Customs sector achieves outstanding results in customs reform

VCN – The Customs sector and HCM City Customs Department have provided programs and solutions for trade facilitation, which the business community has highly appreciated. Customs News interviewed Mr Juergen Weber, Chairman of the Transport and Logistics Subcommittee of the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham), Director of Logwin Air + Ocean Vietnam Co., Ltd., about the content.
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Customs sector achieves outstanding results in customs reform
Mr Juergen Weber, Chairman of the Transport and Logistics Subcommittee of the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham), Director of Logwin Air + Ocean Vietnam Co., Ltd.

The Customs sector has applied for information technology programs in the customs process to shorten customs clearance time. Could you assess the effectiveness of these programs?

Currently, all core customs procedures are processed automatically via the VNACCS/VCIS System at a high level at 100% of customs units across the country with the participation of more than 99% of enterprises.

The implementation of the project of e-tax payment and customs clearance 24/7 by the Customs sector is a breakthrough in tax and fee collection for imports and exports. The effective facilitation and support for import-export enterprises in payment of taxes and fees anytime, anywhere and by any device has minimized payment in cash and helped transactions implemented online; ensured timely and accurate tax payment, thereby helping to reduce the time of tax payment and customs clearance.

In addition, the Customs Portal has provided other online services to support people and enterprises in updating information, facilitating customs processes, and enhancing National Single Window and ASEAN Single Window.

Applying the automated system for customs control reduces paperwork and costs for enterprises; shortens the time for completion of customs procedures of enterprises. However, enterprises sometimes face difficulties because the VNACCS/VCIS and the e-Tax payment system 24/7 have errors, or Vietnam Customs have not received e-C/O.

Do you assess the administrative reform and trade facilitation of the Customs authority for businesses and European businesses?

European businesses highly appreciate the inquiring spirit and receiving businesses' opinions by the Customs in administrative reform, streamlining customs procedures and trade facilitation. The Customs establishes criteria to improve the quality of analysis and risk assessment, reduce the rate of Red channel declaration and the rate of post-clearance audit under the law compliance plan of the customs declarant, enhance the quality of dialogue, and promptly remove difficulties and problems for businesses.

The Customs sector is implementing digital transformation towards Smart Customs. Do you have any suggestions for the customs authority for effective performance?

Enterprises applaud the determination to implement digital transformation goals in the field of Customs successfully. However, the enterprise suggested that Customs should focus on the interests of enterprises and ensure the law compliance of enterprises in the digital transformation process.

For example, developing a system of machines for scanning goods, especially for heterogeneous goods, needs to apply appropriate inspection measures because the application of scanning machines is a disadvantage for businesses. Therefore, enterprises propose that Customs should drastically apply risk management measures. If the enterprises comply with the law, Customs should reduce the inspection and screening for these enterprises.

Could you tell us about the operation of European businesses in Vietnam and give any recommendations about the supportive policies of the Government and the Customs sector to create more favourable conditions for businesses?

Currently, European businesses suffer from challenges amid the economic recession and fluctuations. To stabilize and develop our operation, we need strong support and cooperation from the Customs. Especially, Customs should reduce difficulties related to unspecified regulations, rules, and administrative procedures. Therefore, businesses can shorten customs clearance time and save costs to contribute more economic benefits.

Recently, the GDVC issued Official Letter No. 244/GSQL-GQ1 dated February 22, 2023, replying to the HCM City Customs Department about customs release after stopping transporting goods across the custom control area.

The GDVC said that, the stopping of shipping goods across the customs control area must comply with the provisions of Clause 2, Article 32 of the Government's Decree No. 52d of Circular 38/2015/TT-BTC dated March 25, 2015, amended and supplemented in Clause 32, Article 1 of Circular 39/2018/TT-BTC dated April 20, 2018, of the Ministry of Finance and guided at Point b.3.2, Clause 2, Article 14 on Customs procedures issued together with the GDVC's Decision 1966/QD-TCHQ dated July 10, 2015.

Because there are no regulations and guidelines for the goods that are stopped from being transported across the customs control area for checking dossiers and physical inspection and taking a sample for analysis and classification, the Customs declarant can ship goods to their store and wait for analysis and classification.

However, there are many cases where the code of goods is inconsistent between Customs and businesses, prolonging customs clearance time. Therefore, when there is a case of disagreement with the inspection conclusion of the customs authority on goods names and codes, enterprises can comply with Article 30 of Decree 08/2015/ND-CP dated January 21, 2015, on handling customs inspection results.

Because the law does not stipulate those enterprises are allowed to bring goods to storage pending the results of analysis and classification, it is recommended that the Customs authority provide a solution to ensure the interests and compliance with the law on enterprises.

The problem is that if the enterprises are not allowed to bring the goods to storage, pending the analysis and classification results, the enterprise will suffer a lot of costs for storing containers at the port. The law compliance is still guaranteed from enterprises when they bring the goods to storage when the results of analysis and classification are issued; enterprises still have to make corrections according to the results of the analysis and classification and pay an additional tax (if any).

Therefore, we suggest that the Customs authorities should review this content to facilitate and limit the costs for businesses.

Thank Sir!

By Le Thu/Ngoc Loan

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