Customs, the companions of importers and exporters

16:11 | 01/02/2017 Trade

(VEN) - The past year saw greater efforts by Vietnam’s customs authorities to create the most favorable conditions for export-import activities.  

customs the companions of importers and exporters

These included implementation of Governmental Resolution 19/NQ-CP on improving the business environment, and Governmental Resolution 35/NQ-CP on supporting the development of businesses by 2020 with a series of reforms in mechanisms, policies and administrative procedures.

To implement the directions of the government and the Ministry of Finance, in 2016 Vietnam customs focused on raising professional ability and improving service.

In particular, the sector strengthened information technology applications to reduce the time and costs of businesses. Many procedures were revised or abolished. This resulted in reducing the time for customs clearance from 21 days to 14 days for exports and to 13 days for imports. In addition, customs departments and sub-departments implemented electronic customs clearance, signed cooperation agreements in export and import levies with 31 commercial banks, and implemented the National One-Stop-Shop Customs Mechanism in 12 seaports. They also applied the ASEAN One-Stop-Shop Customs Mechanism that was technically connected with Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, leading to a reduction by 10-20 percent in export-import costs and 30 percent in the time required for customs clearance.

After a long period of preparations, the General Department of Vietnam Customs launched specialized inspections of exports and imports in eight customs departments, including those in the cities of Hai Phong, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Lang Son, Quang Ninh, Da Nang, Lao Cai and Quang Ngai in 2016, providing better support for businesses in customs declaration and clearance.

The implementation of revised policies and administrative reform measures significantly contributed to improving the Vietnamese business environment in 2016. According to the annual World Bank report on ease of doing business in 2016, Vietnam moved up nine notches, climbing to 82nd position from 91st position last year on the list of 190 economies. Thanks to the eased customs procedures, cross-border trading moved up 15 ranks to 93rd position, according to the report.

Further promoting reforms

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, despite the advances in administrative procedure reforms, the sector needs to make further efforts. The deputy director general of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vu Ngoc Anh, said that other administrative reforms were being implemented in order to achieve the following objectives: more comprehensive testing methods and export-import duty policies, and a legal framework for the implementation of the National One-Stop-Shop Customs Mechanism.

In the process of drafting legal documents, the customs sector will continue to collect suggestions and responses from businesses and individuals to strengthen dialogue. It will also organize training courses on customs policies and administrative procedures with the goal of providing information about policy change, new administrative procedures and institutional solutions to create the most favorable business environment, identify barriers and overcome difficulties in export-import activities.

As a standing agency of the National Steering Committee for the ASEAN and National One-Stop-Shop Customs Mechanism and Trade Facilitation, the General Department of Vietnam Customs will also work to change testing methods in specialized inspections in order to reduce the rate of imported consignments for specialized inspections from 30-35 percent to 15 percent.

Customs authorities will advise the Ministry of Finance on updating databases with information on new legal documents pertaining to the customs sector so they can be posted on the ministry’s website to keep businesses abreast of new developments affecting them.

Deputy Minister of Finance Vu Thi Mai:

The Ministry of Finance sees customs departments as the companions of the business community. These customs

departments will always pay attention to suggestions and responses from businesses and individuals, and then seek solutions

to overcome difficulties and create the most favorable conditions for sustainable business development.

Hoang Chau