Quick Support for Customs Clearance amid COVID-19 Pandemic

8:51:48 AM | 8/26/2021

Facing the prolonged pandemic, the customs sector has taken many urgent measures to clear freight congestion at seaports and quickly move shipments for COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control to provide the best working conditions for businesses.

Timely instruction for clearing freight congestion at major ports

Immediately after cargo congestion occurred at Cat Lai Port, the General Department of Vietnam Customs provided timely instructions in Official Dispatch 3847/TCHQ-GSQL to request Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department to coordinate with Saigon Newport Corporation to apply temporary customs procedures amid the COVID-19 pandemic peak to solve freight congestion. Then, an online meeting was held with concerned customs agencies and businesses for deployment.

Accordingly, the General Department agreed to allow imported goods stored at Cat Lai Port to be transported to other seaports in Ho Chi Minh City and inland ports/ICDs in other provinces and cities for storage. Commodities imported by enterprises in Dong Nai province are transported to Tan Cang Long Binh ICD or Tan Cang Nhon Trach ICD. Goods imported by enterprises in Binh Duong province are shipped to Tan Cang Song Than ICD. Freight imported by enterprises in western provinces are carried to Tan Cang Hiep Phuoc Port.

In addition, backlogged goods were already counted, classified and assessed according to Article 12 of Circular 203/2014/TT-BTC which were amended and supplemented in Circular 57/2018/TT-BTC of the Ministry of Finance and transported from Cat Lai Port and stored at Tan Cang Hiep Phuoc Port.

Mr. Mai Xuan Thanh, Deputy General Director of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, requested relevant bodies to quickly reduce commodity congestion to enable Cat Lai Port to receive new containers. He requested that customs agencies also need working groups to stay in touch with the General Department to deal with emerging issues.

In addition to providing guidance on temporary customs procedures to solve congestion, the General Department of Customs quickly developed and completed a draft circular on customs supervision of imported goods that changed the border gate of arrival in case imported goods are congested at seaports where social distancing is applied.

Fast customs clearance for pandemic prevention

The General Department urged the Hanoi Customs Department and the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department to request the Noi Bai International Airport Border Gate Customs Office and the Tan Son Nhat International Airport Border Gate Customs Office to inform every customs officer to provide all favorable conditions for customs clearance on the same day of arrival of medical supplies, equipment, new medicines, vaccines and biological tests for COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control; strictly handle officers with improper attitude and deliberate elongation of customs clearance. To solve problems, customs agencies promptly exchanged and reported to the General Department of Customs by phone (using Zalo messaging application) or Email (via the Customs Supervision and Administration Bureau) for consideration and settlement.

The General Department has adopted many solutions to facilitate quick clearance of items for medical examination and treatment amid the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in addition to implementing professional control and inspection measures subject to customs authorities.

Regarding customs clearance for new medicines, particularly for COVID-19 prevention, along with ensuring the quality, the General Department instructed provincial/municipal customs departments to apply many solutions for quick clearance like accepting test certificates of medicines and medicinal ingredients with the electronic signature of manufacturers when carrying out customs procedures; allowing enterprises to bring specially preserved items (such as medicines, vaccines and biological products which require a storage temperature of 20C-80C) for physical inspection at storage locations as recommended by enterprises.

By Hien Phuc, Vietnam Business Forum