Vietnam Customs leave its mark on ASEAN by six outstanding results

VCN - Over the years, Vietnam has shown that it is a responsible member and fully implementing its obligation in ASEAN. Thereby, enhancing Vietnam Customs’s position and role as a pillar member agency of ASEAN economic community. At the same time, promoting its pioneering role in the ASEAN region, Vietnam Customs has made efforts to demonstrate and make its mark through 6 outstanding results.

Reviewing the results achieved, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Viet Nga, Deputy Director of International Cooperation Department, said that since Vietnam became a member of ASEAN, Vietnam Customs has successfully hosted three ASEAN Directors General of Customs Meeting in Vietnam in 1995, 2004 and 2014 respectively.

Therefore, Vietnam Customs has made even more efforts to prepare more carefully to successfully organize the 4th Meeting and meetings of the Customs Coordinating Committee and Technical Working Groups during the term of being hosted from June 2024 to June 2025, contributing to enhancing Vietnam's position and image in the eyes of international friends, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Viet Nga emphasized.

Preliminary summary as of May 2024, cooperation and integration work by working groups, Vietnam Customs made its first mark by actively participating in reviewing the ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN) at the 8-digit level that is used by Customs of ASEAN countries and is built based on the HS Nomenclature of the World Customs Organization (WCO).

illustration image
illustration image

Currently, ASEAN countries have implemented the HS Nomenclature 2022 edition. Based on the results of the WCO's HSC72 session, the HS review cycle from 5 years will be changed to 6 years. Therefore, it is expected that the review of the AHTN 2028 will begin with 2 negotiation sessions in 2024.

In Vietnam, Vietnam Customs is implementing relevant legal documents to implement the promulgated AHTN 2022 edition, ensuring the legal basis for implementing customs management for the list of import and export goods following the most updated AHTN version.

The second result that Vietnam Customs has achieved is the implementation of the ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS)

The ACTS system began official operation on November 30, 2020, with 6 participating member countries including Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Currently, the Standing Center Management Team is operating the ACTS System at the ASEAN Secretariat headquarters (Jakarta, Indonesia) with financial and technical support from the European Union (EU) through the ARISE PLUS Project.

It is known that the number of transit shipments undergoing customs procedures through the ACTS System increases each year, mainly from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia. In 2023 alone, a total of 98 ACTS transit shipments were carried out.

ACTS system
ACTS system

The plan is that in the future, issues related to guarantees will be resolved; encourage businesses to use ACTS to transport goods; support countries participating in ACTS through organizing retraining for Customs authorities and businesses to be able to effectively deploy the ACTS system; coordinate with the ASEAN Freight Forwarders Association (AFFA) and national shipping associations to disseminate knowledge; organise training and weekly online meetings on ACTS implementation.

In Vietnam, to ensure the automation of customs procedures for transportation of goods in transit across ASEAN borders by road vehicles, Vietnam Customs has advised and submitted to the Government for promulgating Decree 46/2020/ND-CP regulates procedures for implementing ACTS. Through a common customs procedure, the ACTS System allows businesses to transport goods freely across ASEAN member countries.

Notably, the implementation of the ACTS System requires the coordination of relevant ministries and branches, including the roles of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Transport and commercial banks related to guarantee.

Regarding system operation, with the support of ARISE PLUS experts, the ACTS system has been completely installed, and fully updated with the new version's functions, and Vietnam Customs officers also received training to operate and manage the system.

As a result, Vietnam successfully deployed the first transit shipment through the ACTS System in February 2024 at Moc Bai Customs Branch, Tay Ninh Customs Department.

The AEO Mutual Recognition Agreement in ASEAN (AAMRA)

Regarding AAMRA, it has been signed by 10 ASEAN countries and has taken effect from September 19, 2023. The implementation of this Agreement is divided into two groups: Group 1 is countries that have already implemented the authorized economic operators (AEOs) program (including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and Group 2 is countries that are starting to implement the AEOs program (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar).

AEO ASEAN
AEOs ASEAN

The assessment shows that currently 6 countries including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand have completed practical appraisal at AEO and started the pilot phase within 6 months.

For Vietnam, we are waiting to complete domestic procedures to carry out actual appraisal at AEO enterprises. After completing the appraisal, Vietnam will participate in the pilot with the above 6 countries. In ASEAN, Vietnam Customs has also established a task group to fully participate in SWG-AAMRA activities.

Notably, Vietnam Customs is amending domestic legal regulations to ensure that the conditions for recognizing Vietnam's AEO enterprises are similar to those of signatory countries and are similar to the regulations on AEO in the SAFE Standard Framework of WCO before performing AEO appraisal.

Regarding the cooperation in customs control and enforcement

Operation "Mekong Dragon" is an initiative to prevent smuggling jointly initiated by China Customs and Vietnam Customs with the coordination support of the Pacific Regional Intelligence Liasion Office for Asia and the Pacific (WCO-RILO AP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Conference summarizing the Mekong Dragon Campaign phase 5 on November 21, 2023. Photo: Thái Bình
Conference summarizing the Mekong Dragon Campaign phase 5 on November 21, 2023. Photo: Thái Bình

The campaign marks a highlight of Vietnam Customs in proactive integration and cooperation in strengthening control against smuggling and transnational crime in the region and globally. With the success of the Campaign, members of ASEAN Customs participated, increasing the number of participating members to 25 Customs agencies in the region.

In addition, Vietnam Customs has been actively participating in control and compliance cooperation activities through the information exchange mechanism on customs control which focuses on hot issues such as anti-smuggling, illegal transport of drugs, trafficking wildlife, and tobacco, as well as contributing news to periodic Customs Control and Post-clearance Audit Bulletins of ASEAN.

In 2023, Vietnam Customs has actively built capacity and developed human resources by coordinating with Australian Customs to successfully organize the 6th JCMMP Program in October 2023 in Ho Chi Minh City. The program had the participation of Customs representatives from ASEAN countries, Australian Customs, and Japanese Customs and received very positive feedback from the participants. All parties recognized the effectiveness and agreed to continue coordinating with main partners to implement similar programs in the future.

illustration image
illustration image

Vietnam Customs has also taken advantage of the opportunity to participate in capacity-building activities in ASEAN to train and foster officials and civil servants in many professional fields such as value, origin, classification, and customs enforcement. In addition, through the ASEAN channel, customs officers have also been sent to participate in many training activities sponsored by ASEAN partners, thereby improving professional qualifications and leadership and management skills.

Regarding cooperation contents on the ASEAN Single Window Mechanism

Vietnam Customs is still implementing following the common progress of ASEAN. Accordingly, Vietnam Customs has completed and notified the ASEAN Secretariat about the function of looking up Vietnam's e-C/O Form D so that businesses and related parties can look up on National Single Window information portal (https://vnsw.gov.vn) from August 2021.

Vietnam Customs leave its mark on ASEAN by six outstanding results
The General Department of Vietnam Customs has performed the permanent role of the National Steering Committee on connecting the national single window, ASEAN single window and trade facilitation.

Up to now, the connection and exchange of C/O Form D has been carried out entirely on Vietnam's National Single Window. Problems are resolved based on the mechanism agreed in the ASEAN Working Groups.

Regarding the exchange of ASEAN Customs Declarations (ACDD) through the ASEAN Single Window, until May 2024, except for Laos, which has not yet joined the system, Vietnam Customs has successfully exchanged data with 7 countries and is continuing to run pilot exchange and fix technical errors with the remaining country (Brunei).

In addition, within the bilateral framework, Vietnam Customs has completed the technical testing of connection and message exchange testing export customs declarations with the Eurasian Economic Union; exchanging electronic C/O information with Korea; exchange of electronic quarantine certificates with New Zealand.

By Nụ Bùi/Thanh Thuy

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