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Why did hundreds of customs brokers stop operating?

19:38 | 12/03/2021

VCN - The General Department of Customs issued Decision 328/QD-TTg dated February 24, 2021 to suspend the operation of brokers carrying out customs clearance for 114 customs clearance agents in the area of HCM City. Why were more than a quarter of customs brokers in Ho Chi Minh City suspended from doing customs procedures?

Customs brokers are given priority in carrying out customs procedures. Photo: T.H

Pause for up to 6 months

According to Mr. Dang Thai Thien, Deputy Head of Supervision and Management Division of Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, 114 agents were suspended (out of a total of more than 400 enterprises granted customs broker operation certificates) according to the provisions of Clause 1, Article 7 of Circular 12/2015/TT-BTC dated January 30, 2015 detailing procedures for granting Customs Declaration Professional Certificates, issuing and withdrawing codes of Customs broking staff, which is amended and supplemented in Clause 5, Article 1 of the Circular 22/2019/TT-BTC dated April 16, 2019 of the Ministry of Finance.

According to Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, although Circular 12/2015/TT-BTC of the Ministry of Finance clearly defined the rights and obligations of brokers, many companies have not fully implemented their rights and obligations in accordance with the regulation.

The most common violation is the failure to comply with quarterly reporting. In Point a, Clause 9, Article 13 of Circular 12/2015/TT-BTC, the Broker is responsible for: "Periodically on the 5th of the first month of the following quarter, reporting on the agency's operation according to the form to send to the local Customs Department or other necessary information for the customs management when requested in writing by the Customs office".

The circular clearly stipulates that if the broker does not report three times in a row, the General Department of Customs will consider terminating the operation of the agent.

According to the decision of the General Department of Customs, the brokers are suspended for a maximum period of 6 months from the date of decision issuance. Past the time limit of 6 months from the date of decision issuance, if the customs brokers fail to remedy the problem and request in writing to continue its operation, the General Department of Customs shall issue a decision to terminate the customs broker's operation as prescribed. So, during this time, the brokers need to quickly remedy the problem to continue operating.

Customs brokers need to pay attention to new regulations

According to Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, with the aim of building a unified, synchronous legal environment, creating favourable conditions for the provision of customs broker services to develop, and reviewing to amend and supplement a number of contents to suit the reality arising over the implementation period, on April 16, 2019, the Ministry of Finance issued Circular 22/2019/TT-BTC amending and supplementing a number of articles of Circular No.12/2015/TT-BTC. Brokerage enterprises need to understand them carefully to avoid errors and violations.

According to Mr. Dang Thai Thien, one of the important points in Circular 22 was to supplement the rights and responsibilities of shippers. Accordingly, Article 14 stipulates: “When there is a customs brokerage contract, the owner of the goods notifies a list of customs brokers on behalf of the owner of the goods to declare and carry out customs procedures for exported and imported goods through the electronic data processing system before brokers perform customs declaration and procedures for exported and imported goods”.

The announcement of the list of customs brokers on behalf of the owner of goods declaring and carrying out customs procedures is to prevent the brokers from using information of the import-export enterprises to carry out customs procedures, in order to commit fraudulent acts.

Circular 22 also specifies the broker's responsibility to sign customs brokage contracts with the owners of goods. Brokers only declare and carry out customs procedures for owners' export and import goods after owners notify a list of brokers on behalf of them to the Customs offices for carrying out customs procedures for export and import goods of owners.

The Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department will continue to hold seminars with the business community working in customs in the city. In particular, in addition to making many important notes, the Customs Department of Ho Chi Minh City will also exchange the cooperation model of Customs –Customs Brokers –Enterprises as well as implement the Development and Quality Improvement Plan for customs brokers.

By Le Thu/ Binh Minh