Vietnam-US project yields revamping of customs controls

08:50 | 05/11/2019 Trade

(VEN) - New guidelines by the Vietnamese government, drafted in consultation with the business sector and the help of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), seek to improve the efficiency of specialized inspections and customs-to-business partnerships. The guidelines, known as Circular 60, went into effect on October 15, amending 2015 guidelines on customs and border procedures, which had proven inefficient and were preventing Vietnam from improving its trade competitiveness.

vietnam us project yields revamping of customs controls

Circular 60 is one of the first outcomes of the five-year (2019-2023), US$21.7 million USAID Trade Facilitation Program aimed at helping Vietnam adopt and implement a risk management approach to customs and specialized inspection agencies.

At a recent seminar on the new directive, Nguyen Duong Thai, Deputy General Director of the General Department of Vietnam Customs said the consultative process of amending and revising the previous circular reflected a new partnership between customs authorities and businesses in enforcing customs laws.

Circular 60 includes revised and new provisions clarifying the software needed for specialized inspections to evaluate the worth of imported and exported machinery and thus overcome persistent customs undervaluation or overvaluation of goods.

Vietnam’s specialized inspections involve multiple ministries, causing major delays in border clearances, costing traders time and money, and hurting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) the most. Thai told seminar participants that a new regulation included in Circular 60 is aimed at ensuring transparency of customs value verification.

According to Thai, audit results in 2018 showed that customs authorities subjected many goods to special inspection but failed to identify suspicious signs, such as a declared price that was lower than the main constituent materials and transportation costs of the items.

Under the new guidelines, risky enterprises are subject to customs value management, an important shift of customs management from transaction-based control to importer and exporter-based control, Thai said.

Circular 60 also includes revised regulations on customs value verification related to specific goods, such as imports that are used for repurposed goods and are not subject to tax; and goods that are transported to Vietnam by postal service and express delivery without a sales-purchase contract and commercial invoices.

Circular 60/2019/TT-BTC provides important guidance on the following matters: Supporting documents needed for

applying the transaction value method; customs value of repurposed goods, which are disposed of; customs value of

machinery and equipment imported with accompanied operating software; customs values of carrier media containing

software for data processing equipment.

Song Huong