VCN- Facing the current specialized inspection, to improve the quality of inspection for import and export goods and comply with the Government’s direction, the Customs authority will be a focal point to carry out specialized inspection in the near future. Customs Newspaper interviewed Mr. Vu Le Quan, Deputy Director of Customs Control and Supervision Department (under the General Department of Vietnam Customs), about contents of the Scheme on specialized inspection reform.
|Mr. Vu Le Quan- Deputy Director of Customs Control and Supervision Department.|
How do you assess the current specialized inspection?
Recently, with the drastic direction of the Government, the specialized inspection for import-export goods has achieved positive results. The rate of goods subject to specialized inspection has fallen, and risk management has been gradually applied. However, it has not met the requirements of administrative reform and has not created a breakthrough change in the quality of inspection for export and import goods.
In fact, there are still many imported goods subject to specialized inspection, but technical standards/regulations for inspection have not been issued, and the inspection agency has not been designated. The scope of imported goods subject to specialized inspection issued by specialized management ministries is large. Although risk management principles such as inspection exemption, reduced inspection, normal inspection and strict inspection have been applied at different levels in specialized inspection fields, they have not been applied sufficiently and effectively.
At the same time, the specialized inspection is costly for enterprises and the State but is inefficient. According to Customs statistics, as of December 2019, there are 70,000 items subject to specialized inspection. Therefore, the cut in the last five years only reached 12,600 of 82,600 items. This rate is very low and does not meet the Government’s requirements and directions of cutting 50%.
In addition, there are still inappropriate and unnecessary regulations, such as checking energy efficiency for products manufactured with energy-saving technology; inspection for each shipment; many goods that do not cause insecurity at the border gate and take a lot of time for inspection, are still subject to pre-clearance inspection. Especially, there are still overlaps in specialized inspection for import-export goods.
|The rate of regime subject to specialized inspection and management of the total number of imported declaration subject to specialized inspection and management in 2019. Photo: T.B|
The General Department of Vietnam Customs is assigned by the Ministry of Finance to develop a scheme on reforming the model of quality inspection, food safety inspection of imported goods according to direction in the Government Resolution 99/NQ-CP. How does the General Department of Vietnam Customs perform this task?
In the last four months, with the determination and urgent implementation of the directions of the Government and the Ministry of Finance to fundamentally reform specialized inspection for imported and exported goods, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has researched and developed the Scheme on specialized inspection reform for imported goods. The General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) has actively established a Drafting Team of the Scheme (Decision 3422/QD-TCHQ dated November 21, 2019); the Ministry of Finance established a working team implementing the Government’s direction on specialized inspection reform. The GDVC has worked with domestic and international experts, associations, businesses and researchers; reported to the Government Office and received directions and comments from ministries and sectors in developing the scheme. It also researches and gained experience of other countries to apply in Vietnam. Currently, the scheme is being sent to businesses and business associations for comments. The GDVC expects to perfect the scheme to report to the Ministry of Finance to submit it to the Government in the first quarter.
The Scheme aims to cut costs, time and facilitate enterprises, improve the economic competitiveness on the basis of effective reform of specialized inspection towards the Customs authority being the focal point for implementation of specialized inspection at border gates (excluding goods related to security, defense, quarantine and culture), ensuring the effectiveness of state management, protecting legitimate rights and interests of production and business organizations and individuals and consumers.
Could you talk about remarkable reform contents in the scheme?
Through studying the model of quality inspection for import and export goods in some countries and assessing the reality in Vietnam, the GDVC will propose the new model to simplify, standardize and unify processes and procedures for quality inspection and food safety inspection for imported goods. The principle of developing the scheme is to comply with the provisions of the Product Quality Law, Food Safety Law and other relevant laws, and inherit well-implemented regulations.
On that basis, the GDV proposed the model of imported goods classified into five different inspection procedures towards gradual simplicity based on the history of quality inspection and food safety inspection conducted by ministries, sectors, the Customs authorities and organizations and law compliance of enterprises. If in the first step, enterprises will follow the current quality inspection process without changes. In the second, third, fourth and fifth steps, procedures will be cut significantly, especially, in instead of visiting many state management agencies and testing units, under the new model, the custom authority is the unique focal point to implement inspection procedures for enterprises.
The new model will simplify, standardize, and unify processes and procedures for quality inspection and food safety inspection. Particularly, the new model will change the approach from quality inspection by goods associated with goods owners into quality inspection by goods only. Expanding subjects exempted from quality inspection and food safety inspection. The new approach will improve enterprises’ compliance and ensure the role of state management agencies through the application of risk management principles in quality inspection and food safety inspection for imported goods and carry out random inspection on no more than 5% to assess compliance with the law. The new model will change the method of quality inspection (from strict inspection to normal inspection, from normal inspection to reduced inspection).
According to the GDVC, if goods meet three criteria of code, name and origin of goods, the number of commodity streams subject to be reduced will be large. For example, if the item subject to quality inspection is “flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel, of width of less than 600mm, clad, plated or coated” (HS code 72122010) is applied the former model, 15,301 commodity streams must be subject to inspection, if applying the new model, the number of commodity streams will reduce 12,360, with a reduction rate of 80.78%.
According to the draft scheme, what is the role of the Customs and the sate management agencies under ministries and sectors?
According to the new model, the quality control agencies include assigned agencies to perform state management on quality, products and goods under specialized management ministries and the customs authority. Management ministries conduct quality inspection for imported goods before enterprises carry out import procedures at customs authorities.
The Customs authority conducts quality inspection for imported goods at border gates when enterprises carry out import procedures at the Customs authority with specific tasks, including checking dossiers, notifying State quality inspection result for imported consignments to implement customs clearance; inspecting suspected quality consignments or implementing random on-site inspection based on the application of risk management principles. Customs authorities shall carry out inspections by equipment at site or ask for verification and testing at designated inspection organizations. This organization is selected by the enterprise and notified to the customs.
Could you tell us what solutions are needed to deploy the new model?
According to the proposal of the Customs, when applying the new model, there should be a legal basis for implementation, through the development of a Government Decree providing the method, order and procedures for quality inspection and food safety inspection for imported goods and replacing the provisions on quality inspection, food safety inspection for imported goods in the relevant decrees. Besides, the solution on perfecting the information technology system is necessary to ensure the connection, information sharing, automatic decision on subjects of exemption, publicizing and providing transparent information of goods quality.
Regarding human resources, customs authorities, especially officers at border gates, must improve the capacity of quality inspection, food safety inspection for imported goods; standardize processes, procedures, machines and equipment of the customs authorities to meet the requirements of goods quality inspection and food safety inspection according to standards and regulations of ministries and agencies. At the same time, conformity assessment organizations need to improve the quality of their operations; ministries and sectors should strengthen the inspection and examination of conformity assessment organizations.
By Ngoc Linh/Ngoc Loan