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Individuals in import-export service hinders the competitiveness of customs brokers

17:22 | 20/01/2022

VCN – Although the operation of customs brokers has made some significant contributions in import–export activities, the existence of individuals performing import and export services spontaneously has reduced the competitiveness of customs broker activities.

Professional activities at Hai Phong Customs. Photo: T.Bình
Professional activities at Hai Phong Customs. Photo: T.Bình

In 2021, the General Department of Vietnam Customs recognized the activities of customs brokers for 93 enterprises; and suspended the operation of 227 enterprises. In particular, 73 enterprises have carried out procedures to resume operations after the suspension; while the customs agency terminated the operation of 27 enterprises.

At the same time, the Customs authority granted staff codes as customs brokers for 291 employees, extended staff codes for 270 employees, and revoked staff codes of 441 individuals.

According to the Customs Control and Supervision Department, customs broker activities have made important contributions, laying the foundation for the development of services related to import and export activities in the whole country.

In general, the majority of customs brokers strictly comply with the provisions of law related to the field of customs, implement the periodic reporting regime as prescribed, and have a spirit of good coordination and cooperation with the Customs authority.

However, in some areas, besides the cases of import and export activities through signing contracts with customs authority, there is a situation where some customs brokers do not sign contracts with goods owners. They only carry out the activities of declaring, entering the declared information criteria, doing the procedures for dispatching vehicles, loading and unloading goods on behalf of goods owner. While goods owners are named on the customs declaration form, performing tax obligations, fees, charges and other receivables.

Therefore, the activities of customs brokers have not achieved high efficiency as per the set goals, many agents have not operated properly within their roles and qualifications.

Deputy Director of Hai Phong Customs Department Nguyen Kien Giang said that there is a phenomenon that private individuals provide customs declaration services, forwarding and transporting goods for import and export enterprises.

Among these individuals, there are individuals who perform the task correctly. However, there are also cases of taking advantage to cause difficulties and harassment for import-export enterprises.

For example, a shipment has been cleared by the customs authority, but the service person has delayed picking up the goods or delivering them. So they force the import-export business to pay extra costs. There are also cases where customs documents are simple, but service providers do not understand, thereby guiding import-export businesses to carry out incorrect procedures.

According to the Customs Control and Supervision Department, one of the current difficulties is that many customs agents have not been able to connect and approach businesses and goods owners, so they cannot perform the function as a bridge between the Customs authorities and goods owners in customs activities, reducing the time for cargo clearance and reducing work pressure.

Moreover, in some areas and border gates, the existence of individuals performing import and export services spontaneously, not methodically, without business registration, without paying taxes, and under contract for each shipment has reduced the competitiveness of customs broker operations.

However, these individuals do not have the responsibility to bind the owners of the goods, do not have a good sense of compliance with the law, blame the owners of the goods, etc., affecting the quality of the bridging activities between the Customs authorities and goods owners, at the same time leading to misunderstandings about the role of customs brokers, harming the reputation of customs brokers in import and export activities.

In addition, at present, there is not a separate association of businesses that carry out customs broker activities (but a small group in the Business Association), so the voice of customs brokers is not strong enough.

By N.Linh/Thanh Thuy