Time for Release of Goods Announced

10:16:53 PM | 9/29/2014

Recently, the General Department of Vietnam Customs announced the time required for the release of goods in 2013 for the first time in Vietnam. This result will be the first measure for the customs sector as well as other relevant agencies to refer and speed up administrative procedure reform to develop the business community. Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Mr Hoang Viet Cuong, Deputy General Director of General Department of Customs, on issues related to this announcement. Le Hien reports.
 
It is vital to manufacture and deliver products in time in the modern business environment, featured by speedier globalisation and deeper international economic integration. For enterprises, the release of goods in the rapid and punctual manner is more important than ever. The international movement of goods not only relates to customs agencies but also relates to other national agencies and the business community, including customs agents, forwarding agents, warehousing operators, transportation firms, and banks. The time required for clearance and release of goods is increasingly used by international trade community as a measure to assess the effectiveness of trade and investment facilitation, said Hoang Viet Cuong.
 
What tools and methodologies were used for the measuring results in 2013?
In 2012, the Prime Minister issued Official Dispatch No. 7275/VPCP-QHQT dated September 12, 2012 to ratify Vietnam’s participation in the Regional-Policy and Advisory Technical Assistance (R-PATA) Project to “support and facilitate trade in the course of building the ASEAN Economic Community". The Prime Minister assigned the Ministry of Finance (General Department of Customs) to be the lead coordinator of the project that measured the time required for the release of goods at national ports or border gates in 2013.
 
The General Department of Customs coordinated with nine ministries and two industry associations to measure the time needed for the release of goods in 2013 on the national scale, using methodologies of the World Customs Organisation (WCO). General Department of Customs reported to the Prime Minister and he agreed to assign General Department of Customs to announce the time-measuring results, stated in the Official Dispatch 1416/VPCP-KTTH dated September 3, 2014.
 
The time was measured in 11 port/border gate customs offices in seven provinces and cities which dealt with airway, roadway and seaway transport routes. The General Department of Customs used the latest Time Release Study (TRS) Method, version 2.0 - 2011, of the World Customs Organisation (WCO).
 
This measurement covered only 28 percent of all import and export customs clearance stages. What is your opinion about this?
The measurement results in 2013 are also used as the basis of mid-term assessment of the Customs Development and Modernisation Plan in 2011-2015 initiated by the Ministry of Finance. The time required for the release of goods was counted. As for imports, it took 115 hours and 17 seconds from the time the goods entered ports/border gates to the time clearance/release decisions were announced.
 
The time from the customs declaration registration to the issue of clearance/release decisions was 32 hours, 37 minutes and 55 seconds, accounting for 28 percent of the total time from the entry to ports/border gates to the issue of clearance/release decisions. As much as 72 percent of remaining time was taken by import and import authorities.
 
As for exports, the time required for the release of goods was 11 hours, six minutes and 33 seconds from the time of registering declaration papers to the issue of clearance/release decisions.
 
The results show that export and import procedures relate to many State agencies as well as companies like warehousing, port and logistic firms. Therefore, to reduce clearance time and entry and exit time as stated in the Prime Minister’s Resolution No. 19/NQ-CP, in addition to efforts of customs authorities, the endeavours of other State agencies and related companies are very much needed to reduce paperwork, time and expense for export and import stages (quarantine procedures, quality control procedures, logistics procedures, etc).
 
Does the customs sector intend to measure the time again?
This is the first time Vietnam measured the time used for the release of goods to asses operations of agencies involved in goods export and import processes (importers, exporters, customs authorities, quarantine offices, quality control agencies, border guards, etc.) but, the coordination with other ministries and agencies sometimes did not ended in expected results. Although the result did not deeply analyse the time used by related State agencies, it managed to count the percentage of time used and duration pending for the involvement of State agencies in export and import procedures at ports/border gates.
 
The measurement will be carried out thrice very five years (early term, mid-term and end-term) to evaluate the performance of five-year Customs Reform, Development and Modernisation Plan. Currently, the General Department of Customs planned to carry out the next measurement in 2015.