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Focal role of Customs in quality inspection, food safety inspection

08:56 | 28/11/2021

VCN - The draft Decree on the management mechanism, methods, order and procedures for quality inspection and food safety inspection for imported goods developed by the Ministry of Finance concretizes seven reforms of specialized inspection described in Decision 38/QD-TTg. Some ministries and agencies have disagreed with the draft Decree, including the competency of the Customs to perform the task of quality inspection and food safety inspection for imported goods.

The revenue collection of customs sector reaches 99.95% of current appropriation The revenue collection of customs sector reaches 99.95% of current appropriation
Prepare resources to be ready for deploying new model of specialised inspection Prepare resources to be ready for deploying new model of specialised inspection
Promulgating analytical process to classify imported and exported goods Promulgating analytical process to classify imported and exported goods
Customs officers of Hoanh Mo Customs Border Gate Customs Branch (Quang Ninh Customs Department) inspect exported goods. Photo: Q.H
Customs officers of Hoanh Mo Customs Border Gate Customs Branch (Quang Ninh Customs Department) inspect exported goods. Photo: Q.H

Tasks assigned to Customs are in accordance with the reform policies

Mr. Dau Anh Tuan, Director of Legal Department, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI):

The reform of specialized inspection not only aims at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of state management in specialized inspection work, but also derives from the legitimate interests of the business community. Enterprises expect reduction of inspection agencies, time, costs and risks for import and export activities.

Specifically, the ministries of Science and Technology, Health, Information and Communication, Industry and Trade, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Justice said that the Government assigning Customs to carry out quality inspection and food safety inspection for imported goods is inconsistent with the Laws on Plant Protection and Quarantine; Veterinary Medicine; Crop Production; Animal Husbandry; Fisheries; Products and Goods Quality; and Food Safety.

The regulation that Customs authority implements three methods of reduced inspection, normal inspection and tighten inspection should consult with the National Assembly Standing Committee.

Regarding this content, the Ministry of Finance has reported to the Government. According to the drafting agency, the Law on Product and Goods Quality (clauses 1, 5, Article 68) and the Law on Food Safety (Clause 1, Article 61, Article 72) assign the Government to stipulate the state management of quality of product, commodity and food safety; specify state management responsibilities of ministries; guide other necessary contents of the Law to meet state management requirements.

In addition to guidelines in Resolutions 99/NQ-CP and 02/NQ-CP of the Government, Decision 38/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister, the assignment to customs agency as the focal point to carry out specialized inspection at the border gate has also been specified in documents such as Decree 08/2015/ND-CP; Decision 65/2015/QD-TTg; and Decree 15/2018/ND-CP.

For the three inspection methods stated in the draft Decree, the Customs agency only performs a number of tasks in each method. Specifically, in the tightened inspection method including testing, testing of goods; checking the application for inspection, the testing of goods is carried out by the conformity assessment organization, the testing facility is selected by the enterprise; so the customs authority only checks the application.

In the normal inspection method including checking the application for quality inspection and food safety inspection (checking the conformity between documents), the Customs agency only carries out this inspection method when the enterprise makes an application.

The reduced inspection method is the random inspection of records of 5% of the total number of imported consignments during the year. The enterprise only declares registration codes of conformity announcement and codes of self-announcement of products on the customs declaration when carrying out import procedures. The customs authority shall check and compare the application for product announcement/self-announcement of products on the National Single Window with the customs records to determine whether the imported goods are similar to the products which have been granted a registration code of conformity announcement/code of self-announcement of products.

Thus, the regulation that the Customs agency shall receive and check the dossiers of quality inspection and food safety inspection for imported goods is consistent with the provisions of the law on specialized inspection, the policy and direction of the Party, the Government and the Prime Minister on reforming specialized inspection work for imported goods.

Decree concretizes seven reform contents

The draft Decree stipulating the management mechanism, methods, order and procedures for quality inspection and food safety inspection for imported goods includes five chapters, 41 articles and institutionalizes seven reform contents in Decision 38/QD-TTg.

First, the draft Decree concretizes the role of the Customs agency in quality inspection and food safety inspection for imported goods through the application of information technology, construction and operation of the National Single Window to automatically receive applications; decide on inspection methods on the basis of collecting, analyzing and assessing risks, processing data on quality and food safety inspections.

Second, the draft Decree applies three inspection methods to the whole field of quality and food safety inspections to reduce the number of imported consignments subject to inspection, on inheriting contents in Decree 15/2018/ND-CP. The draft Decree stipulates that the inspection methods are applied based on the principles of risk management of goods and the level of compliance with the law of the enterprise, which are published on the National Single Window Portal.

Third, the draft Decree simplifies procedures for quality and food safety inspection for imported goods.

Fourth, the draft Decree describes inspection by items to reduce the number of shipments subject to inspection. Enterprises only need to carry out the procedures for conformity announcement, product self-announcement; and register announcement for the first imported product.

The National Single Window automatically issues a registration code for conformity announcement, a code of product self-announcement and a registration code of product announcement. The following imports are subject to normal inspection, reduced or exempted from inspection. The application and transformation of inspection methods is applied to goods, regardless of importer and is updated on the National Single Window.

Fifth, the draft Decree provides for application of the principles of risk management in quality inspection and food safety inspection for imported goods to ensure the role of state management and improve the compliance of enterprises. Draft Decree stipulates inspection by item, regardless of importer. It specifies mechanisms to assess the legal compliance of the enterprise based on the risk classification and compliance with the law of the enterprise. The National Single Window automatically determines the method of inspection based on the results of the risk assessment of the goods and the level of legal compliance of the enterprise.

Sixth, the draft Decree expands items exempt from quality inspection and food safety inspection. The draft Decree stipulates 24 cases of exemption from quality inspection and food safety inspection, including cases of exemption from inspection according to current regulations and new 12 cases noted by the Ministry of Finance from recommendations of enterprises.

Seventh, the draft Decree requests maximum application of information technology to deploy the new model. All administrative procedures in the draft Decree are required to be carried out on the National Single Window; the National Single Window automatically issues a registration code for conformity announcement, a code of product self-announcement and a registration code of product announcement and automatically confirms the completion of the inspection after two working hours if the inspection agency has not yet issue the test results.

The information is public and shared on the National Single Window so that importers can look up, exploit and carry out inspection procedures, as well as serve the settlement of administrative procedures and application of inspection method and handling of infringing goods, inspection and examination by management agencies. Inspection procedures are linked and connected with customs procedures to simplify inspection order and procedures.

The maximum application of information technology in the settlement of administrative procedures will simplify the records, order and procedures for inspection; cut costs and time for enterprises; strengthen the role of state management; publicize settlement results by agencies and organizations in order to limit trouble and harassment.

By Chau Anh/ Huyen Trang