The effectiveness of trade facilitation solutions has promoted the growth of imports and exports

VCN – The total import and export turnover of the whole country in the first six months of 2022 totaled US$371.32 billion, an increase of 16.4% (equivalent to an increase of US$52.3 billion) compared to the same period in 2021. This is a positive result in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, along with the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Customs officers of Lao Cai International Border Gate Customs Branch (Lao Cai Customs Department) supervise vehicles carrying export goods at Kim Thanh No.II international road border gate. Photo: T.Bình
Customs officers of Lao Cai International Border Gate Customs Branch (Lao Cai Customs Department) supervise vehicles carrying export goods at Kim Thanh No.II international road border gate. Photo: T.Bình

Remove difficulties

At the online conference to review the work of the first six months of the year, orientation and solutions to perform the tasks in the last six months of 2022 of the General Department of Vietnam Customs (July 6), Director General Nguyen Van Can said that, through proactively capturing, analyzing and assessing the situation, the Customs sector promptly took solutions to both facilitate the business community and meet the requirements of state management of customs. This made an important contribution to helping businesses restore production, promoting the growth of import and export turnover.

In fact, before the difficulties of businesses due to the pandemic and the "Zero Covid" policy of China (Vietnam's largest trading partner) and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Customs sector promptly implemented many drastic solutions.

Specifically, at the beginning of 2022, with the "zero-Covid" strategy, China stopped clearance at all border gates and paths, leading to congestion of goods at the northern border gate. Faced with that situation, General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) set up a Working Group to assist in solving problems related to customs procedures to support businesses in the process of carrying out clearance procedures.

At the same time, GDVC directed the relevant branches to increase the daily working time from 8 AM to 10 PM, arrange shifts to work outside office hours, and carry out customs procedures 24/7.

Along with that is the construction and operation of a warning system on cargo congestion at road border gates deployed on the National Single Window Portal.

Promulgating a document guiding the procedures for extending the transit time of goods due to the Covid-19 pandemic causing congestion at the export border gate and change to domestic consumption, extending the storage time for goods in transit.

On the other hand, GDVC exchanged diplomatic notes with the General Department of Customs of China on solutions to facilitate cargo clearance. Accordingly, the two sides agreed to be ready to strengthen cooperation in building "smart customs, smart border, smart clearance", complete the negotiation of a cooperation agreement, and administration assistance in the field of customs as soon as possible.

Besides the content mentioned above, in recent months, the Customs sector has continued to promote long-term programs such as administrative procedure reform and customs modernization to facilitate trade, reducing the time for cargo clearance.

For example, submitting to the Government for approval the Customs Development Strategy to 2030 (according to Decision No. 628/QD-TTg dated May 20, 2022); formulating and promulgating guidance and executive documents on administrative reform, seriously implementing plans and directives to affiliated units under the General Department; modernize equipment for performing customs inspection and supervision; improve the efficiency of the implementation of the National Single Window, the ASEAN Single Window, strengthen the provision of online public services.

Effectiveness from policy to action

Along with the drastic direction from the leadership of the GDVC, the spirit of reform and facilitation for the business community has spread to the grassroots to bring guidelines and policies to life.

Deputy Director of Lang Son Customs Department Nguyen Huu Vuong shared that the China's "Zero-Covid" policy caused many difficulties for the import and export activities in the area. To accompany businesses, Lang Son Customs Department, especially branches such as Huu Nghi International Border Gate Customs Branch, Tan Thanh Customs Branch often worked overtime to support the business community to clear goods.

Similarly, the import and export activities in Lao Cai, Quang Ninh, Cao Bang and the northern border are also in a status of long-term suspension. Facing that situation, the local customs units have both strictly implemented the guidelines and policies of the customs sector and advised the local authorities in implementing solutions to soon open up normal import and export activities and operate stably.

Deputy Director of Lao Cai Customs Department Duong Xuan Sinh said that to facilitate import and export activities in general, including agricultural products for export, in recent years, Lao Cai Customs Department promoted administrative reform, customs modernization, accompanying and supporting the business community. In particular, for perishable export agricultural products, which need to be preserved in special conditions, the Customs authority always prioritizes carrying out procedures to clear goods quickly.

Sharing the same trade facilitation, and supporting businesses to restore production and business, local customs departments across the country also have specific solutions depending on the actual conditions.

“Hai Phong Customs Department actively researched, proposed to guide, accompanies and coordinates with export processing enterprises in the area to implement solutions to remove obstacles and overcome difficulties related to conditions of customs supervision of export processing enterprises specified in Decree 18/2021/ND-CP. Thereby, 100% of export processing enterprises in the area have fully met the requirements and regulations in Decree 18,” Director of Hai Phong Customs Department Nguyen Duy Ngoc said about one of the specific solutions of the unit.

With the solutions of the Customs sector and ministries, sectors and localities, especially the efforts of the business community, in 2022, it is forecast that the scale of Vietnam's import and export turnover will reach a record of more than US$740 billion.

By Thái Bình/Thanh Thuy

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