|Customs agents mainly carry out formalities for transit and official import and export through Huu Nghi international border gate. Photo: H.Nu|
Efficiency is insignificant
According to statistics from Lang Son Customs Department, the unit is managing 21 customs agents recognized and licensed by the General Department of Customs in Lang Son province. Customs agents mainly carry out formalities for transit and official import and export through Huu Nghi international border gate. A few agents carry out procedures for temporary import for re-export of goods and goods in bonded warehouses through Coc Nam and Chi Ma border gates. Tan Thanh border gate and Dong Dang international railway station did not generate import-export activities through customs agents.
According to Lang Son Customs Department, 21 customs agents are a modest number compared to the potential and advantages of Lang Son, so the number of declarations, value, and tax amounts paid through customs agents in the province is still limited.
Specifically, from January 1 to the end of September 20, the total number of declarations through a customs agent was 230 sets, accounting for only 0.36% of the department’s total number of declarations (62,643 sets).
Total import-export turnover reached US$8.3 million, accounting for 0.4% of the department’s total turnover (US$1,922 million) and the total state budget revenue reached VND10 billion, accounting for only 0.39% of the department’s total revenue of VND2,559 billion.
Mr. Nguyen Anh Tai, Deputy Director of Lang Son Customs Department said, most of the customs agents in Lang Son province comply with the regulations and cooperate with the Customs authority. However, in addition to customs agency contracts, most customs agents only perform services through oral agreements such as entering declaration criteria, providing services for procedures at yards, wharfs and vehicle arrangement, loading and unloading of goods.
The naming on the customs declaration, payment of taxes, fees, charges and other payables are still performed by the owner of the goods. Therefore, the operations of customs agents in Lang Son province have not been as professional and efficient as set out.
Before those shortcomings, Lang Son Customs has strengthened inspection, supervision and strict management of customs agents, organizations and individuals who carry out customs procedures.
Accordingly, those who carry out customs procedures must be the legal representative of the enterprise engaging in import-export activities through the area. In which, the customs department has reviewed, collected information, and made a list of risk management for individuals, organizations, individual business households and individuals and organizations authorized by import-export enterprises to carry out procedures for transportation and delivery of import and export goods in the area, especially individuals who do customs procedures for many businesses by authorization or introduction.
In addition, Lang Son Customs has strictly checked the presentation of documents archives or requested customs brokers to submit documents such as labor contract, payroll, certificate of social insurance payment etc.
In addition, according to Mr. Nguyen Anh Tai, the unit has also been actively coordinating with Lang Son Tax Department and related agencies to review individual import-export service providers at border gates to take measures to prevent and abolish the form of unofficial customs declaration services, thereby, creating a favorable environment for the development of customs agents; and strengthened information to enterprises and goods owners to increase the use of customs brokerage services in import and export activities in the area.
Furthermore, Lang Son Customs has guided the customs branches to support the operations of customs agents and coordinated with authorities at the border gate to help customs agents register in advance for inspection, transportation, loading and unloading of goods, etc., thereby maximizing the role and function of customs agents.
There should be incentive mechanisms
The representative of Huu Nghi Border Gate Customs Branch said that in addition to creating favorable conditions, there should be incentive mechanisms and policies for enterprises as customs agents. Therefore, goods owners are not aware of the difference, efficiency, benefits, and priority when carrying out customs procedures through customs agents compared to individuals providing import-export services, including the customs declaration stage.
In fact, many goods owners do not want to sign customs agent contracts because of more complicated procedures; additional costs related to signing the contract such as money transfer fee, VAT.
Therefore, most of the owners of the goods choose individuals providing import-export services at border gates. In addition, the capacity of the majority of customs agents in the area is not high and uneven, and the number of employees with customs declaration certificates is still small.
The customs agent staff have not fully grasped the knowledge of customs law, import and export management policies, tax declaration and calculation, determination of taxable value, application of HS codes, etc, making mistakes during customs clearance. This makes enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, fearful and lack trust in customs agents.
In order for customs agents to work most effectively in the future, Ms. Doan Thu Ha, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Lang Son province, said that Lang Son province is asking the Ministry of Finance to propose the Government request the relevant ministries and agencies to develop incentives mechanisms, policies, resources and finance to develop customs agent activities and services related to import and export activities to maximize border gate economic advantages.
There should be a mechanism to support training, tax exemption and reduction and other financial obligations to support and attract enterprises to invest in developing customs activities towards professionalism and efficiency.
In particular, Lang Son province has proposed to the Ministry of Finance to speed up the revision of legal documents related to prioritizing the development of customs agents. In the long run, the Ministry of Finance should study and supplement regulations on the responsibilities of people carrying out customs procedures in a number of stages; regulations on the level of knowledge of customs laws, and the requirements on customs declaration to ensure the use of the digital system.
Also, the Ministry of Finance should ask the Tax and Customs agencies to regularly review and inspect the observance of tax payment obligations by business households, individuals and organizations providing import-export services; and have a mechanism to support and provide free training in customs operations and customs declaration for import-export service providers in Lang Son province to improve declaration capacity and sense of compliance with Customs law when performing import-export related services…
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Lang Son province also proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade promote information and give notice to production facilities and import-export businesses about benefits and priority when carrying out customs procedures through authorized and reputable customs agents to avoid risks and legal problems arising in the import and export process.