May. 3 – Following the relevant customs procedures when importing or exporting goods from Vietnam is one of the most vital aspects of doing business in a country where manufacturing costs are leveraged to its favor. Goods to be imported or exported are subject to the relevant customs clearance standards, which effectively check the quality, specifications, quantity and volume of the goods.
Following the standards set by the Vietnamese government, certain imported goods are subject to inspection. For example, imported pharmaceuticals must undergo testing and also include documents detailing product use, dosage and expiration dates (written in Vietnamese), which must also be included in or on the product packaging.
In addition, companies that import or export goods must submit a dossier of documents to the customs authorities. The dossier must include at least the company’s business registration certificate and import/export business code registration certificate.
Furthermore, imported goods require the following documents:
- Bill of lading;
- Cargo release order;
- Commercial invoice;
- Customs import declaration form;
- Inspection report;
- Packing list;
- Technical standard/health certificate; and
- Terminal handling receipts.
Exported goods need the following:
- Bill of lading;
- Certificate of origin;
- Commercial invoice;
- Customs export declaration form;
- Packing list; and
- Technical standard/health certificate.
According to Vietnamese Customs, companies that regularly export and import the same exact goods within a given period may use a single customs declaration form for carrying out the relevant customs procedures if the goods are listed under the same purchase and sales contract and are delivered within the delivery time listed on the purchase contract.
Moreover, companies that maintain a two-year importation record that is free of any customs-related violations are eligible for exemption from the inspection of the following goods:
- Fresh and raw foodstuff;
- Goods that require special preservation;
- Goods stored in bonded warehouses;
- Goods stored in tax-suspension warehouses;
- Imports to be taken into export processing zones, tax-suspension warehouses or other preferential customs zones;
- Liquid/bulky goods;
- Goods of a certain volume, quality and category as stipulated by the various state bodies or expert organizations;
- Regularly imported goods; and
- Other goods as stipulated by the government.
Export shipment procedures are typically completed on the same day. Import shipments typically take around 1 to 3 days to complete for full container loads (FCL) and less than container loads (LCL), respectively.
Vietnam has recently made changes to strengthen its customs management. On August 28, 2012, the Vietnamese government issued Document no.4509/TCHQ-GSQL (hereinafter referred to as the “Document”) regarding the procedures for commercial goods that are temporarily imported for re-export.
The Document covers the following procedures:
- Extension of time for the storage of temporarily imported goods for re-export;
- Ports for re-exporting goods;
- Goods declared for re-export at one branch of Customs which were sent through a different port when imported; and
- Certifying already re-exported goods.
For a complete list of the detailed changes the Document brings, please click here.
Dezan Shira & Associates is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia. Since its establishment in 1992, the firm has grown into one of Asia’s most versatile full-service consultancies with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam as well as liaison offices in Italy and the United States.
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