July 14, 2020 10:15

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Customs sector removes difficulties for enterprises

18:28 | 07/05/2020

VCN – Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, lots of enterprises have faced difficulties not only in manufacturing and operating business but also in submitting documents to enjoy special prefferential tariffs.

customs sector removes difficulties for enterprises
Professional activities of customs officials of Bac Thang Long Industrial park Customs Branch. Photo: N.Linh

Customs authorities have many solutions as well as suggested solutions to higher levels for supporting import - export enterprises.

"Hot" issue of C/O submission

Regarding C/O submission, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has received many suggestions from competent agencies granting C/O and reflections of enteprises about facing difficulties in submitting C/O due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Head of the Customs Control and Supervision Division 4 (Customs Control and Supervision and Control Department) Hoang Thi Thuy, after receiving the problems of the enterprises, the General Department of Vietnam Customs grasped the situation, summarised and recommended to the Ministry of Finance some solutions.

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, currently, enterprises requested to extend the time for additional submission of C/O and submit scanned file of C/O (in PDF format) to enjoy special preferential tariff rates as prescribed due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Based on current regulations, the practical situation and Directive 11/CT-TTg of the Prime Minister dated March 4, 2020, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has drafted proposals regarding solutions.

For the case of submitting C/O to enjoy special preferential tariff rates, based on Directive No. 11 and Directive No. 02/CT-BTC dated March 13, 2020 of the Ministry of Finance on urgent tasks to remove difficulties for production and business and relevant legal documents, the General Department of Vietnam Customs proposed applying the time of C/O submission during the pandemic to forms for C/O within the validity period of C/O; this guidance complied with provisions of international commitments.

For submitting C/O to implement cargo clearance, the General Department of Vietnam Customs proposed allowing enterprises to submit scanned files of C/O (PDF format) when carrying out customs procedures. For searching and comparing electronic C/O on the system for forms of C/O, the General Department of Vietnam Customs said based on the proposal of Indonesia and India about officially granting C/Os using seals and electronic signatures (affixed signatures and seals), customs authorities could check the information on C/O by accessing the website of the authority granting C/O of Indonesia and India. Therefore, the General Department of Vietnam Customs proposed accepting C/O form D and AI forms using seals and electronic signatures from April 1, 2020 if parties can search for information related to C/O on the website of competent authorities granting the C/O as a basis for the application of preferential tariff rates. This would be applied to other forms of C/O if complying with international commitments and customs authorities can check the validity of C/O on websites of competent authorities granting C/O. Customs authorities would accept C/O using stamps and electronic signatures after receiving an official notice from the authorities granting C/O.

This proposal is being submitted to leaders of the Ministry of Finance for consultation for the Ministry of Industry and Trade toward forming a circular amending and supplementing Circular No. 38/2018/TT-BTC and Circular No. 62/2019/TT-BTC stipulating origin of imported and exported goods.

Regularly monitoring enterprises’ issues, Le Dac Thanh- Admin Group C/O said that following information on Customs News as well as the sources of information from the text showed businesses were very interested in the upcoming instructions on C/O. Many people have exchanged questions about whether C/O has an electronic signature and on the website of competent agencies granting C/O providing information so the importing country can look up if it was accepted or not? For example, C/O form AI of India using electronic version, so enterprises were quite interested and expected Customs authorities would accept electronic C/O provided by India to Vietnam Customs soon. Thanh also said that with the current plans of the Customs authorities, it would remove obstacles for enterprises submitting C/O.

Considering recommendation on cargo storage

Not only the issue of C/O submission, Customs authorities have implemented many solutions to support businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, on extending time for goods deposited in bonded warehouses, the General Department of Vietnam Customs received feedback of enterprises. Due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus across the world, the export of goods being deposited in bonded warehouses to other countries faced difficulties because most import countries have refused to receive goods while the deadline of depositing goods in bonded warehouses was about to expire. Therefore, the enterprises requested the General Department of Vietnam Customs permit the extension of goods deposited in bonded warehouses for shipments.

According to Clause 1, Article 61 of the Customs Law, “Goods deposited in bonded warehouses shall be kept within 12 months since the date of depositing into the warehouses; in case of having appropriate reasons, it may be extended once for not more than 12 months by the Director of the Customs Department managing the bonded warehouse." The Customs Law and Decree No. 08/2015/ND-CP dated January 21, 2015 of the Government currently lacks regulations for the force majeure cases such as natural disasters or epidemics, to be allowed to extend the time for depositing in bonded warehouses. Therefore, the customs authorities were not authorised to extend the time of depositing goods in bonded warehouses. In the future, the Customs authorities would guide enterprises to contact the customs branch managing their bonded warehouse to have guidance about the handling plan to create the optimal conditions for the expired shipment deposited in bonded warehouses. In the long run, with the increasing outbreak of Covid-19 in the world, the exportation of enterprises would face long-term difficulties, while extending storage period of goods deposited in bonded warehouses was under the Government's authority.. Therefore, the General Department of Vietnam Customs would propose the Government consider issuing regulations to address the storage period for goods (not only bonded warehouses but also other forms such as temporary import and re-export) to facilitate enterprises.

Reduce the burden of inspection

Complying with Directive 11 / CT-TTg of Prime Minister dated March 4, 2020 on urgent tasks and solutions to remove difficulties for production and business while ensuring social security to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, to create favourable conditions for businesses to focus on solving difficulties and maintain production and business, and at the same time, not allow enterprises to take advantage of this policy to violate the law according to Directive 11/CT-TTg, in terms of checking the settlement report in 2020, the General Department of Vietnam Customs requested provincial Customs Departments review and only make a list of enterprises showing signs of violations and report to the General Department of Vietnam Customs for approval.

For inspection of the settlement report under the list approved in 2019 by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, if provincial Customs Departments had not completed the inspection under the plan approved by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the Customs Department would only continue conducting inspection for enteprises showing signs of violations. If the enterprise does not show any signs of violations, Customs Department should formulate criteria for assessment and classification of risks to set up inspection plans the next year.

By Ngọc Linh/Thanh Thuy