Bac Ninh Customs: Supporting Businesses Effectively

10:19:06 AM | 9/6/2023

The year 2022 marked an important development milestone for Bac Ninh Customs Department. Despite the difficulties faced by the whole economy and by local exporters and importers under its administration, the department managed to accomplish its assigned political tasks.

Bac Ninh Customs Department  at a working session with Samsung Electronics

Impressively, the total import and export value of the area administered by the department was US$166.6 billion, up 8% year on year, topping the nation. The budget revenue collected by the department was VND12,472, over 16% higher than the target.

However, in early 2023, the department failed to match its own figures from a year ago. Specifically, the import and export value amounted to US$45.3 billion in the year to April 20, down 17% year on year; total customs declarations fell 6% year on year to 454,400; and total budget revenue was VND3,127.6 billion, down 24%.

Before this reality, the Party Committee and the leadership of Bac Ninh Customs Department actively analyzed socioeconomic situations, common business difficulties of companies in its administered area and proposed comprehensive and fundamental solutions to direct affiliated and subordinate units to carry out consistent and drastic solutions to support the business community. Its specific activities in the past time included:

Bac Ninh Customs Department coordinated with the industrial zone authorities of Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Thai Nguyen provinces to develop and sign a working cooperation agreement to enhance the effectiveness of state management in accordance with their own functions and duties, especially when they supervised investment projects; administered outsourcers, manufacturers and export processors; and oversaw activities of companies in connection with the administration of industrial zone authorities and customs offices. In addition, Bac Ninh Customs will provide timely support and advice on import and export procedures for businesses when they conduct research and investment in these provinces.

Their cooperation will help provincial governments to further improve their PCI rankings in the coming years, especially raising component subindices such as market entry, time cost, business support policy and transparency.

Based on their partnership development plan of customs authorities, companies and other stakeholders in 2023, Bac Ninh Customs Department has carried out a specific work plan with large firms in major industries like textile and garment and electronics in Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Thai Nguyen provinces to grasp their business operations as well as their difficulties and obstacles and to put forth its recommendations and proposals on customs policies to competent authorities.

This activity is unprecedented, demonstrating its active approach to grasping the operations of local enterprises, thus introducing practical and timely support measures.

Some companies and delegations of Bac Ninh Customs worked with a consortium of five Samsung companies in Vietnam (manufacturing mobile phones, electronic components for mobile phones, tablets and other electronic devices), a consortium of five Hon Hai Foxconn companies (manufacturing switches, routers, security cameras and wireless headphones), TNG Investment and Trading Joint Stock Company, Ha Bac Garment Export Joint Stock Company and Ha Phong Garment Export Joint Stock Company (manufacturing apparels).

At the working sessions, its delegations learned about common business difficulties of local enterprises as well as specific problems in customs procedures. They answered questions and solved problems raised by enterprises right at their meetings. They also sent proposals, recommendations and comments on regulations to Bac Ninh Customs Department to report to competent authorities for timely settlement.

Bac Ninh Customs Department pays a working visit to TNG Investment and Trading Joint Stock Company

Promoting dialogues with businesses

In March, Bac Ninh Customs held the first business dialogue conference in 2023, attended by more than 160 importers and exporters in Bac Giang, Bac Ninh and Thai Nguyen provinces. At this gathering, the department coordinated with relevant bodies of the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDC) to introduce new regulatory documents such as Decision 1399/QD-TCHQ of GDC dated July 15, 2022 on a pilot program of supporting and encouraging companies to automatically comply with customs laws; Circular 31/2022/TT-BTC dated June 8, 2022 on the list of importers and exporters of Vietnam. Railway Trading and Transport Joint Stock Company (RATRACO) and Que Vo New Port Joint Stock Company also introduced cargo freight at Kep International Terminal (Lang Giang district, Bac Giang province) and Tan Cang Que Vo to help businesses with more choices of import and export freight modes.

The conference received and answered questions submitted by attendants that encountered many procedural problems at its customs agencies.

Supporting businesses to voluntarily comply with customs laws

Bac Ninh Customs held a conference to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and action programs to support 12 local businesses in voluntary compliance with customs laws. Encouraging companies to voluntarily comply with customs laws is one of the major policies of the Government, the Ministry of Finance and the customs sector. This content is concretized by Decision 1399/QD-TCHQ of GDC dated July 15, 2022 on the pilot program to support and encourage exporters and importers to voluntarily comply with customs laws.

The pilot program is one of the prerequisites for Bac Ninh Customs to further standardize administrative procedures and pledge trade facilitation and move to launch the digital customs and smart customs program initiated by the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Customs offices under Bac Ninh Customs have promoted communications on the program's member companies and non-member companies that carry out customs procedures to understand its purposes and meanings as well as the benefits of compliant companies. At the same time, they have arranged separate areas and appointed qualified and experienced employees to inspect documents and conduct physical inspections of goods for member enterprises.

Improving personnel quality

Besides, Bac Ninh Customs pays attention to reinforcing the organization, constantly improving the quality of its employees, installing capable and qualified employees into key positions, and assigning capacity-based jobs to its employees. In 2022, the Party Committee of Bac Ninh Customs issued Resolution 15-NQ/DU dated March 7, 2022 on personnel construction and development in 2021-2026. This is considered the foundation for the department to build up the workforce of high quality, solid political courage, capacity, qualifications, professional working methods and high work performance; uphold the working spirit and elegant service to enterprises, regulatory compliance and discipline, and work to meet requirements of customs reform, integration, development and modernization.

2023 was forecast to be a rough year for the world economy and the Vietnamese economy. Thus, Bac Ninh Customs always defines that supporting and accompanying businesses is one of the main tasks. Specifically, the department will boost trade facilitation and cost reduction for companies; and support them to limit and overcome obstacles and difficulties in carrying out customs procedures, actively take measures to prevent customs violations, improve regulatory compliance and establish a reliable partnership between customs authorities and enterprises in import, export and transit activities. At the same time, the agency will continue to work well with relevant bodies to effectively collect taxes; coordinate with industrial parks to support investors and export processors in implementing customs procedures and ensuring goods clearance. It will maintain a 24/7 hotline to receive feedback regarding smuggling, commercial fraud, corruption and harassment.

With the motto of "Business community and customs are reliable partners and grow together,” over the years, Bac Ninh Customs has always regarded and supported local importers and exporters, ensured customs management, prevented and combated smuggling and trade fraud, and successfully completed assigned tasks to become one of the frontline agencies of the customs sector.

By Nguyet Tham, Vietnam Business Forum