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Viet Nam amends Customs Law

Update: June, 06/2014 - 09:44

Amendments to the Customs Law will make it comprehensive and responsive, Dinh Xuan Thao, Director of the National Assembly Legislative Studies Institute, told the Hai Quan (Customs) online paper.

The key objective of the law's revision is to ensure that the sector has a comprehensive system in place to respond to international integration and import-export activities. What do you think about that objective?

Amendments to the existing law have been studied and are very comprehensive.

I'm confident the revisions will meet the nation's new requirements, particularly the country's new Constitution regarding the integration between Viet Nam and the world.

Article 12 of the 2013 Constitution states clearly that Viet Nam abides by the Charter of the UN and the international conventions which the country has signed. For the customs sector, which has extensive links inside and outside the country, we have to adopt regulations that meet national and international requirements.

Clause 24 of Article 4 of the draft Customs Law states clearly that the Customs Law of Viet Nam is applicable to all areas within Viet Nam's territory, including its exclusive economic zones and the continental shelf.

Viet Nam has its customs jurisdiction on the rights and obligations in its exclusive economic zones. This is totally in conformity with the international law.

That's why in import-export activities, such as the export of crude oil from Viet Nam's off-shore oil-rigs, Customs has to perform its rights and duties there itself. We can't ask the buyer and the seller to transport the oil to the mainland to complete their customs procedures.

Similar activities are also applied to off-shore fishery exports from Viet Nam's continental shelf.

The proposed revised law also includes key principles on the establishment of the General Department of Customs. How do you respond to the proposal?

I totally support the establishment of the General Department of Customs. In the context of socio-economic development, the re-arrangement and consolidation of customs organisations is imperative.

In reality, quite a few areas don't have many import-export activities as they don't have inland border posts or are land-locked. In that case, a customs office will be established to oversee the import-export activities for certain localities.

Localities that have busy import-export activities (on land, waterways and in airports) like Ha Noi or HCM City, it is important to arrange the customs clearance to respond to the customers' needs.

Of course, when the Customs Law is approved, the government will be assigned to develop guiding documents to implement the law, including the decision to establish the General Department of Customs.

The Customs Law (revised) will come into force on January 1, 2015. To enforce it, the government will have to issue five Decrees, one Decision and 15 Circulars. What are your comments on the administrative preparations for the Customs Law?

Customs is an area linked to many economic policies. It affects import-export activities heavily. That's why it is very important to have guiding documents to implement the law as soon as possible. To my knowledge, the law compiling committee is already writing legal documents on how to implement the law. I'm confident that the new Customs Law will be implemented as scheduled. — VNS

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