Customs cooperation in the trend of global trade liberalization

VCN - Balancing the factors of ensuring trade security and facilitating trade is a new requirement for the Customs agency in the trend of global trade liberalization. A very important issue today is how to correctly forecast trends in trade and investment relations to accurately plan, directions and determine appropriate international cooperation priorities.

Actively participate in shaping cooperation mechanisms and institutions

Up to this point, within the multilateral framework, Vietnam Customs has participated in negotiating, signing and implementing about 30 documents and cooperation agreements with World Customs Organization (WCO), World Trade Organization (WTO) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Within the bilateral framework, Vietnam Customs always maintains the expansion of cooperation and mutual support with customs of countries around the world.

Previously, participating in international organizations was only at the level of exercising membership rights and obligations, but now Vietnam Customs is gradually transforming into a proactive position and actively participating in shaping appropriate cooperation mechanisms and institutions, creating a legal framework for cooperation and mutual assistance activities.

According to Ms. Nguyen Thi Viet Nga, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Department (General Department of Customs), within the WTO framework, Vietnam Customs is the focal agency implementing Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of WTO with commitments to reform administrative procedures in the field of tax and customs; Currently, Vietnam's TFA implementation rate has reached 94.5% and will ensure full implementation by the end of 2024.

The 2023 WCO Technology Conference and Exhibition was successfully held in Vietnam. Photo: Quang Hung
The 2023 WCO Technology Conference and Exhibition was successfully held in Vietnam. Photo: Quang Hung

Within the APEC framework, Vietnam Customs has actively coordinated to implement cooperation programs, such as: the project on "Promoting the connection of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in e-commerce on procedure regulations for low-value goods” with the United States; project on “Strengthening Smart Services and Supervision of Customs to enhance the development of free trade zones/free seaport areas” with China; Project on "Capacity building related to self-certification of origin in FTAs/RTAs" with Japan, etc.

Stay ahead of commercial trends

At the 2023 WCO Technology Conference and Exhibition taking place in October 2023 in Hanoi, many international experts and delegates made assessments on the trend of e-commerce development, digital transformation and application of achievements of the 4.0 revolution that will be the driving force for world Customs agencies to apply new technologies in management activities.

Therefore, future customs cooperation aimed at sharing experiences in applying technology and digital transformation to modernize customs management and facilitate an uninterrupted global trade supply chain will be strongly promoted.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Viet Nga said that a very important requirement today is to properly research, evaluate, and forecast trends in trade and investment relations between Vietnam, strategic partners and cooperative partners. From there, accurately plan plans, orient and determine cooperation priorities in accordance with internal resource conditions.

In particular, the focus will be on connection activities and electronic data exchange between customs of different countries to serve the management and customs clearance requirements of import and export goods. In addition, negotiation activities for mutual recognition of priority enterprise (AEO) programs between customs countries will also increase in the context that countries are aiming for a balance between ensuring security and facilitating trade.

At the 31st session of the 15th National Assembly Standing Committee, many opinions emphasized that in order to take full advantage of the benefits from the international cooperation and integration process of Vietnam Customs, businesses need to pay appropriate attention to economic integration issues, proactively grasp international commitments in the fields of trade and customs.

In addition, the additional goal is to support the Customs agency in the process of reform, modernization and international integration; Actively participate in the consultation process of developing policies, laws, and documents to implement international commitments to ensure feasibility, reasonableness, and not hinder legal commercial activities of businesses.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Viet Nga emphasized that, in connection with the trend of customs cooperation, Vietnam Customs will cooperate closely with foreign partners to research, learn and evaluate customs management models and development trends of modern customs management in the new context.

Thereby, connecting and exchanging information smoothly, coordinating to verify the origin of goods, verifying suspected violations of customs laws; Strengthen coordination in controlling drugs, rare animals and plants, and transporting illegal waste; Research and pilot the exchange of information about goods for a number of key commodities and between pairs of major seaports in Vietnam and partners that account for a large proportion of trade to serve import-export management and customs clearance requirements.

International cooperation needs to demonstrate profound effectiveness in the spirit of equality and mutual benefit, which will help Vietnam's export goods avoid barriers to inspection procedures in the importing country and shorten customs clearance time, reducing the cost of handling goods at border gates and increasing competitive advantage in these markets.

In the ASEAN region, member countries are making efforts to apply modern customs management techniques, especially the standards stated in the revised Kyoto Convention. As an active member, from June 4 to 6 in Phu Quoc City, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam Customs will host the 33rd ASEAN Customs Directors General Conference.

Accordingly, in the role of Chairman of ASEAN Customs for the 2024-2025 term, Vietnam Customs will make every effort to fulfill its responsibilities in actively coordinating and promoting countries to implement on determined schedule and roadmap with priority contents on single-window, transit and mutual recognition of priority enterprises; Encourage countries to increase exchange, update information, share experiences and lessons in the actual implementation process, narrowing the gap between member Customs agencies.

By Nu Bui/ Phuong Linh

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