Businesses take advantage of loopholes in import tax laws
Deputy director of Customs Control and Supervision Ngo Minh Hai spoke to weekend newspaper Hai Quan (Customs) about the management of goods temporarily imported and later re-exported.
What are the loopholes leading to increasing violations involving the importation of these goods?
In my opinion, the main cause of violations is the evolution of an open policy that is insufficient when compared to the rules existing for customs officers and relevant agencies. This allows some enterprises to abuse the rules.
Under the existing regulation covering the lines of goods eligible for temporary import and re-export, Vietnamese businesses are eligible if it is specified in their Business Registration Certificates. This type of trading, valid for most goods except petroleum, must be approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Another negative factor affecting our performance is the storage time allowed for temporarily-imported goods. The 180-day period allowed under the regulation (including an extension) causes problems for customs officers.
The long storage time and the right for companies to store their own goods after customs clearance has paved the way for illegal circulation of many temporarily imported goods.
Some people have proposed ending the temporary import and re-export system. What do you think?
This type of business is an emerging activity in the world, particularly for nations with geographical and transport advantages, including Viet Nam. Government agencies in charge of import-export activities have a duty to support businesses in their operation while ensuring that they follow the laws.
My point of view is to never say no to a business we can't control. It's important that management agencies produce proposals, including regulations and conditions, to make it easier for business people.
At present, Viet Nam Customs is drafting a proposal to improve the effectiveness of customs control and supervision. I hope that once the proposal is approved by the Ministry of Finance, it will help.
Can you tell our readers about the proposal?
The proposal includes four measures, including mechanism, taxation policies, violation settlements and implementation by Viet Nam Customs.
For example, our policy on the control of temporarily imported and re-exported goods is very open, which creates favourable conditions for the participation of many companies/enterprises.
Regarding the storage time of the goods, we propose to lessen this from 180 days to 45 days, including the extension period. If firms fail to re-export the goods following the storage expiration date, they will have to pay taxes in accordance with Vietnamese law. However, once the goods are re-exported they will receive their tax reimbursement.
For high-risk or illegal goods circulating in the domestic market, such as alcohol, beer and cigarettes, strict control measures will be required.
In the proposal, we also ask Viet Nam Customs and the Ministry of Finance to allow us to take tougher measures against businesses that fail to follow the regulations, including the refusal to authorise customs clearance of their goods. — VNS