Vietnam Works to Modernize Customs Procedures
Dec. 6 – In an effort to modernize its customs sector, Vietnam’s government is looking to strengthen relationships with foreign enterprises over the next two years.
Last week, the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of Ho Chi Minh City held a dialogue with more than 220 representatives from Vietnam’s General Department of Customs and foreign-direct invested enterprises to brainstorm methods for improving the relationship between Vietnam’s business community and the customs sector in coming years. The dialogue concluded that stronger linkages would undoubtedly benefit the import-export activities of foreign companies through improved management and modernization of customs procedures.
According to Tran Quoc Dinh, deputy head of the department’s Customs Reform and Modernization Board, solidifying the linkages between customs officials and enterprises is one of the key pillars in developing an effective customs system in today’s global trade environment. Better ties would provide several platforms from which enterprises can share their opinions about policies and procedures, he said.
To address the complaints of foreign enterprises, the government has recently made efforts to simplify its customs procedures through policy change. For instance, Circular 128/2013/TT-BTC from the Ministry of Finance went into effect last month and helps facilitate the import and export activities of enterprises operating in Vietnam.
The circular, among other things, requires fewer documents from businesses, provides clearer guidelines for customs declarations and allows businesses to request pre-determined export and import codes.
“The circular is in full accordance with international practices and provides greater flexibility for the foreign investor,” says Hoang Thu Huyen, Country Manager of Dezan Shira’s Vietnam offices.“So, by additionally facilitating a dialogue between customs and enterprises like the forum last week, it is evident that the government shows interest in providing laws and regulations that will yield more effective procedures in the future.”
While discussing other problems at the dialogue, department representatives also agreed to create more conditions under which companies may receive priority in export-import activities and announced plans to establish a customs unit tasked with managing enterprise relations and assist with the preparation of legal documents, Dinh added.
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