Customs reviews and removes difficulties in HS codes

VCN - The General Department of Vietnam Customs has reviewed to supplement and complete provisions of law related to issues of HS codes to facilitate firms in import and export activities.

Many firms reported that they were facing many risks related to import and export duties, starting from the fact that the descriptions of goods associated with HS codes were still not really clear, and have not helped people to correctly identify them.

According to an firm, the fact that one product code can be applied to several items or many product codes can be applied to one item, leading to the situation that at the time of import, firms are imposed one HS code by customs authority. However, after implementing a post-clearance audit, the firm was imposed another code and tax arrears are needed.

According to the firm, in fact, there were many cases where "amphoteric" products which may apply different HS codes depending on the customs authority's point of view. When the firm declared, the firm determined a HS code. According to that code, the item does not need an import license. However, after the customs authority reviewed the dossier and decide to impose a different HS code, the item fell into the case of requiring an import license. At that time, firms may be sanctioned for administrative violations, which are very difficult for firms when importing goods for the first time.

Professional activities at Hai Phong Customs
Professional activities at Hai Phong Customs

Therefore, firms proposed that the Government should continue to direct ministries, sectors, the Ministry of Finance, and the General Department of Vietnam Customs to review HS descriptions to identify cases that still confuse and overlaps in understanding and application to amend, supplement or adjust.

Regarding the issue proposed by firms, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the Ministry of Finance is working with other countries to negotiate to build a List of HS, List of ASEAN Tariffs, to put goods that are easily confused and difficult to classify into the list with clearly distinguishing criteria for implementation in a unified understanding, avoiding confusion and overlapping.

At the same time, issuing an uniform guidance document for difficult and complex items and items with the World Customs Organization (WCO) opinion to ensure the application of the HS List complies with the description and understanding consistent with ASEAN countries and WTO members.

In addition, the Customs authority has been working with ministries and sectors to develop lists of specialised management, unifying the application of HS codes to goods under specialised management, suitable with the list of import and export goods of Vietnam, domestic and international standards and regulations, and ensure sufficient criteria to classify goods.

Building a centralised management database for looking things up and consistency in classification. The system is continuously being upgraded and newly built to facilitate and support firms to search and reference in the process of declaring HS codes, and at the same time to unify in the classification.

The Customs authority regularly enhances training for Customs authority and the business community to improve awareness and capacity in goods classification.

In the future, the General Department of Vietnam Customs (Ministry of Finance) will study and review to amend, supplement, and complete the law's provisions to create maximum convenience for firms in import and export activities.

By Nụ Bùi/Thanh Thuy

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