Amending Circular and rectifying Customs brokers’ operation

 VCN-  Currently, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has revised many provisions related to Customs broker’s operation in Draft Circular amending and supplementing Circular 12/2015/TT-BTC of the Ministry of Finance.
amending circular and rectifying customs brokers operation Customs brokers have not yet strictly complied with regulations
amending circular and rectifying customs brokers operation Customs brokers have not made use of rights and ability
amending circular and rectifying customs brokers operation Strictly managing the operation of Customs brokerage agents
amending circular and rectifying customs brokers operation
Customs operation at Da Nang Seaport Customs Branc. Photo: N.L

Rectify Customs brokers that inaccurately operate

One of the limitations of Customs brokers’ operation is that they do not operate as brokers. Customs brokers do not sign broker contracts, do not name themselves in declarations, and they are engaged in the provision of services for declaration and transportation, but they only use introduction letters of goods owners for carrying out customs procedures for each consignment. This changes the nature of the Customs brokers’ operation.

According to the assessment of Customs Control and Supervision Department, currently, the number of Customs brokers using their code and signature in the Customs declarations is still insignificant; they mostly use account and digital signature of customers and introduction letters of goods owners to carry our Customs procedures (the Customs broker’s staff becomes the goods owners’ staff).

Besides, there are situations when although individuals have not been granted the Customs broker staff code, they still implement Customs procedures with competitive commission, causing difficulties in Customs management and for Customs brokers’ operations which are recognized and granted codes.

Accordingly, goods owners will sign the blank introduction letters for Customs brokers’ staff or other individuals, so that these individuals will use in carrying out procedures with the Customs agencies.

The granting and use of the blank introduction letters do not comply with regulations, leading to difficulties for the Customs agencies in management and supervision.

However, current legal documents on the sanction of administrative violations and enforcement of Customs administrative decisions in Decree 127/2013/ND-CP, Decree 45/2016/ND-CP and guidance documents, have not stipulated the handling of violation for the case of submitting the blank introduction letters to the Customs agency to carry out Customs procedures, so that Customs officers have no legal framework for handling.

In order to handle the granting and use of the goods owner's introduction letter for carrying out Customs procedures as the staff of goods owner’s company, the regulations on goods owner’s responsibility are expected to be supplemented in the draft Circular (supplementing in Clause 5 Article 14 of Circular 12/2015/TT-BTC).

The goods owner’s responsibility will be specified as follows: “Appointing a representative to directly carry out Customs procedures and other administrative procedures with the Customs agency; the representative must be a laborer as stipulated in Clause 1, Article 3 of the Labor Code. In case where Customs procedures are carried out through Customs broker, the Customs broker shall be on behalf of goods owner to implement procedures under the broker contract which was signed between customs broker and goods owner”.

Sanction for failure to report on time limit

In addition, one of the matters that will be rectified is for Customs brokers that irregularly report their operation to the Customs agency.

Accordingly, the draft Circular will stipulate that on the 5th of the first month of the following quarter, the Customs broker has responsibility for reporting on its operation to provincial and municipal Customs departments where it registers business or other necessary information for Customs broker’s operation requested by the Customs agency.

In case where Customs brokers fail to report within the time limit, they shall be sanctioned in accordance with provisions in Clause 2, Article 6 of the Government's Decree No. 127/2013/ND-CP and relevant revised documents, which are amended and supplemented in Clause 3 Article 1 of Decree 45/2016/ ND-CP.

Also, the Draft has amended some provisions related to the recovery of Customs broker staff code such as: Customs broker’s staff shall be criminally prosecuted for their acts of violating provisions of the law; shall be sanctioned for the acts of directly or indirectly participating in smuggling, trade frauds, tax evasion or bribery for Customs officers when carrying out Customs procedures.

In case where the Customs broker staff permit other persons to use their codes or they use the other person’s codes, or use the codes that are not granted by the General Department of Vietnam Customs; or they permit other persons to use their dossiers to carry out procedures for recognition as Customs broker, or the granting of Customs broker, the code shall also be revoked.

In order to ensure for the accurate operation of Customs brokers, the Draft Circular amending and supplementing Circular 12/2015/TT-BTC also provides regulations related to the examination and issuance of certificate for Customs declaration; issuance of Customs broker staff code; the suspension and termination of Customs broker’s operation.

Currently, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has gathered opinions of local Customs departments and enterprises on the draft Circular.

By Ngoc Linh/Ngoc Loan

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