The HCM City customs department aims to cut the time it takes for clearing goods by half by the end of this year. — Photo zing.vn
HCM CITY — The HCM City customs department aims to cut the time it takes for clearing goods by half by the end of this year, Đinh Ngọc Thắng, its deputy head, told the media on the sidelines of a meeting with American businesses on Wednesday.
The meeting, “American businesses and HCM City customs agencies are reliable partners for development”, was a forum for the department to apprise businesses about new customs-related laws and respond to their questions and feedback on issues related to customs procedures.
Such meetings have been held since the beginning of last year and have proved to be conducive to enhancing relations customs and businesses and resolving problems, Thắng said.
“Last year, we also met with Eurocham, AmCham and Japanese businesses. Most of the problems they reported have been addressed thoroughly.
“We have also kept them updated on amendments to legal documents on customs administration to help them avoid mistakes.”
After the meeting requests and feedback from businesses would be collected and submitted to official agencies to aid amendments and supplements to customs laws, he said.
Having these two-way exchanges benefit both businesses and the department because “Once businesses’ issues are addressed, customs procedures are speeded up. And that would help us achieve our revenue target.”
According to the department’s report, it collected more than VNĐ109 trillion (US$4.8 billion) in export and import duties last year, an increase of 7.75 per cent from the previous year.
This year it would continue to create favourable conditions for businesses, especially by reducing customs clearance time by 50 per cent, he said.
Now it takes 70 hours to clear export goods and 90 hours for imports.
To achieve its target, the department would continue with administrative reform, improving e-government services such as Việt Nam Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System/Việt Nam Customs Information System and facilities such as online tax payment through banks and the Treasury for customs clearance, he said.
“We will work towards the use of e-customs in every customs procedure from registration to clearance so that firms can save time and use smartphones to track their shipments.”
Besides, the department has also adopted many new technologies and modernised its facilities and equipment to help streamline customs procedures, he said.
Mark Gillin, managing director of America Indochina Management Ltd., said the meeting is an opportunity for customs authorities and the business community to discuss their objectives of increasing trade and making trade easier.
He said customs is one of the sectors that have made the most progress in the last few years, especially with e-customs, which he described as a “bold move”.
“It took a lot of investment and stress to get it right and to implement it in the field. It saves businesses a lot of time and helps avoid corruption.”
Another big improvement in customs is that authorities have reached out to businesses to start dialogues and see what they can do, he said.
“The HCM City customs has called on all State agencies, businesses and people to share responsibilities and obligations to create a breakthrough in customs administration and trade facilitation.”
He said the move reminds him of the two concepts of informing businesses about compliance with regulations and sharing responsibility to maximise compliance.
“The two concepts have become a benchmark for customs authorities around the world and WTO trade facilitation agreement.
"During the WTO director’s visit to Việt Nam a few years ago, he said trade facilitation agreements could reduce Việt Nam’s trade cost by 20 percent."
He said a one-fifth cut in trade costs would help increase trade flows in Việt Nam and enable SMEs to start exporting, make Việt Nam inter-connected with cross-border production as production chains become globalised, and boost FDI flows since a large portion of FDI is for production for global exports. — VNS