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Customs valuation management needs boarder ‘coat’

19:00 | 30/07/2022

VCN - Customs valuation management is a specific technical field of operation that plays a key role in the management of general and taxes for goods in particular. However, through implementation, customs valuation management system has revealed a number of problems that need to be studied and handled to further improve the efficiency of this work.

Customs valuation management needs boarder ‘coat’
Professional activities at Ha Nam Ninh Customs Department. Photo: H.Nụ

Although the specialized human resources performing valuation tasks from General Department to the branch level are assessed to meet requirements, the model of the customs valuation management structure at the departmental and branch levels is not unified yet.

Some local customs departments do not have officers in charge of evaluation. On the other hand, according to the Import-Export Duty Department (General Department of Vietnam Customs) regulations on the rotation of customs officers in the sector are more or less affecting the effectiveness of valuation management.

Organizational structure

According to the assessment, in the seven years of implementation of the project of improving the capacity of customs in the field of goods classification and customs valuation (referred to as Project 2015), the organizational structure at the affiliated units in the whole Customs sector has been relatively reasonable, covering functions and tasks related to this work at all three levels. Functional parts of the organizational system, the apparatus of customs valuation management, is performing tasks following the provisions of legal documents and current professional guidelines.

The representative of the Import-Export Duty Department noted that the current average age of customs officers in charge customs valuation task at all levels of the General Department is young. They have basic training and experience in policy formulation, some are experts in the valuation field, some have good skills in foreign languages or information technology. In addition, at the local customs department levels, a department-level valuation management division has been established to advise and solve problems, organize consultations (for localities consulted at the Department), monitor valuation work in the whole department; organize post-clearance audit on valuation, risk management, investigation and verification. Notably, at the customs branch level, customs officers in charge of customs valuation task are also training to meet the needs of cargo clearance.

In training, the Customs sector annually prepares training plans and organizes general and intensive professional classes on valuation. In addition, the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) also organizes training sessions after the issuance of new documents on valuation to introduce new regulations, note the contents when implementation, and answer questions.

The general business classes have equipped the newly recruited customs officers with basic knowledge of customs valuation to help officers have initial knowledge and basic background on price operations. For the intensive professional training courses based on job position in general and in the field of customs valuation, the requirements for updating new knowledge, methods and skills for handling specific issues and guide skills in implementation and use of tools and means related to professional activities.

From 2019 to 2021, the Vietnam Customs School also held classes to update the content and unify to solve practical problems in the field of determining the valuation of import and export goods; skills to determine customs valuation.

Statistics showed that, from 2019 to now, the whole sector has organized six general knowledge training courses for 416 newly recruited and untrained customs officers and intensive training for 248 customs officers working in the field of customs valuation at local customs departments.

Another remarkable point is that since 2018, the rotation of customs officers has taken advantage of the source of officers performing customs valuations task. The valuation management has been properly implemented by the Customs authorities in accordance with the law while at the same time, local customs departments have paid more attention to the rotation of customs officers in charge of valuation and have arranged customs officers have economic knowledge to perform customs valuation management.

Still weak and unreasonable

Speaking with reporters, a representative of the Import-Export Duty Department said that Customs sector currently has more than 500 officers who are directly performing customs valuation management tasks from the General Department to customs branches. For the Import-Export Duty Department, the Department has a specialized division which is the Customs Valuation Division. However, the Customs Valuation Division has only 15 customs officers and all have basic training in economics and foreign trade, but no one has had any practical experience in customs valuation at the branch or department level, as well as have not been rotated to work in other related fields such as information collection (risk management or investigation, anti-smuggling), customs procedures (supervision and control), valuation inspection (post-clearance audit).

For other units in the GDVC, besides the Import-Export Duty Department, there are also units involved in the management of customs valuation such as; Post-Clearance Audit Department, Inspection Department, Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department, International Cooperation Department, Risk Management Department, Customs Information Technology and Statistics Department.

At local customs departments, the Import and Export Duty Division in charge of advisory department assists the director in managing, directing, guiding and inspecting the affiliated units performing customs valuation. Inspection at enterprises is falls under the tasks of the post clearance audit division, while some local customs departments have post-clearance audit branch. Currently, there are nine local customs departments have Import-Export Duty Departments and 26 local customs departments have Technical Division. 18 customs departments have post-clearance audit branch.

However, statistics show that the number of customs officers with experience in customs valuation management in localities currently account for only about 2% of the total payroll and tends to decrease due to rotation or decrease naturally (retirement, changing industries, quitting jobs).

Hanoi Customs Department has only 22 customs officers; HCM City Customs Department is 37 customs officers; Hai Phong Customs Department is 29 customs officers. In particular, according to a representative of HCM City Customs Department, currently the number of customs officers performing price management at the unit accounts for about 9% of the total number of customs officers of the whole Department (from 160-190 customs officers). At Hanoi Customs Department, there are currently about 120 customs officers concurrently performing price management task at the unit.

In 2018, the GDVC issued Decision No. 1484/QD-TCHQ on criteria, selection, training, management training and use of experts on customs valuation and experts on goods classification, so far there is no official list of valuation experts has been established; on the other hand, professional units and local customs units have not used the correct number of officials who are assessed as "valuation experts".

In order to "fill in the blanks", many localities have to use leaders and customs officers who do not have the right expertise or have not been trained in the right specialty. Some places even use customs officers to perform valuation work who are trained in economics, finance, accounting or foreign trade. In addition, due to the organisational structure is still inadequate, many valuation customs officers also have other professional duties, not having enough time to do in-depth research and handle tasks in the field of customs valuation management (except for Hai Phong, HCM City, and Hanoi Customs,) and cannot spend all their working time on the management of this field.

As reflected by Nghe An Customs Department, currently, the unit does not have a specialized officer in charge of valuation, so it encounters many difficulties in the professional stages. Not only Nghe An, a number of Customs Departments: Binh Phuoc, Quang Nam, Ha Nam Ninh, Ca Mau, Gia Lai Kon Tum, Long An, Khanh Hoa, and Can Tho also lack of professional customs officers in valuation management.

A customs officers at Lang Son Customs Department said that the current situation of rotation and arrangement of customs officers is posing a concern for officers in charge of customs valuation task. Although knowing and implementing the policy and principles of public officials management, the rotation, transfer, and change of positions are often applied to customs officers at all levels, customs units. He suggested that all levels should consider not rotating customs officers who have experience and qualifications in customs valuation management to ensure virtual expertise for the field.

Speaking on these limitations, according to customs officers in charge of price management for many years at the Import-Export Duty Department, the management of customs valuation is a technical and professional field that requires customs officer to be equiped sufficient information, business accounting, international trade, international transportation and especially must have practical experience over many working hours.

However, due to the current regulations on the rotation of customs officers, many officers at customs branches and departments have experience, knowledge and capacity in valuation management after working in this field for about 2-3 years, though they then rotate to other positions not related to valuation management (financial, office, anti-smuggling).

On the contrary, many customs officers who are completely lacking in knowledge are assigned and rotated to perform valuation management task, many newly recruited customs officers have not met the requirements because it takes time to approach and cultivate knowledge. This leads to a decrease in the number of staffs who are experts in valuation, wasting human resources and greatly affecting the effectiveness of value management throughout the sector.

By Nụ Bùi/Thanh Thuy