Developing Smart Customs to Improve Risk Management

10:40:35 AM | 8/22/2022

To facilitate people and businesses to carry out customs procedures, the customs sector has accelerated information technology applications in the customs administration.

The customs sector has continuously developed and perfected more than 20 information systems to meet various professional management requirements, including an automatic customs clearance system (VNACCS/VCIS) funded by the Government of Japan, transferred in 2014. To date, the risk management system has conducted risk analysis and assessment, applied more than 1 million indicators of all kinds a year, classified compliance levels and assigned risk ratings to importers and exporters. As of March 15, 2022, the system monitored and assessed more than 182,000 importers and exporters and ensured the smooth channeling of nearly 100 million export and import declarations.

The VCIS system was developed from the CIS system of Japan Customs, with available features for business processes in Japan where the economy is developed and there are some different management forms from Vietnam. Besides, the information technology infrastructure platform has been developed and integrated by Japan Customs for many years. Therefore, after more than eight years of operation, besides the achieved results, the VCIS system has revealed some limitations. As a “closed” system, it cannot be integrated with other business information service systems of Vietnam Customs. As a result, information and data integration, exchange and processing among systems are increasingly limited and become a challenge that needs to be addressed in the near future.

Being aware that digital customs investment and development is an urgent and necessary task, on January 26, 2021, the Ministry of Finance issued Decision 97/QD-BTC to ratify the policy of “Hiring information technology services for digital customs”.

To meet smart customs management requirements, the new system will be synchronously designed to cover all customs operations, link customs agencies and synchronize the management process from initial information collection to analysis, assessment and identification, and to streamlining export and import declarations. When building and designing a modern system, modern technologies and business models will be considered, researched and applied such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data.

Preliminary results show that customs agencies set more than 100 professional risk management requirements for customs management supervision, import and export tax, post-clearance inspection and customs inspection. Risk management requirements set by the customs sector have covered the selection of the list of inspected objects - from port-unarrived goods and gate-unarrived passengers on entry and exit to cleared goods selected for post-clearance inspection. Each specific professional stage of the customs procedure process is engaged by the system to support risk assessment.

Notably, the sector has applied advanced scientific achievements such as artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically assess and select the flow of inspection of imported and exported goods and entry and exit passengers, using identification systems and big data processing algorithms. New features include identifying key transport vehicles and containers to be inspected by connecting number plate recognition cameras with a risk management system; automatically recommending a list of declarations with risk signs of the customs value, freight classification and intellectual property infringement.

With risk management application requirements for the new system, the new system can support customs officers to quickly make decisions on inspection and supervision of high-risk objects, build a better compliant environment, promote administrative procedure reform, facilitate businesses and people, and, at the same time, improve management and control capacity of customs agencies.

Hien Phuc (Vietnam Business Forum)