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Ten notable events of General Department of Vietnam Customs in 2021

by NDO28 December 2021 Last updated at 16:19 PM

Goods loading and unloading activities at Tan Vu port in Hai Phong city. (Photo: NDO)
Goods loading and unloading activities at Tan Vu port in Hai Phong city. (Photo: NDO)

VTV.vn - The year 2021 was a turbulent time for trade activities for the country, due to the unpredictable impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, under the drastic direction from leaders of the customs industry at all levels and the efforts from the business community, the imports and exports have achieved impressive results with many new historical milestones, significantly contributing to the economic recovery and growth of the country.

1. The customs sector created favourable conditions for import and export activities, as well as strengthened the fight against smuggling and trade fraud to achieve a turnover of over 600 billion USD and a budget revenue of about 370 trillion VND, the highest ever, making an important contribution to the budget balance and economic growth.

On November 30, 2021, Vietnam's import and export turnover officially reached 600 billion USD. This is an impressive result for the continuous efforts made by the Government, ministries, agencies, localities and the business community over the past year. This result is an important basis for ministries and agencies to complete their assigned tasks, towards gradual restoration of production and business, socio-economic development and finance. The General Department of Vietnam Customs has continued to complete its task of State budget collection in 2021, creating momentum for Vietnam’s import and export activities and affirming the country’s role in the global supply chain.

According to the latest preliminary statistics, Vietnam’s imports and exports reached 31.32 billion USD and its trade surplus of 250 million USD, in the first 15 days of December 2021. In total, the country’s import-export turnover was 633.22 billion USD, with trade surplus of 1.67 billion USD from the beginning of the year to December 15.

Regarding budget collection, the National Assembly assigned an estimated state budget revenue of 315 trillion VND in 2021 to the General Department of Customs; meanwhile, the target assigned by the Ministry of Finance was 331 trillion VND. Up to now, the revenue is estimated at 370 trillion VND, a year-on-year increase of 19.2 percent, equalling 117.46 percent of the estimate assigned by the National Assembly and 110.45 percent of the striving target by the Ministry of Finance.

2. The sector comprehensively changed the specialised inspection work, contributing to reducing procedures and costs while creating favourable conditions for businesses through the project on “reforming the inspection model of quality and food safety and hygiene for imported food”.

On January 12, 2021, the Prime Minister issued Decision No.38/QD-TTg approving the project on “reforming the inspection model of quality and food safety and hygiene for imported food” while assigning the Ministry of Finance to assume the prime responsibility for elaborating and submitting to the Government, a Decree stipulating the management mechanism, methods, order and procedures for the inspection of quality and food safety of imported goods, as a basis for the implementation of the reformed contents under the Decision No.38. The Ministry of Finance, particularly the General Department of Customs, has coordinated to develop the draft Decree and has submitted it to the Government for consideration and approval. According to the assessment of the Trade Facilitation Project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with drastic reforms institutionalised in the draft Decree, it will have a positive impact on businesses and the economy. It is estimated that nearly 1.376 trillion VND (about 59.1 million USD) will be saved for the enterprises, while 9.285 trillion VND (around 399 million USD) remain for the country.

3. The General Department of Customs presided over and enhanced its coordination to successfully dismantle many major crimes related to drugs and banned goods by customs control.

Countries around the world have been suffering from heavy impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. A number of international border gates have temporarily closed and the countries have tightened control of imported goods as well as people on entry, according to the requirements of epidemic prevention and control. However, on the border lines and gates, the smuggling and illegal transportation of goods across the borders have been always complicated with more and more sophisticated methods and tricks. Notably, the illegal cross-border transportation of narcotics from abroad to Vietnam and transhipments to a third country for consumption, still remain potentially complicated.

By December 2021, the customs sector has presided over and coordinated to dismantle 242 cases, arresting 231 subjects as well as confiscating more than 90 kg of heroin, over 700 kg of cannabis, and over 500 kg, including 581,246 synthetic drug tablets. The sector presided over and coordinated with other functional forces to detect, arrest and handle 14,568 violations, with an estimated value of over 2.7 trillion VND, contributing to 290.57 billion VND to the budget revenue. The customs authorities issued a decision to prosecute 39 criminal cases and transferred 176 cases to other agencies for prosecution.

4. An overall architecture towards digital customs was approved to improve the efficiency of the Customs' operations and the quality of service to people and businesses.

With the aim of building a regular and modern Vietnam Customs, on par with the Customs of developed countries throughout the world, the General Department of Customs has developed a smart customs model, which was identified as one of the most important contents in the Customs development strategy for the 2021-2030 period, in a modern and professional manner, in line with the trend of global liberalisation. The General Department of Customs has been applying the achievements of the fourth industrial revolution as well as strived to meet the requirements of State administrative reform and modernisation towards building a digital government and e-Government.

Smart Customs model consists of basic features as followed: smart border management, management under chain and digital ecosystems, the provision of optimal services, intelligent connection and processing, transparency, fairness and consistency.

5. The General Department of Customs has carried out many policies and solutions to facilitate quick clearance of goods and accompany businesses to overcome difficulties amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The customs sector has implemented many measures to support people and enterprises to overcome all difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including: developing guidelines and policies to support import and export activities amidst the pandemic; facilitating customs procedures, inspection and supervision of imported and exported goods; and the organisation, operation and arrangement of human resources to ensure the clearance of goods.

6. The partnership between Vietnamese Customs and other countries and international organisations has developed in a new height through the exchanges of customs management information and support to improve their capacity and modern equipment.

In 2021, despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the international cooperation between Vietnamese Customs and its foreign partners and international organisations have been maintained and developed sustainably. In particular, the cooperation and technical support programmes have been implemented effectively with the reception of equipment from the partners to serve for border and customs management in Vietnam.

7. The General Department of Customs has led in administrative reform at the General Department and equivalent levels under the Ministry of Finance for five consecutive years.

Over the past years, the General Department of Customs has been evaluated by the Government, ministries, sectors and the business community as one of the leading agencies in administrative reform and modernisation, as well as led the General Department and equivalent levels under the Ministry of Finance in public administration reform index.

Notably, the General Department of Customs has effectively developed and implemented the National Single Window mechanism, with 235 administrative procedures carried out by 13 ministries and agencies. The General Department helped the Government to officially connect to ASEAN Single Window (ASW) to exchange information on certificates of origin (C/O) Form D, with all nine ASEAN member countries.

The General Department has signed with 44 commercial banks for cooperation on budget collection, including 38 implementing electronic tax payments and 24/7 customs clearance. Tax revenue from import-export activities through banks reached 99.8% of total revenues. The General Department of Customs provided online public services at levels 3 and 4 for 215/237 administrative procedures, accounting for 91% of the total number of administrative procedures performed by Customs. There have been 98 online public services in the customs sector integrated into the National Public Service Portal.

8. The General Department of Customs has drastically carried out the post-customs clearance inspection for cashew nut exporters and importers with signs of customs law violations in large quantities.

The General Department has made initial conclusions for the inspection of 18 cases that have undergone post-clearance inspection. Accordingly, two enterprises have had fraudulent acts on the origin of exported cashew nuts and four others of export production were suspected of selling for domestic consumption. In addition, the agency directed post-clearance inspection for 34 enterprises while transferring the list of 280 businesses, having signs of risk to Customs Departments of provinces and cities to study and develop inspection plans in accordance with regulations.

Thus, this event had a great influence on cashew nut export and import activities in Vietnam, affirming the efforts in realising the “dual goal” in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and creating favourable conditions for businesses, but not allowing them to take advantage of violating the law.

9. Customs forces have been developed in a regular and modern manner by the implementation of Decree No. 02/2021/ND-CP dated January 7, 2020, stipulating traditional flag, pennant, symbol, customs insignia, name plate, badge, uniforms, customs identification and typical signs of means of customs patrol, control and supervision.

The Government issued the Decree No.02 on January 7, 2021 to replace the Decree No.10/2005/ND-CP dated January 31, 2005.

The new Decree aimed to improve the image and position of Vietnamese customs forces in a regular and modern manner, as well as the majesty of their uniforms during the completion of their tasks assigned by the Party and Government.

10. The Customs Development Strategy during 2021-2030 was developed, towards a modern, professional and effective Vietnamese Customs.

In order to continue the reform, development and modernisation of customs forces in the new situation, the General Department of Customs developed a draft Customs Development Strategy during 2021-2030, to submit to the Prime Minister for approval.

The draft strategy aimed to build Vietnamese Customs in a regular and modern manner, on par with the Customs of developed countries throughout the world; improve the quality of services for people and enterprises in carrying out customs procedures and management; manage tax collection for import and export activities effectively; facilitate cross-border legal trade, tourism and transportation; and prevent and combat smuggling, trade fraud and illegal cross-border transportation of goods.

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