Vietnam to Introduce Customs Bond to Facilitate Customs Clearance

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By: Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Koushan Das

Vietnam will be introducing a customs bond system to facilitate customs clearance and reform import and export procedures. The joint project launched by the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF) and Vietnam Private Sector Forum (VPSF) on 1st September will help in modernizing the import and export administrative procedures. GATF will work with local government agencies and monitor the Vietnam Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System (VNACCS) and Vietnam Customs Information System (VCIS) to assist in implementing the new system.

GATF consists of the World Economic Forum, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the Center for International Private Enterprise together with the governments of Australia, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States to setup a public private platform to support trade facilitation reforms.

The project will assist Vietnam in meeting its WTO commitments and implementing its government’s Resolution 19, which aims to improve the business environment and national competitiveness. Vietnam will be the first Asian country and the first developing nation to be selected by WTO under the WTO Trade Facilitation. The WTO Trade Facilitation, which came into effect on February 22, 2017, after being ratified by 112 countries, aims to ease trade procedures, reduce barriers, and increase developing countries engagement with global trading routes. 

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Customs bond

Customs bond is an agreement, which ensures that importers will pay all relevant fees and taxes and operate in accordance with all laws and regulations. As per the new reforms, anyone importing goods or transporting them locally must buy a bond from a surety company. If the importing company is unable to pay the fees or follow regulations, customs department can file a claim against the bond. In that case, the surety company will be required to compensate to customs and the importing company will be required to pay back to the surety company.

Customs bond is currently used in the US, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, UK, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and South Korea.

Benefits of customs bond

Customs clearance procedures in Vietnam accounts for 72 percent of the total time it takes goods to be released from the border. Customs bonds will significantly reduce the customs clearance timeline for importers and exporters and act as a contract to ensure that importers oblige with duties, taxes, and fees owed to the government.

In addition, it will lead to an increase in trade volumes, effective trade monitoring, government revenues, and overall economic growth. The new system aims to streamline the cumbersome customs documentations procedures leading to a faster customs clearance.

To ensure the success of customs bond, the government has to make sure that surety companies have all the information about the importers so that they do not incur losses while making restitutions to customs.

Related-Reading-Icon-Asean Link RELATED: Customs Procedures in Vietnam

Going forward

The government has taken numerous steps in the last few years such as electronic customs clearance, to reduce complications and delays in import and export procedures. In the recent World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 ranking, Vietnam climbed nine spots to 82, with cross-border trading ranking related to import-export operations rising by 15 spots to 93. As per the report, the time needed to handle import and export procedures, which includes documentation and border clearances stood at 138 and 108 hours respectively. Vietnam aims to reduce it to 80 and 60 hours respectively by 2020.

Vietnam has to continue to modernize and reform its trade related procedures to increase competitiveness and integrate further into the global supply chains.


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