VCN – Administrative procedures in the import and export field has recorded impressive changes with many reforms to facilitate trade and contribute to Vietnam’s international economic integration.
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Regular changes in policies make difficult for customs procedures
After assessing the survey results on the report “Businesses’ satisfaction with customs import and export procedures: Findings from 2020 Survey”, Head of the Legal Department under Vietnam Chamber for Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Dau Anh Tuan said these were completely objective results through survey of 3,657 import and export businesses nationwide under assistance from the General Department of Customs (Ministry of Finance) and United States Agency for International Development in Vietnam (USAID).
The survey results show methods to access information on import and export procedures are becoming diversified. Online methods are more appreciated than traditional versions.
Nearly 80% of businesses are satisfied with information provided on the e-Customs portal of the General Department of Customs. The e-Customs portals of local customs department and the Vietnam Trade Portal also satisfied more than 70% of businesses.
The majority of businesses often contact with Customs branches to deal with difficulties before asking for help from local customs departments, the General Department or other agencies.
The satisfaction levels of businesses for each procedure are different. The two procedures "customs declaration" and "tax payment" are considered more convenient for businesses. Meanwhile, "documentary examination”, "tax refund/no tax collection" and "physical inspection of goods firms often make most difficulty for businesses respectively. Regular revisions of regulations or legal policies cause the most difficulties for firms when carrying out customs clearance procedures.
Timely support from customs agency
Almost 87% of surveyed firms said the support of the customs agency is efficient meanwhile 85.3% of them said the support of the customs agency is timely. This is a positive movement trend from 2015.
The 2020 survey on firm’s assessment on the observance of discipline and knowledge of operations and problem-solving skills of customs officers at local customs departments shows that:
For the observance of disciplines of customs officers, firms highly appreciate customs officers in in terms of civility and politeness (53% of firms), compliance with their powers (51%), fairness and conscientiousness (47%), considering the firm as a cooperative partner (46%), and fast and accurate work handling (45%). These results all have improved compared to the 2018 survey.
For the knowledge of operations of customs officers, firms appreciate knowledge of operations of customs officers in the documentary examination at the highest level, followed by tax payment and physical inspection of goods.
Other areas such as handling of administrative violations and handling of complaints are assessed as Good/Fairly good by 58% and 54% of the firms, respectively.
The survey results point out that specialised inspection and management activities have also improved in the recent two years. Most of the assessment indicators have received better results than in 2018.
From these survey results, the business community proposed the Customs authority simplify procedures and help them more in procedures for HS code identification and customs valuation consultations.
Firms also suggest applying electronic records more comprehensively to avoid face-to-face contact in customs clearance at customs branches. In addition, they expect the information and answers to enterprises must be paid more attention to and conducted more effectively by specialised officers and must be updated regularly.
Firms hope that in the future, most of the procedures can be processed 100% online. Customs branches should also issue a general mechanism to connect and share the history of physical inspection of goods of firms to avoid duplicate inspections.
To minimise unofficial costs, firms expect the customs authority to have mechanisms to supervise implementation of discipline, administrative discipline, public service of customs officers and publicise the handling of customs officers who commit violations acts. At the same time, the customs authority should issue efficient and substantive mechanisms for firms to make recommendations and complaints about harassing and troubling acts.
By Huong Diu/ Huyen Trang