Vietnam to make customs reform

Container trucks carrying farming products wait for customs clearance at Tan Thanh Border gate Customs Division in northern Lang Son province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The
Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF) will help Vietnam to establish a
customs bond system – part of the country’s efforts to modernise and reform
administrative procedures relating to import and export.

The GATF and the Vietnam Private
Sector Forum (VPSF) launched their joint project on customs bond last week,
aimed at facilitating customs clearance in Vietnam. A customs bond is an
agreement that ensures that any importer will pay all fees and taxes as well
as operate according to all laws and regulations.

This
is the start of the GATF’s Technical Assistance Project with the Government of Vietnam
to help the country implement its World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitments,
as well as implement the Government’s Resolution 19 on improving the national
competitiveness and business environment.

Vietnam
is the first country in Asia and the first developing country in the world to
be selected by donor countries in the WTO to receive technical assistance under
the agreement on WTO Trade Facilitation, in effect since February 22, 2017 when
112 countries ratified it.

The
scheme will be co-ordinated by the PM’s Advisory Council for Administrative
Reform, whose standing agency is the Government Office.

Customs bonds are designed to
streamline importers’ process for bringing goods into the country. Anyone that
is importing goods or transporting them locally is required by the customs
agency to purchase a bond from a surety company. If an importing company
fails to pay fees or follow regulations, Customs can file a claim against the
bond. The surety company would then pay to make restitution, but in the end the
importing company is required to pay back the surety company.

According to the advisory
council, a customs bond is a trade-facilitating mechanism widely used in
countries such as the US, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, the UK, Singapore,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and the Republic of Korea.

Basically, the mechanism is meant
to separate the releasing of goods at border gates and the preparation and
submission of required customs documentations to facilitate the export or
import into the country.

Once importers or exporters have
customs bonds, they are guaranteed to fulfill their tax obligations before
their goods arrive in the country, so the goods can undergo faster customs
clearance.

GATF director Philippe Isler said
that the GATF would provide Vietnam feasible solutions to implement WTO
commitments, increase national competitiveness and improve business climate.

[Over 180,000 documents processed via one-stop-shop mechanism]

Foreign experts from WTO member
countries will assist with administrative procedure reforms, reviewing and
amending the legal framework as well as monitoring Vietnam Automated Cargo and
Port Consolidated System/Vietnam Customs Information System (VNACCS/VCIS).

A customs bond system would be a
breakthrough in facilitating trade in Vietnam, he said.

Nguyen Viet Nga, vice head of
International Affairs Department under Vietnam Customs, said that in Vietnam,
customs clearance operations consumed up to 72 percent of required time for goods
to be released from border gates because of cumbersome procedures relating to
specialised inspections of goods.

Dao Huy Giam, General Secretary
of the Vietnam Private Sector Forum, said that the customs bond has helped
enterprises, surety companies and customs effectively monitor import and export
processes and save time in customs clearance.

An official from the Insurance
Supervisory Authority under the Finance Ministry told thoibaotaichinhvietnam.vn that
over 30 non-life insurance companies in Vietnam provided insurance guarantees
but none of them offered customs bond.

Surety companies face major
difficulties such as a lack of information about insured companies or the risk
of losing money that they paid to make restitution. 

Vietnam has climbed 9 spots to 82
from 91 on the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 ranking, and moved 15
spots up to 93 from 108 for improved border-trade indicators related to
import-export operations. Time needed to handle customs procedures was cut from
138 hours to 108 hours.

Vietnam wants to cut down the
required time for customs procedures from 108 hours to 80 hours by 2020.-VNA



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