Correcting policy to avoid overlaps in inspection and supervision at land border gates

VCN - Currently, the draft Decree amending and supplementing Decree No. 08/2015/ND-CP dated January 21, 2015 is being submitted to the Government for signing and promulgation of amendments related to customs inspection and supervision procedures for means of transport on exit, entry and transit in the draft Decree that was amended and supplemented to meet the requirements of administrative procedure reform.
Officers of Ha Tien Border Gate Customs Branch (Kien Giang Customs Department) supervise export goods through the border gate. Photo: Dang Nguyen
Officers of Ha Tien Border Gate Customs Branch (Kien Giang Customs Department) supervise export goods through the border gate. Photo: Dang Nguyen

Clear responsibility to avoid causing trouble for businesses

Proposing to the Ministry of Finance of voters in Ha Tinh province to amend and supplement Decree No. 59/2018/ND-CP dated April 20, 2018 amending Decree No. 08/2015/ND-CP guiding the Law Customs on customs procedures, inspection, supervision and control; Decree No. 112/2014/ND-CP dated November 21, 2014 stipulating the management of land border gates to avoid overlaps and inadequacies in inspection, supervision, control and implementing procedures for means of transport on entry and exit of the Customs office, to avoid causing trouble for people and businesses.

Voters of Ha Tinh province specifically stated that Clause 2, Article 7 of the 2014 Customs Law stipulates that, in the area of customs operations, the Customs authority is responsible for inspecting, supervising and controlling goods, means of transport and handling of violations of the law on customs.

At the same time, in Clause 1, Article 88 of the Customs Law 2014 stipulates that, within the area of customs operation, the customs authority is responsible for customs inspection, supervision and control of goods and means of transport to actively prevent and combat smuggling and illegal cross-border transportation of goods.

Responding to voters' petitions, the Ministry of Finance said that the Ministry was assigned to assume the prime responsibility for developing the Decree amending and supplementing Decree No. 59/2018/ND-CP and Decree No. 08/2015/ND-CP.

During the formulation of the Decree, the Ministry of Finance strictly complied with the provisions of the Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents and documents detailing the implementation of the Law on Promulgation of Documents. Furthermore, collecting more opinions from ministries, branches, relevant agencies, businesses and people. The comments have been synthesized and carefully studied by the Ministry of Finance.

Currently, the draft Decree amending and supplementing Decree No. 08/2015/ND-CP is being submitted to the Government for promulgation, in which, amendments related to customs inspection and supervision procedures for means of transport on exit, entry, and transit in the draft Decree, which was amended and supplemented to meet the requirements of administrative procedure reform; in accordance with the provisions of the 2014 Customs Law, the customs authority shall assume the prime responsibility for carrying out customs procedures, inspecting, supervising and controlling customs for means of transport on exit or entry within the area of customs operation.

The Ministry of Finance commented on amending the Decree on land border gate management

Regarding the proposal to amend and supplement Decree No. 112/2014/ND-CP, the Ministry of Finance said that Decree No. 112/2014/ND-CP, drafted by the Ministry of National Defense, is currently being revised. However, the draft Decree amending and supplementing the Decree stipulates that border guards shall control entry and exit activities for people; exit, entry, transit, temporary import for re-export, temporary export for re-import for means of transport. In addition, the current control of means of transport on exit, entry and in transit by the Customs and Border Guards is not consistent with the Party's guidelines, international treaties, provisions of the Law on Vietnam Border Guard and the Law on Customs.

Specifically, In Resolution No. 18-NQ/TW dated October 25, 2017 of the Central Committee on continuing to renovate and reorganize the organizational apparatus of the political system to be lean, effective, and efficient, it is emphasized the solution: “Review, supplement and perfect the functions, tasks, powers, working relationships between organizations in the political system, overcome the overlapping situation, so one organization, one person can take on many tasks, but one job is mainly chaired by one organization and one person.”

In Resolution No. 27-NQ/TW dated November 9, 2022 of the Central Committee on continuing to build and perfect the Socialist rule of law State in the new period, it continued to affirm that this is one of the solutions to renovate the operation of the Government; local government, building a state administration serving the people, with professionalism, the rule of law, modernity, efficiency and effectiveness, which clearly states: "implementing the principle that one job is assigned to one unit to take main responsibility, and coordinate with relevant agencies in the implementation; step by step abolish the inter-sectoral coordination mechanism, associated with clearly defining the responsibilities of the head".

The International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures 1999 (to which Vietnam is a member) stipulates that “All goods, including means of transport, entering or leaving the Customs territory, regardless of whether they are subject to customs duties and other taxes, are subject to customs inspection.”

According to the provisions of Clause 3, Article 34 of the Agreement on Border Management Regulations and Land Border Gate between the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Lao People's Democratic Republic on the responsibilities of Customs authorities: “3. The border-gate customs offices of each country shall perform the following tasks:

a) Presiding and coordinating with specialized state management agencies at their own border gates in carrying out procedures, inspecting and supervising import and export activities of goods and articles; carrying out entry and exit procedures for vehicles at border gates; carrying out control and prevention of smuggling, trade fraud, illegal transportation of goods and items across the border;

b) Coordinating with the other country's border-gate customs office in solving problems related to the import and export of goods, articles and vehicles through the border gates of the two countries”.

Clause 5, Article 14 of the Law on Vietnam Border Guard stipulates the tasks of the Border Guard: "Control entry and exit at the border gate managed by the Ministry of National Defense and control border crossing in accordance with the law". Clause 2, Article 15 of the Law on Vietnam Border Guard stipulates the border guard's powers: "to inspect and control vehicles when there are signs of law violations, to handle law-breaking vehicles in border areas according to the provisions of law”.

Thus, according to the above provisions in the Law on Vietnam Border Guard, the Border Guards only inspect and control vehicles when there are signs of legal violation.

The Law on Customs has assigned the Customs authority to perform the state management of means of entry, exit and transit in Articles 1, 2, 7, 12, 35, and 88. In the area of customs operations, the customs authority is responsible for inspecting, supervising and controlling means of transport and handling violations of the law on customs; in case goods and means of transport have not yet been brought out of the area of customs operation, but agencies, organizations or individuals detect acts of smuggling or illegally transporting goods across borders, such agencies, organizations or individual shall immediately report it to the customs authority for inspection and handling.

Procedures for inspection, supervision and control of means of transport on exit, entry and in transit are specified in Decree No. 08/2015/ND-CP detailing and implementing the Customs Law on procedures, inspection, supervision and control have been amended and supplemented in Decree No. 59/2018/ND-CP of the Government.

The Ministry of Finance said that in order to avoid overlapping functions and tasks, avoid causing troubles to people and businesses, and simultaneously improve the effectiveness of state management, when participating in commenting on the draft Decree amending the Decree No. 112/2014/ND-CP of the Government on land border gate management, the Ministry of Finance has requested the Ministry of National Defense to amend the provisions of Decree No. 112/ 2014/ND-CP to ensure compliance with the Party's guidelines, international treaties to which Vietnam is a contracting party, and is in line with the Law on Customs and the Law on Border Guard of Vietnam.

At the same time, the Ministry of Finance also proposed to annul a number of contents specified in the Prime Minister's Decision No. 15/2019/QD-TTg dated March 28, 2019 on the implementation of border guard electronic procedures at border gates managed by the Ministry of National Defense and Decree No. 34/2014/ND-CP dated April 29, 2014 of the Government on the Regulation on land border areas of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to ensure the consistency of the legal system.

By N.Linh/Phuong Linh

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