Businesses have expressed concern over more requirements for special customs incentives in a decree drafted by the Ministry of Finance to amend the government’s Decree 08/2015/ND-CP on customs procedures.

The draft decree comprises six groups of conditions for importers and exporters to enjoy priority customs treatment. The first four exist in the current decree, including compliance with customs and tax rules, export and import turnover, internal control and accounting system.

The draft decree has two new groups of conditions relating to the implementation of electronic customs and tax procedures, and import-export payments.

Accordingly, priority firms must conduct electronic customs and tax procedures and have information technology (IT) programmes to manage exports and imports. Besides, they must make payments via banks as stipulated by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and provide the customs with their account numbers and a list of banks chosen for transaction.

New requirements are proposed in the draft decree. For example, the condition for compliance with tax and customs regulations requires no overdue tax payments and agents in charge of customs procedures are not allowed to have more than 0.5 percent of customs declarations fined for administrative violations.

Under the prevailing regulations, enterprises only need to perform the operation management, supervision and control of the entire supply chain. The draft decree requires a tracking of cargo transport between firms and ports, inspections of container safety before goods loading, strict surveillance at critical locations such as entrances, warehouses, and manufacturing areas, among others.

Many import-export firms have bemoaned the aforementioned requirements, saying they are too stringent.

A source from a logistics firm said according to the draft decree a customs service agent must have at least 20,000 customs declarations in a year. Such a requirement is not feasible.

In recent years, the general Department of Customs has adjusted requirements for customs incentives, including those for import-export turnover. However, only 50 companies have been eligible.

Le Duy Hiep, chair of the Vietnam Logistics Business Association (VLA), said many foreign enterprises in different sectors have been allowed to enjoy special customs incentives. But he proposed adjusting the conditions so that more local firms can benefit from it.

Beneficiaries of special customs incentives enjoy priorities for export-import operations, cargo screening, customs clearance and advance tax refunds.



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