Vietnam Customs: Speeding up Administrative Reforms

10:36:17 AM | 11/24/2022

According to Decision 2154/QD-BTC dated October 25, 2022 of the Minister of Finance, in 2021 the General Department of Vietnam Customs was the best performer of the Public Administration Reform Index (PAR Index) among central agencies under the Ministry of Finance. The General Department of Customs has maintained this top position for six consecutive years. This outstanding result results, first of all, from the attention of the Government and the Ministry of Finance, in addition to ongoing efforts of customs bodies and their employees whose highest goal was serving people and businesses.

Delegates at the workshop on business satisfaction with implementation of administrative procedures through the NSW and specialized inspection procedures 2022

Further improving institutions, policies and laws

To reform and perfect customs institutions, the General Department of Vietnam Customs asked the Prime Minister to adopt the Customs Development Strategy for the 2021 - 2030 period as per Decision 628/QD-TTg dated May 20, 2022. The general department focused on amending and supplementing legal documents in order to further institutionalize the Party's views on developing a socialist-oriented market economy; reforming administrative procedures, improving the business environment and enhancing national competitiveness; dealing with emerging problems; ensuring effective administration to better serve individuals, organizations and enterprises; meeting export and import requirements during COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Since the start of 2021, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has coordinated in compiling 16 legal documents with competent authorities (including one resolution of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee, four decrees of the Government, two decisions of the Prime Minister, and nine circulars of the Minister of Finance). It has concentrated resources to develop and complete other important legal documents.

Customs authorities have regularly published administrative procedures; maintained dialogues with enterprises; promptly settled complaints and suggestions of citizens and businesses; regularly stepped up inspection to ensure effective law enforcement and limit problems and complaints.

Regularly accelerating administrative procedure reforms

Carrying out resolutions of the Government and action plans of the Ministry of Finance, the General Department of Customs adopted consistent solutions for administrative procedure reform. In 2020 and 2021, the agency studied and proposed reducing and simplifying 5% of regulations and 5% of the business-related cost as per Resolution 68/NQ-CP of the Government dated May 12, 2020. It proposed abolishing copies of identity cards of two administrative procedures as specified in Circular 22/2019/TT-BTC dated April 16, 2019 of the Ministry of Finance according to the Master Plan of simplifying administrative procedures, citizenship papers and demographic databases. It submitted to the Government Decree 67/2020/ND-CP dated June 15, 2020 of the Government, with abolition and simplification of 19 out of 29 business conditions, reduction of 22 out of 52 procedures for recognition of warehouses, yards, ports and duty-free shops. The General Department regularly assessed the impacts of administrative procedures and legal documents, ensured the necessity, legitimacy and rationality of regulations on administrative procedures; regularly and timely publicized administrative procedures to ensure access right to information about administrative procedures of individuals, organizations and enterprises; and strengthened control of administrative procedures in the customs sector.

Aiming for smart customs

Customs authorities have effectively built and operated important information technology (IT) systems for automatic customs clearance, inspection and supervision. Up to now, core customs procedures are automatically delivered on the Vietnam Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System/Vietnam Customs Intelligence Information System (VNACCS/VCIS) applied by all customs agencies nationwide. More than 99 % of companies have joined this system; more than 99.8% of customs declarations have been processed on this system, needing just 1-3 seconds for goods on the green channel. The General Department signed cooperation agreements with 44 banks to electronically collect 99.8% of tax. The agency has deployed 91% of public services of Level 3 and Level 4 online; integrated 98 administrative procedures on the National Public Service Portal. Currently, 259 administrative procedures of 13 ministries and agencies are provided on the National Single Window, joined by more than 50,000 enterprises. It was also officially connected with the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) to exchange electronic Certificate of Origin Form D with nine ASEAN member countries. The General Department of Customs has deployed the Vietnam Automated System for Seaport Customs Management (VASSCM) by connecting and exchanging information with 495 companies that are operating in seaports, airports, warehouses, yards and locations subject to customs supervision.

In the context of globalization, trade liberalization and deep international integration, as merchandise exchanges are increasing among countries; Vietnam entered into 16 new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) with comprehensive integration requirements; and the Fourth Industrial Revolution has taken place strongly since the beginning of 2021, the General Department of Customs is seriously building digital customs towards smart customs. The latter model will be highly automated, applied with new and modern scientific achievements on a digital, paperless platform, to ensure transparency, fairness, effectiveness, and efficiency to forecast and adapt to international trade and management requirements of customs authorities, conform to international standards and better serve people and businesses.

Currently, the General Department of Customs is building a new IT system by leasing IT services to deal with vulnerabilities. All transactions are handled by the new system in a uniform manner to ensure the consistent application of local laws and equal treatment of all trading partners. Hopefully, in the next five years, 92,000 importers, exporters and operators of warehouses, yards and ports will save VND920 billion when they use the new customs IT system, and can declare customs procedures anytime, anywhere on all available tools. In addition, the customs sector will strive to speed up specialized inspection reforms to create more favorable conditions for importers and exporters.

Hien Phuc (Vietnam Business Forum)