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Customs sector honoured as state agency with excellent digital transformation

13:43 | 10/09/2019

VCN - On September 6, the General Department of Customs was honoured at the Vietnam Digital Awards 2019 in the category of state agency with excellent digital transformation. This award is given by the Vietnam Digital Communications Association (VDCA) for achievements in digital transformation and digital economic development of Vietnam.  

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IT application activities are widely deployed in customs operations. Photo: T. Binh

IT application to reduce clearance time

This award is recognition for the strong progress of the Customs sector in IT application to reform and simplify administrative procedures, facilitate the business community and improve state and customs management efficiency.

A representative of the Customs IT and Statistics Department reviewed the outstanding results of IT applications and implementation of the National Single Window (NSW) and the ASEAN Single Window (ASW). To facilitate people and businesses in the customs process, the General Department of Customs has stepped up the application of IT in the fields of state management on customs. Especially, in the past five years, responding to the government's request on accelerating administrative reform and enhancing the application of IT, the General Department of Customs has made a great leap forward. This was a driving force for building a modern, professional, transparent and efficient Vietnam Customs, contributing to fulfilling objectives of customs reform and modernization and trade facilitation, towards building an e-government.

According to a World Bank report on the business environment, in 2017, Vietnam’s direct clearance time at border gates for exports decreased by three hours (from 58 to 55 hours); for imports decreased by six hours (from 62 to 56 hours); direct customs clearance at the border gate for a shipment reduced by US$19. It was estimated that with over 11 million declarations in 2017, businesses have saved over US$200 million in customs clearance; over 16 million hours of warehousing for exports (with 5.36 million export declarations) and over 34 million hours of warehousing for imports (with 5.72 million import declarations).

The above results reflect the efforts of the Government agencies in administrative reform in the field of cross-border trade. According to the World Bank report, in 2016 and 2017, Vietnam maintained its position in the top four countries with the highest cross-border goods index in the ASEAN region.

Customs procedures

The outstanding result in the IT application of Customs was appreciated by the Government and the business community.

Currently, customs procedures are completely carried out automatically by the VNACCS / VCIS at a very high level. More than 99.65 percent of enterprises participate in electronic customs procedures at 100 percent of customs units nationwide. The implementation of VNACCS / VCIS has reduced customs clearance time, cut paperwork and simplified customs documents. Remarkably, the time to receive and clear goods in the Green channel is only from one to three seconds.

In addition, since 2017, Vietnam Customs has launched the Automated System for Seaport Customs Management System (VASSCM) by connecting and exchanging information with seaport, airport and warehouse operators under customs supervision. With VASSCM, documents and procedures for taking goods out of port warehouses are simpler; reducing contact between customs and businesses; reducing travel time for import and export procedures; overcoming congestion at ports and warehouses; create convenience and transparency in business management and operation. Currently, VASSCM has been deployed at all Customs units across the country, especially those with large volume of imports and exports and means of entry and exit.

In addition, the General Department of Customs has also boosted the application of IT to provide online public services to better serve people and businesses, meeting the requirements of implementing the Government's Resolutions on administrative procedure reform, especially Resolution No. 36a / NQ-CP on e-Government. In this field, the General Department of Customs has made great efforts and determination to provide online public services. To date, 171 of 181 (91.4 percent) online public services at levels 3 and 4 have been provided.

Electronic payment (E-payment) is also a prominent IT application of Customs. Since 2012, the Customs has connected with the IT systems of commercial banks and the State treasuries to make E-payment. The tax revenue by electronic method accounted for more than 90 percent of the total revenue of the General Department. Recently, Customs has deployed the scheme of electronic tax payment and customs clearance 24/7. Accordingly, businesses can pay taxes at anytime, anywhere. This ensures that payment information is timely and accurately accounted for, reducing tax payment time and releasing goods immediately, thereby shortening customs clearance time.

In addition to IT application, as a Standing Agency of the National Steering Committee on ASW, NSW and trade facilitation (Committee 1899), the General Department of Customs has worked with ministries and sectors to accelerate the implementation of administrative procedures through the NSW.

By the end of August, 13 ministries and sectors joined the NSW with 174 administrative procedures. The total number of administrative records processed on the National Single Window was over 2.3 million and over 31,100 businesses joined the NSW.

From January 1, 2018, the Customs agency has worked with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Information and Communications to connect to the ASW. So far, Vietnam has exchanged certificates of origin form D (e-C/O form D) with five countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Brunei. At the same time, piloting to exchange C/O form D with two countries: Cambodia and the Philippines.

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The NSW and ASW have helped reducing paperwork, cut time and costs of administrative procedures in the field of import and export, changing specialized management and inspection method. At the same time, promoting the development of e-Government, improving the quality and efficiency of state management agencies, better serving people and businesses. In 2018, the official exchange of e-C/O saved US$7.89 million including US$2.95 million for imports and US$4.94 million for exports.

According to the Department of Information Technology and Customs Statistics, the General Department of Customs will develop and implement a master plan to connect Government agencies and supply chain parties (including commercial banks, insurance, import-export enterprises and logistics) related to e-commerce activities for goods exported and imported across borders on the basis of NSW, ASW. This IT application solution will continue to promote people and businesses in import and export activities.

By Thai Binh/ Huyen Trang