Customs Branch of the Customs Branch of Saigon port, Zone 1 coordinated with the Customs Control and C74 of the Ministry of Public Security to conduct physical inspections of 3 containers importing wood and discovered more than 500 kg of ivory inside.

7. The Customs Newspaper launched the English version of Customs News online.

10 outstanding events of customs in 2016
The leaders of the Central Propaganda Board, the Ministry of Finance, the Vietnam Journalists' Association, the General Department of Vietnam Customs and the Customs Newspaper launch the English version of Customs News online. Photo: Huu Linh.

On 29th July 2016, the Customs Newspaper officially launched the English version of Customs News online. The English version of Customs News online includes 7 categories: Headlines (News about the prominent and political matters); Customs (News about the activities of Vietnam Customs); Finance (News about the field of finance, money and budget); Regulations (News about legal policies); Anti-Smuggling (News about the anti-smuggling and anti-commercial fraud activities); Import- Export (News about the import-export activities); World Customs (News about Customs of foreign countries).

The opening of the English version of Customs News Online will create an effective communication channel among the Vietnamese Finance-Customs and business community, FDI enterprises and foreign investors. Therefore, readers will understand more about the provisions related to Finance-Customs, thereby, expanding opportunities to attract investment in Vietnam and enhancing compliance with Customs legislation of enterprises when investing in Vietnam.

8. The Government issued Decision No. 1969 / QD-TTg on the action plan to implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (the TFA Agreement).

The TFA Agreement was approved by member countries of WTO at the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali (Indonesia) in December 2014. To date, there have been 96 out of 109 member countries ratifying the Agreement. Thus, it is expected that the Agreement will take effect in early 2017. This is a very important agreement in promoting international trade, reducing the time and cost of commercial transactions across borders. According to a study of the World Bank, the implementation of the TFA agreement will reduce by 20% transaction costs for Vietnamese businesses, boosting investment and creating jobs for human resources in Vietnam .

On 13th October 2016, the Prime Minister approved the plan on preparation and implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement for the purpose of full implementation of the Agreement and facilitation of legitimate trade partners of Vietnam. This is an important basis for Ministries and agencies, including the General Department of Vietnam Customs to implement the assigned tasks. Then, on 29 November 2016, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank and the General Department of Vietnam Customs organized a seminar with the theme "Building the action plan to implement the TFA agreements under commitments with WTO ", with the goal of reducing clearance costs for enterprises.

With the remarkable benefits and advantages that the TFA Agreement brings, the promulgation of the Plan as mentioned above and the introduction of the National Steering Committee on the National Single Window and trade facilitation, Vietnam has not only proved to be an active and innovative country in international cooperation but it has also created more favourable conditions for enterprises in trade and investment in line with the Government's objectives in Resolution 19- 2016/NQ-CP on the tasks and key measures to improve the business environment, enhance national competitiveness for 2016-2017 and target to 2020.

9. The issue of regulations on management and use of the hotline of the General Department of Vietnam Customs in Decision No. 3899/QD-TCHQ of 10 November 2016 of the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

In order to improve discipline and prevent corruption, and harassment; effectively support enterprises, organizations and individuals in the field of export and import; exit, entry or transit; handle violated cases in a timely fashion, on 10 November 2016, the General Department of Vietnam Customs issued Decision No. 3899/QD-TCHQ on regulations of management and use of the hotline of the General Department of Vietnam Customs. These regulations took effect from 15th November 2016.

Under these regulations, the hotline of the General Department of Vietnam Customs is 19009299 hotline, which is publicized on the Portal of Vietnam Customs and other mass media. The hotline includes 279 branches (assigned for 3 subordinate units under the General Department of Vietnam Customs, including: the Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department, the Customs Surveillance and Management Department, and the Inspectorate and Audit Department; and 35 Customs Departments of provinces and cities) to receive and process reports of individuals and organizations related to Customs. Specifically, the hotline receives the following contents: (i) Denunciation and reports of crime; (ii) Information about smuggling and commercial fraud; (iii) Information about acts of harassment and other negative acts of Customs officers; and (iv)Information about the obstacles in the implementation of Customs procedures.

The hotline ensures operations smoothly, 24 hours per day and 7 days per week; and ensures confidentiality including telephone number, address and contents of organizations and individuals report. The content of calls through the hotline shall be recorded, stored and managed in a confidential mode. The contents of receiving and processing reports shall be also recorded on the management software of the General Department of Vietnam Customs’ hotline to ensure the quality of processing reports through the hotline.

10. The establishment of the National Steering Committee for the ASEAN Single Window, the National Single Window and trade facilitation.

On 4 October 2016, the Prime Minister, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed Decision 1899/QD-TTg to establish the National Steering Committee for the ASEAN Single Window, the National Single Window and trade facilitation chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Vuong Dinh Hue.

The National Steering Committee is an inter-agency group to help the Prime Minister direct, guide, inspect and organize the implementation of the ASEAN Single Window (ASW), the National Single Window (NSW) under the provisions of the Agreement and the Protocol on the formulation and implementation of the ASEAN Single Window; and implement united measures to facilitate trade and exchange of goods across borders. The scope of activities of the National Steering Committee is larger than before. Specifically, in addition to the task of performing the ASEAN Single Window and the National Single Window, the National Steering Committee has also implemented many tasks to reform, facilitate trade and exchange of goods across borders.

10 outstanding events of customs in 2016 More than 200,000 records resolved through the National Single Window

VCN- By the end of November 2016, there were more than 204,000 records of 8,200 enterprises implemented ...

In the progress of trade facilitation, the National Steering Committee is expected to enhance the efficiency of specialized inspections for exported and imported goods. Currently, this is one of the key issues in trade facilitation, which has been regulated by the Prime Minister in a separate project. The National Steering Committee with the key task of trade facilitation will help the Government reform and simplify administrative procedures in the field of specialized inspections for exported and imported goods.

By Vietnam Customs/ Hoang Anh

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