|Officers of Bac Ninh Customs Branch at work. Photo: Q.H|
Operation has not yet been performed professionally
About 1,000 enterprises have been certified as customs brokers, and about 3,000 staff have been issued identity codes of the customs broker. According to Vietnam law, these staff must be signed official and long-term labour contracts at authorized customs brokers.
According to the WCO Customs brokers guideline – June 2018, to effectively manage the operation and compliance of customs brokers, the WCO provides good practices related to the management of customs brokers and suggestions for a scoring system in measuring compliance of customs brokers.
Accordingly, Customs can measure the performance/compliance of customs brokers under criteria related to the operation of customs brokers.
The addition of points for compliance acts, deduction of points for violations and warnings for the deduction to certain points, helps the Customs monitor the operation of customs brokers, and helps customs brokers fully understand and have sense of enhancing their compliance, thereby improving the performance and law compliance in providing customs brokerage services.
According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC), some individual import and export service providers have operated unprofessionally, failed to register for business and pay taxes but carried out customs procedures under the contract for each shipment. This reduces the competitiveness of customs brokerage activities.
Moreover, these providers do not have a binding responsibility to the owner of the goods and do not comply well with the regulations. When the mistakes happen, they often abdicate their responsibility and blame the owners of the goods, affecting the quality of the connection between the Customs and the owners of the goods, leading to misunderstandings about the role and reducing the reputation of customs brokers in import and export activities.
The Customs Control and Supervision Department representative said most customs brokers have complied well with the Customs law, implemented the periodical reporting regime, and coordinated well with Customs authorities.
However, some customs brokers in localities do not sign contracts with the owners of the goods. They only carry out customs clearance at request by the owners of the goods. The goods owners still name on the customs clearance form and pay taxes and fees.
Therefore, the operation of customs brokers has not been effective and has not met the target. In addition, some customs brokers have not operated in the role of the customs brokers.
According to the department’s representative, legal documents on preferential policies for the operation of customs brokers have not been clear, and there is no distinction between the authorized customs broker and the customs declarant at the customs office.
The customs clearance procedures implemented by the customs broker are still cumbersome. The responsibility of the customs broker is heavier than the individual customs service provider at the border gate. On the other hand, import-export enterprises have their staff to carry out customs procedures.
For large-scale import-export enterprises, international goods owners often sign contracts with large customs brokers that operate across the country. Therefore, the ability to connect and approach small and medium-sized customs brokers with the owners of big goods is relatively difficult. These brokers have not yet implemented the function as the connection between the Customs and the owners of the goods in customs operation, reducing customs clearance time and work pressure and encouraging the investment and development of customs broker channels in small and medium-sized enterprises.
In addition, system and software errors have caused difficulties in carrying out customs procedures and customs clearance delays.
Developing preferential policies
Implementing import and export procedures via the customs broker is an inevitable trend in international economic integration. The operation of customs brokers has contributed important to developing services related to import and export activities across the country.
Therefore, the development of customs brokers will further facilitate the growth of logistics services, help the implementation of customs procedures become professional, shorten the customs clearance time, and reduce violations due to the lack of knowledge of customs law and policies on goods management.
According to the GDVC, first of all, it is necessary to disseminate and encourage the goods owners, people and enterprises to use services provided by the customs brokers in import and export activities and improve the role of customs brokers as the connection between the Customs and importers and exporters; solve the unfair competition between the individual customs service provider and the authorized customs broker; maximum support for the customs brokers in the customs process.
Review the legal regulations of other countries to learn and refer to the provisions of international law and regulations of countries with advanced legal backgrounds and countries with economies similar to Vietnam; and apply preferential policies for implementing procedures through customs brokers.
The General Department of Vietnam Customs is studying contents to implement the priority regimes for customs brokers. When the customs broker fully meets the conditions for compliance with the Customs law, Tax law, turnover, and other conditions, it will be recognized as an authorized customs broker. The broker will enjoy preferential policies as the authorized economic operator as per Article 43 of the Customs Law, such as exemption from inspection of customs documents, from physical inspection of goods, and the goods and vehicle owners also enjoy a priority regime when authorizing the authorized customs broker in the customs process.
“The above orientations will be concretized in the draft Circular amending, supplementing (or replacing) Circulars No. 12/2015/TT-BTC dated January 30, 2015 and Circular No. 22/TT-BTC dated April 16, 2019 of the Ministry of Finance” the representative of the Customs Control and Supervision Department said.