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Those are not sanctioned for administrative violations due to Covid-19 pandemic

08:29 | 25/09/2021

VCN – Due to impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, many shipments failed to make it through customs procedures in described time, leading to unexpected administrative violations. The General Department of Customs has provided detailed instructions on this issue.

HCM City Customs prevents violations in trade HCM City Customs prevents violations in trade
Is a delay in implementing customs procedures due to the Covid-19 pandemic cause for administrative violations? Is a delay in implementing customs procedures due to the Covid-19 pandemic cause for administrative violations?
Low violation rate, need to be more Low violation rate, need to be more "open" in specialised inspection
Chi Ma Customs Branch officers inspect imported alcohol of Tuan Phuong company. Photo: H.Nu
Chi Ma Customs Branch officers inspect imported alcohol of Tuan Phuong company. Photo: H.Nu


Eight cases proposed to not be sanctioned

The General Department of Customs has received proposals from local customs department and businesses on not sanctioning for administrative violations for violations of customs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing measure and other anti-pandemic measures of the Government.

Eight cases proposed to not be sanctioned include:

First, goods are subject of quality inspection but foreign experts cannot come to Vietnam to install equipment for quality inspection as described.

Second, goods as imported chemicals have not been tanked and sold and still stored at ports and cannot go through customs procedures in the described time.

Third, businesses do not submit a final statement or late submit a report on using duty-free goods due to social distancing.

Fourth, businesses cannot afford to pay taxes for all shipments imported to Vietnam within 30 days of the date of arrival.

Fifty, businesses cannot open declarations and take goods within 30 days since the date of arrival because they are in the lockdown areas.

Sixth, businesses cannot re-export goods under a decision on administrative sanction due to social distancing and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Seventh, businesses cannot re-export or re-import goods in time as described or time registered with the Customs agency due to social distancing and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Eighth, customs units have coronavirus infections and are implementing social distancing so they can neither create administrative violation records nor receive dossiers or violation materials to investigate and settle in the described time.

The General Department of Customs requests local customs department to report in detail on proposals and the problems of businesses related to administrative sanctions in the customs sector; the backlog of records of administrative violations and other problems in the actual operation of their units; and solutions offered by the customs authority and performed by businesses.

Businesses should understand not all cases are considered to not be fined or exempt from fines for administrative violations and late payment interest in case of force majeure caused by the pandemic.

The General Department of Customs responded to the proposal of Bautex Vina Co., LTD on June 28, 2021 on an exemption from fines for administrative violations and late payment interest in case of force majeure caused by the pandemic. Because, through via the company’s dossiers and complying with prevailing regulations, customs identified that the company was taxed in 2018 and 2019 and is operating. So the company has to pay the late payment interest and fines.

Customs agency issues detailed guidance

Since Covid-19 outbreak, imports and exports have been seriously affected. Many businesses have sent questions to the customs agency whether goods that fail to go customs procedures within 30 days since the date of arrival are fined or not?

In this regard, the General Department of Customs issued Dispatch 3569 guiding not to sanction administrative violations in customs due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The dispatch states Article 11 of the Law on Handling of Administrative Violations and Article 5 of Decree 127/2013 have been amended and supplemented in Decree 45/2016 stipulating cases where administrative violations are not sanctioned; and Article 2 of the Law on Handling of Administrative Violations explains "force majeure events" free from administrative sanctions.

The exemption from sanctioning administrative violations due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic must be based on current law provisions and specific case files.Individuals and organisations must prove that they have applied all necessary and permissible measures but failed to prevent violations.

On August 13, 2020, Customs also sent a dispatch to answer questions from Vietnam Suzuki Co., Ltd. on this issue.

On July 9 this year, Customs also issued dispatch 3461 to answer the Aviation Import-Export JSC on this issue.

Regarding the customs declaration, Point b, Clause 1, Article 25 of the Customs Law 2014 stipulates the deadline for submitting customs declarations: “For import goods, the declaration is submitted before the date of arrival at the border gate or within 30 days of the date of arrival at the border gate.”

Point b, Clause 2, Article 18 of the 2014 Customs Law stipulates customs declarants are obliged to “declare customs and carry out customs procedures as prescribed in this Law.”

Therefore, if the customs declarant fails to strictly comply with the regulations on the time limit for customs declaration, they will be considered and sanctioned for administrative violations according to the provisions of Article 7 of Decree 128/2020 October 19, 2020 of the Government on sanctioning of administrative violations in the field of customs.

Regarding exemption from administrative sanctions in the customs field due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Article 11 of the Law on Handling of Administrative Violations, Article 6 of Decree 128/2020 stipulates cases where administrative violations are not sanctioned, and Article 2 of the Law on Handling of Administrative Violations explains the "force majeure events" free from administrative sanction.

By Nu Bui/ Huyen Trang