Vietnam Customs holds dialogue with European Business Community

14:07 | 06/09/2017 MUTRAP Corner

The General Department of Vietnam Customs in collaboration with EuroCham and Vietnam Business Forum recently held a dialogue entitled: “European Business Community and Customs Agencies are reliable partners for development" with more than 220 European businesses in Ho Chi Minh City to help clear customs issues of their concern, especially customs revaluation.

vietnam customs holds dialogue with european business community
Deputy General Director of Vietnam Customs Hoang Viet Cuong addresses the conference - Photo: baohaiquan.vn

Addressing the conference, Deputy General Director of Vietnam Customs Hoang Viet Cuong appreciated EU businesses’ contribution to Vietnam’s economic growth, noting that improving the business climate and businesses’ competitiveness is critical to the sustainable growth and competitiveness of the Vietnamese economy.

The customs sector is striving to realise trade facilitation targets, including cutting down the time needed to handle customs procedures for export goods from 108 hours to 70 hours, and for import goods from 138 hours to 90 hours, the official added.

A survey by the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) shows that most of the questioned businesses still know little about regulations on customs revaluation. EuroCham Executive Director Almut Roessner said as most revaluation decisions in Vietnam were made by basing on customs database or reference values collected in the internet, they haven’t been objective or in line with regulations. According to the HCM City Customs Department, only 2-3 percent of commercial goods had their customs value revaluated in 2016. The 25-percent figure provided by EuroCham might include non-commercial goods.

The European Union (EU) holds a major proportion in trade with and investment in Vietnam. Bilateral trade jumped almost 11 times from 4.1 billion USD in 2000 to 45 billion USD in 2016 and is forecast to hit 50 billion USD this year.

vietnam customs holds dialogue with european business community
At the conference - Photo: baohaiquan.vn

In response to European firms’ opinions, Nguyen Quoc Toan, deputy head of the department’s export-import tariffs division, assured that customs valuation has always been conducted in conformity with legal regulations and in a transparent manner. Customs database is not used as a basis for adjusting goods’ customs value.

vietnam customs holds dialogue with european business community

To tackle obstacles during the handling of customs procedures, the customs sector will work harder to popularise new legal documents and regulations among businesses, thereby helping to promote their awareness and coordination with customs agencies in enforcing law, preventing smuggling and trade fraud, and creating a healthy business and competition environment, he said.

There were 48 questions (17 pre-submitted and 31 onsite) which addressed by relevant leaders of DoC HCMC. Most of the questions were about Customs re-valuation while the rest was about other various Customs procedures.

The DoC also will combine all questions and respond, publish in writing as the basis for companies to work with other agencies in the future. Seeing the huge demand of companies on the revaluation topic, the DoC has kindly suggested that EuroCham and DoC HCMC should collaborate again to organise a training on Customs Valuation for Member businesses in September 2017.

In the closing remarks, Deputy General Director of Vietnam Customs Hoang Viet Cuong summarised the important discussion points throughout the dialogue. He asked the Custom agencies to continue listening to opinions from businesses, and take initiative in removing their difficulties. He also shares concerns of European business community on Customs Valuation which were basically due to lack of detail guidance and coordination between customs agencies and businesses. Enterprises are encouraged to utilise all of the channels to convey their difficulties and their concerns.

Dieu Linh