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Temporary imports and exports must be more strictly controlled

Update: September, 18/2013 - 09:59

Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, deputy director general of the General Department of Viet Nam Customs, told the newspaper Tin tuc (News) that his department will step up inspections of temporary imports and exports.

It is reported that temporary imports and exports, particularly petrol and diesel, are surging in Viet Nam. In your opinion, what is the seriousness of these activities?

Such activities are reported to be increasing, particularly in northern provinces near the Chinese border.

One of the reasons leading to such a bad practice is the government's policy on giving preferential tax treatment to certain commodities. This leads smugglers to step up their activities in the hope of gaining big profits. Since 2012, Viet Nam Customs has detected many smuggling cases relating to temporary imports and exports. The smugglers used tricks such as taking alternate routes and creating falsified documents describing the commodities and their volume. Even more seriously, in some cases, the smuggled goods were on the list of prohibited imports under Vietnamese law, including industrial waste as well as decaying frozen food and other items potentially detrimental to public health.

What are some of the most serious cases that customs officers have detected?

Recently, our Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department detected many high-value goods being smuggled under the rubric of temporary imports and exports - particularly sensitive goods like petrol, diesel, tobacco and sugar.

During one investigation, customs officers seized four vessels containing 1,650 tonnes of petrol valued at about VND27 billion (US$1.3 million). The victory greatly contributed to the stabilisation of the volatile petrol and diesel market. Afterwards we petitioned the government to revise the petrol and diesel management mechanism.

In addition, the department also successfully foiled the smuggling of 296 tonnes of petrol worth about VND8 billion ($378,000) by the Viet Nam Airline Petrol Company (VINAPCO).

What are the key measures adopted by the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department to curb smuggling?

Under instructions from the Viet Nam Customs, all Anti Smuggling and Investigation Sub-Departments nationwide have increased their inspections, particularly at the northern port of Hai Phong and other northern border checkpoints in the provinces of Quang Ninh, Lang Son, Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Lao Cai and Dien Bien. During these missions, the customs officers carefully inspect customs declarations in order to find out if anyone is trying to exploit a loophole.

Regarding temporary imports and exports, anti-smuggling customs officers have focused inspections on the goods stored at the Hai Phong customs bonded warehouses, the main ocean terminal in the north before goods are unloaded and transported to China.

We have asked the Prime Minister to revise the instructions he signed last September on state management of temporary imports and exports so we can carry out our duties better.

In our proposal, we asked the Prime Minister to restrict licensing for temporary import and export to law-abiding enterprises.

We also asked the Prime Minister to prohibit the temporary import and export of sensitive and high tariff commodities or foods of high risk to both humans and the environment. In addition, we asked the government to require all vehicles used to carry goods for temporary import and export to install GPS tracking so that the authorities can see their whereabouts. — VNS

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