Vietnam’s PM Urges Improvement of Customs Process

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HANOI — Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, has called the country’s lengthy import-export procedures “unacceptable” and has proposed upgrading the process so that it is more in line with standards around the Asian region.

In particular, Vietnam needs to simplify the customs processes and procedures related to import and export activities in order to reduce the time involved. Additionally, improvements also need to be made in the government’s management capacity so that it can become more transparent and in line with international norms.

Currently, export procedures in Vietnam last for four days – the regional average is two days.  The Prime Minister also acknowledged that there are often frequent cases of corruption and harassment that arise during the customs process. The government has thus proposed to improve its use of information technology in order to facilitate import/export procedures and reduce the contact time between enterprises and customs officers, thus reducing the chances for corruption.

RELATED: Vietnam Applies “Single Door” Mechanism to Customs Process

The Prime Minister also added that the customs department should equip itself with modern technology, including scanners, to better control smuggling.

The government will also crack down on temporary import and re-export activities, especially for products such as alcoholic drinks, tobacco and animal parts.

A report prepared by the Vietnam Customs department says the fight against smuggling and trade fraud has seen positive results in the first half of the year. By mid-June 2014, more than 8,900 cases were discovered and solved. Import-export contributions to the State budget were VND117.5 trillion (nearly US$5.5 billion), 24.4 percent higher year on year. Import-export taxes were VND38.1 trillion (US$1.8 billion), special consumption taxes were VND6.9 trillion (US$329 million), environmental protection tax grossed VND94 billion (US$4.4 million) and VND72.2 trillion (US$3.4 billion) came from value-added tax.

Deputy General Director of Vietnam Customs, Nguyen Duong Thai, explained that the six month increase in turnover came about because of the rapid increase in the levels of certain types of imported goods, such as petroleum, cars, car parts and machines, which have a high turnover and high tax rate.

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