Customs urges reform to contribute to socio-economic recovery and development

Actively respond to Covid-19 pandemic

To effectively implement the Prime Minister’s Directive on urging and performing tasks after the Lunar New Year, Resolution 11/NQ-CP dated January 30, 2022 of the Government on the program of socio-economic recovery and development and Resolution 43/2022/QH15 of the National Assembly, the GDVC has directed departments to drastically execute the goals in Covid-19 prevention and control and recovery of economic development.

The top task of the customs sector is to actively monitor and follow the situation, prepare scenarios and solutions to effectively respond to the public health crisis; continue to drastically implement the tasks and solutions to prevent and control the Covid-19 pandemic.

The GDVC assigned its departments to immediately perform work to resume business production and socio-economic development activities, creating an exciting atmosphere at the beginning of the year to accomplish the targets in 2022.

The country’s top customs regulator has requested departments to focus on checking and reviewing legal documents, amending and completing legal provisions that still have shortcomings; prevent legal loopholes when implementing laws and ordinances promulgated by the National Assembly and Standing Committee of the National Assembly.

Strengthen dialogue, consultation and collection of feedback from associations and businesses to immediately remove institutional obstacles and barriers in implementing policies and laws to effectively improve the business and investment environment.

Officers are required to take the initiative and perform duties from the first working day after the Lunar New Year.

Holding dialogue conferences and removing institutional obstacles

The GDVC will actively coordinate with relevant ministries and government agencies to strengthen monitoring and effective implementation of duties assigned by the Government and the Prime Minister, especially for projects under the Working Program of the Politburo, the Secretariat, and contents reported to the National Assembly, the National Standing Committee, projects in the Work Program of the Government and Prime Minister in 2022 and tasks related to the prevention and control of the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring social security, economic recovery and development, removing difficulties and obstacles for people and businesses; proactively and regularly assess the performance of the units; promptly report and propose to competent authorities to handle and resolve problems.

The GDVC will also enhance the application of information technology and customs reform and modernization, focusing on effectively implementing Directive 384/CT-TCHQ dated February 8, 2022 of the GDVC’s Director General on promoting administrative reform and simplifying customs procedures towards paperless customs in 2022.

The country’s top customs authority also assigns specific tasks to its departments. For example, the Import-Export Duty Department is required to coordinate with relevant units and agencies to help the Ministry of Finance work with the State Bank of Vietnam in proactive and flexible management of monetary policy tools; monetary policy, closely follow fiscal policy and other macroeconomic policies to control inflation, stabilize the macro-economy, ensure major balances of the economy, and contributing to economic recovery and development.

The Customs Control and Supervision Department is in charge of coordinating with relevant agencies in researching and proposing the GDVC to advise the Ministry of Finance to work with the Ministry of Industry and Trade in promoting exports, especially in traditional markets, partner markets signed Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

Work with the northern border provinces and relevant agencies to continue monitoring, updating and ensuring the progress of customs clearance across the borders, especially for agricultural products; strictly implement the Prime Minister’s instructions on removing difficulties and circulating goods across the northern border gate.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, import and export activities have been affected seriously. The Customs sector has researched and simplified many procedures in the State management of customs. Focusing on information technology to facilitate enterprises to overcome difficulties and stabilize production. But, how do you evaluate the results achieved?

In 2021, the economy suffered a lot of damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, causing difficulties for business and production activities of enterprises. In order to overcome this challenge, the Customs sector has been implementing many practical solutions to facilitate trade and support businesses overcoming difficulties caused by Covid-19, by focusing on boosting production, business, recovery and socio-economic development.

With practical solutions, the General Department of Vietnam Customs and local customs departments have promptly solved many problems of enterprises and gained useful information helpful for administrative reform.

After the conference with the business community, held annually by the Ministry of Finance and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), a number of documents on customs procedures and tax administration have been issued to create more favorable conditions for enterprises in production and business activities.

In particular, in the years of 2020 and 2021, the Customs sector stood with businesses to deal with issues.

One of the highlights in supporting and accompanying businesses is that the Customs sector has actively reviewed and developed policies to ensure the “dual goal” of trade facilitation and pandemic prevention.

The Customs authority has proactively advised many solutions to both facilitate trade and ensure Covid-19 pandemic prevention, whilst preventing loss of revenue for the State budget. In particular, guiding and allowing businesses to submit customs dossiers in electronic, temporarily halting physical inspections for goods which are located in the blocked areas and Suspending inspections for businesses that do not have signs of violations. This Allows Saigon Newport Corporation to transport goods from Cat Lai port to seaports and inland container depots in the same seaport system of the Corporation in Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong provinces, Dong Nai.

Support to carry out quick customs clearance procedures is essential. Guiding quick clearance for shipments of medical supplies is also integral to help support the Government.

At the same time, the Customs Authority will participate in the development of guidelines to support import and export activities in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Accordingly, the Ministry of Finance issued Circular 82/2021/TT-BTC, dated September 30, 2021, which said, “Regulations on customs supervision will be imposed to alleviate pressures caused by imported goods transferred from congested border gates and seaports”. This follows Directive No. 16/CT-TTg dated March 31, 2021.

In addition, the Ministry of Finance continues to propose to the Prime Minister to include in the Government meeting agenda a resolution to solve the difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is with regard to extending the suspension of duty-free store’s operations and allowing export processing enterprises to rent warehouses outside industrial parks.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Finance is also finalizing a draft Circular, detailing the regulations on customs procedures for imported goods in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the reality showed that, with diversified customs procedures of many types, it is inevitable that problems will arise that may affect the clearance time of enterprises. But those problems will be solved following the principle of transparency, openness and unification.

In the near future, what steps will the Customs authorities take?

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Customs sector has been applying maximum risk management measures, thereby reducing the burden on customs procedures.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs continues to direct provincial and municipal customs departments to coordinate with competent forces at border gates, in order to maintain solutions to ensure cargo clearance.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs also continues to review and complete the legal basis, customs procedures for import and export goods and means of transport on entry and exit. Simplifying customs dossiers, eliminating unnecessary documents and simplifying professional processes will also be their aim.

In particular, through dialogue, Customs authorities will promptly solve difficulties at border gates. Also, the Customs Authority wants to disseminate new legal documents and regulations to businesses to help them understand import and export procedures, to raise the awareness of law compliance in the business community and coordinate well with Customs in enforcing the law against smuggling and trade fraud, creating a healthy business environment in the business community.

The Customs Authority expected that businesses would be more proactive in responding to difficulties and obstacles in law enforcement. At the same time, they would actively contribute and propose solutions to the management agency in the development and supplement of laws related to tax and customs. This is in order to ensure feasibility, fairness and transparency of legal documents.