Customs reforms must prevent fraud and help trade: Deputy PM
Reforms to customs checks and procedures must facilitate trade and prevent fraud at the same time, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said, urging for enhanced supervision to ensure the quality of the process.
Hue spoke on the issue at a conference held by the Viet Nam Fatherland Front on Monday. He said customs reforms in recent years had removed or simplified 70 per cent of procedures, even more than the Government's target of 50 per cent.
This helped save an estimated 12 million working days and more than VND5 trillion (US$212.7 million) for firms each year, Hue said, citing statistics from the Prime Minister’s working group.
Hue said the implementation of the national single window system had not been as successful as expected, however, as there are still overlaps in the checks carried out by different ministries and departments.
Many checks were carried out without standards for import products. “This year, if there were no standards, checks could not be implemented,” Hue said.
Hue also said State management agencies should be in charge of key stages of inspections while other stages could be assigned to private companies because they have more modern equipment. In addition, private companies could ensure independence in checks.
“The reforms of customs checks must at once create trade facilitation and prevent fraud,” Hue said.
“Now, focus must be placed more on preventing trade fraud by cutting and simplifying customs checks,” he said, adding that supervision of the reform process must be enhanced to ensure quality rather than quantity.
Chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vu Tien Loc said customs checks were being simplified more slowly than expected, and remained a significant barrier to import and export activities.
Loc said the length and cost of customs checks in Viet Nam were still two to three times higher than that of leading economies in ASEAN.
Greater efforts in reforming customs checks were required, Loc said.
Statistics from the Viet Nam Fatherland Front showed that as of March, more than 70,000 product categories remained subject to customs checks after more than 12,600 categories were removed.
Viet Nam has been hastening the implementation of the national single window system. During the past four years, 97 per cent of customs procedures were connected to the system. By the end of this year, all customs procedures are expected to be connected.