Customs coordination relations in anti-smuggling

VCN - Currently, the coordination of the Customs in the anti-smuggling and anti-trade fraud is governed by Customs Law 2014, Intellectual Property Law 2015 (amended and supplemented in Decision No. 19/2016 / QD-TTg dated 6th May 2016 of the Prime Minister issuing Regulation on responsibilities and coordination relations among state management agencies in the prevention and fight against smuggling, trade frauds and counterfeit goods). 
coordination relations of the customs in the anti smuggling Anti-drug coordination not continuously
coordination relations of the customs in the anti smuggling Provisions on coordination in preventing and investigating smuggling
coordination relations of the customs in the anti smuggling Customs and Border Guard collaborate to facilitate the border circulation
coordination relations of the customs in the anti smuggling
Customs officers and Lang Son border guards coordinate to inspect imports and exports. Photo: T.Bình.

Taking initiative in signing coordination regulations

Over the past time, the Customs sector has signed coordination agreements with forces such as Police and Border Guard. These are considered important documents governing the relations between the Customs and competent agencies in the prevention and fight against smuggling and illegal cross-border goods transportation. Coordination Regulation No. 5341 / QCPH / TCHQ-TCCS, dated 22nd November 2007 between the Customs and General Department of Police in the prevention and fight against crimes and unlawful acts; Coordination Provision No. 458/2013 / QDPH / DTCBL-V1 dated 9th May 2013 between the Investigation and Anti-Smuggling Department under the General Department of Customs and Department for Prosecution and Supervision over Investigation of Economic and Position-Related Cases under the Supreme People’s Procuracy of Vietnam; Decision No. 133/2002 / QD-TTg of 9th October 2002 of the Prime Minister promulgating the Regulation on coordination between the police force, border guard, marine police and Customs in fighting and preventing drug-related crimes in border areas, border gates and sea areas; Regulation No. 5000 / QC-TCHQ-BTLBDBP dated 20th September 2012 on coordination between Customs and Border Guards.

Under the provisions of Article 88 of the Customs Law 2014, within the Customs operation areas, the Customs shall take charge of inspecting, supervising and controlling goods, and means of transportation, in order to actively prevent and combat smuggling and illegal cross-border goods transportation. In the cases where goods or means of transportation have not been moved out of the Customs operation areas and have been detected for acts of smuggling or illegal cross-border goods transportation by individuals and organizations, those individuals and organizations shall immediately notify the cases to the customs offices for inspection and handling.

If there are grounds to identify that goods and means of transportation commit acts of smuggling and illegal cross-border transportation and are moving out from the Customs operation areas, the Customs authority shall continue to pursue and notify the police, the border guard, the marine police and the market management force in the locality for coordination and the application of measures to prevent and handle according to the law provisions. The stopping and pursuit of foreign means of transportation moving in Vietnam's sea waters shall comply with the provisions of the Law of the Sea of Vietnam.

If goods and means of transportation means have been brought outside the Customs operation areas, the relevant State agencies have grounds to believe that they committed acts of smuggling or illegally transporting goods across borders, those agencies shall inspect and handle under the provisions of law; the Customs authority shall have to coordinate with the relevant State agencies in taking measures to prevent and combat smuggling and illegal cross-border goods transportation.

For goods subject to Customs supervision being transported on routes, the Customs shall have to supervise with Customs operational measures; When detecting unlawful acts, the Customs shall host and coordinate with relevant State agencies in inspecting and handling according to law provisions.

In the internal waters, territorial waters, contiguous areas, the Customs shall coordinate in the implementation of patrol and the control in order to prevent acts of smuggling and illegal cross-border goods transportation; take measures to prevent and handle unlawful acts in line with its competence in the internal waters and territorial waters in accordance with the provisions of the Law of the Sea of Vietnam.

Responsibilities in Coordination

The coordination responsibilities between the Customs authority and the relevant agencies (the People's Committee, the Police, the Border Guard, the Market Management and Marine Police) have been detailed in Chapter III of Decree No. 01 / 2015 / ND-CP of the Government dated 2nd January 2015 specifying the scope of Customs operation areas; the coordination responsibility in the prevention and combat of smuggling and illegal cross-border goods transportation and have been amended and supplemented in Decree No. 12/2018 / ND-CP dated 23rd January 2018, effective from 10th March 2018. Accordingly, supplementing the dossier preparation in Article 11 and Article 15 of the Decree and the propaganda and dissemination of policies and laws in Article 15a of the Decree in line with Article 89 of the Customs Law 2014. The Decree also stipulates the responsibilities in the implementation of the Decree in case of necessity to amend, supplement or adjust the specific scope of Customs operation areas at the land border gates or inland waterway border gates, The Ministry of Finance shall chair and coordinate with the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the provincial / municipal People's Committees to consider and propose the Government for decision to ensure conformity.

According to the provisions of Chapter V, the Customs Law 2014, the prevention and fight against smuggling and illegal cross-border goods transportation is assigned to the entire Customs sector and Customs officers. This is a key task of the Customs sector and is carried out simultaneously with the process of Customs clearance, inspection, supervision and control of goods and means of transport. Therefore, in recent years, the Ministry of Finance and the General Department of Customs have drastically guided the whole sector in order to enhance the political and ideological education and raise the sense of vigilance, and responsibility of each Customs officer to comply with all customs regulations and procedures and promptly meet the requirements of the sector’s tasks in the new situation.

At the local Customs units, the Customs has assigned the specialized forces to carry out anti-smuggling in a concentrated and specialized direction and identified the responsibilities under the localities and areas, and appreciated the responsibility of the head; to promptly and strictly handle officers who join in, tolerate or display negative acts in the performance of their assigned tasks. At the same time, the units shall intensify the implementation of operational measures, ensuring that they hit the leading perpetrators; Detecting, stopping, arresting and handling promptly and thoroughly the acts of smuggling and illegal cross-border goods transportation, trade frauds and counterfeit goods in the Customs operation areas.

In addition, the customs office also actively coordinates with competent forces such as Police, Border Guards, Market Management and local authorities to ensure synchronous and effective implementation for the prevention and combat of smuggling, illegal cross-border goods transportation, trade frauds and counterfeit goods.

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According to the provisions of Clause 1, Article 88 of the Customs Law 2014 and specified in Article 104 of Decree No. 08/2015 / ND-CP, where there are grounds to identify that goods and means of transportation commit acts of smuggling and illegal cross-border transportation and are moving out from the Customs operation areas, the customs authority shall continue to pursue and notify the police, the border guard, the marine police and the market management force in the locality for coordination and the application of measures to prevent and handle according to the law provisions. However, the provisions on the authority to pursue in paragraph 1 of Article 88 of the current Customs Law still have many contents requiring specific guidance for the implementation. That is, there are specific regulations on decision right, which will be transferred to the deputy head in cases where the head is absent; there are no specific regulations on the forms of pursuit decisions in writing or oral orders or instructions by telephone; and there are no regulations on forms of notification in the urgent cases via telephone hotline, fax.

By Sen Hong/ Huyen Trang

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