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Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hoang Quang Phong: Customs is one of the leading sectors on reform and modernization

15:09 | 15/12/2018

VCN- As one of the leading sectors in this trend, the Customs sector has actively applied modern customs management methods with key measures including applying risk management; promoting IT application in all aspects of Customs management; basically transferring from pre-inspection into post-clearance audit; developing National Single Window Portal  to connect administrative procedures of ministries and management agencies  with the Customs agency to reduce the Customs clearance time, and cost for businesses.

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vice president of the vietnam chamber of commerce and industry hoang quang phong customs is one of the leading sectors on reform and modernization
Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hoang Quang Phong

It can easily be seen that the number of administrative procedures has reduced from 239 procedures before the effective date of Customs law 2014, to 183 procedures to current date. Almost all administrative procedures have been simplified and electronically implemented, creating maximum favorable conditions for businesses.

According to the latest report by the World Bank, in 2017, the time for Customs procedures in the total time for carrying out procedures for an imported shipment accounts for only 11%. For the exported goods, the time for Customs procedures accounts for only 4 % of the total time. The Customs clearance time of goods across border gates has significantly shortened, reducing 6 hours for the imported goods (reducing from 138 hours to 132 hours), and reducing 3 hours for exported goods (reducing from 108 hours to 105 hours). The cost for Customs clearance across border gate has reduced to US$ 19/container for both imported and exported goods. This has contributed to making the cost for administrative procedures in the Customs field to be at the top for lowest cost procedures- the Government’s Offices reported.

In my opinion, the management of cross-border trade is not only the responsibility of the Customs sector. In the total time that the business must carry out to take the exported goods across border gate, the time for Customs procedures only accounts for 28% of the total time, and over 70% the time for cross-border trade belongs to specialized ministries and sectors (about 10 – 11 specialized ministries related to this trade). The bottlenecks in the implementation of administrative procedures in cross-border trade mainly belongs in ministries and sectors. In which, the implementation of procedures by the Customs sector is most effective while other ministries still delay. Therefore, the Customs’ determination is not enough; it requires the contribution and support by other ministries and sectors. We really create better favorable conditions for Customs clearance of Vietnam.

vice president of the vietnam chamber of commerce and industry hoang quang phong customs is one of the leading sectors on reform and modernization
The Customs sector has focused on investing modern equipment in the Customs operation. In the photo: the operation in the fixed container scanners center (under Hai Phong Customs Department). Photo: T.B

Currently, there are many overlapping legal normative documents which cause difficulties for business and Customs. When the business asks the Customs officers, these officers only quote in the document or request the business to further study in other documents. Meanwhile, these documents are also not specific, so that it is difficult for the business to understand. Thus, the business community expects the Customs agency to provide specific instruction and explain for them to understand rather than to quote in the documents for response. For the documents that have many different understandings, the Customs should provide the implementation towards both effective management and facilitation for the business community. In order to remove these shortcomings, the Customs agency should gather questions which are regularly sent by businesses to be specifically answered in a document or a book, or publicize these answers on the Portal, so that the business community can search the answers. I desire that the specialized inspection procedures should be assigned a focal agency, which is the General Department of Vietnam Customs, to process procedures more quickly and the coordination between the Customs sector and other ministries and sectors is the internal coordination of the management agencies. In addition, now there are many ministries’ and IT Infrastructure is incompatible, while we are developing toward an e-Government that takes advantage of the efficiency of IT. Therefore, I hope that the Government will make an appropriate investment in the IT infrastructure and software for this work. Accordingly, the coordination between ministries and sectors will be effective and the result of processing procedures on the National Single Window portal and ASEAN Single Window Portal will satisfy our desires and meet requirements of regional and world integration.

By Xuan Thao/ Ngoc Loan