A wider door will open for many Vietnam-based firms to benefit from new special customs priorities.
Dang Phuong Thuy, vice head of Vietnam Customs’ Department for Trade Policy Examination, told VIR that the Vietnam Customs was drafting a new circular on granting enterprises special customs priorities.
This would be known as Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). It will replace the Ministry of Finance’s Circular 105/2011/BTC issued in July, 2011 on amending Circular 63/2011/TT-BTC issued in May, 2011 on piloting customs state management priorities for conditioned enterprises.
“The new circular, to be issued before May, will embrace new regulations making it easier for local and foreign enterprises in Vietnam to be selected as prioritised enterprises,” Thuy said. “About eight enterprises will be selected as prioritised enterprises in 2013.”
One of the draft circular’s biggest highlights is that enterprises with import and export activities will be given priority if they have an annual minimum export-import turnover of $200 million, instead of $350 million as stipulated in Circular 105.
Meanwhile, exporters will be classified depending on their business types. For example, aquatic product exporters must have an annual minimum export turnover of $20 million. The figure will be $40 million for textile, garment and footwear exporters.
At present, the figure is $70 million for all exporters. “The requirement that exporters can be listed as prioritised enterprises when they must have at least $70 million in export turnover has made it hard for more enterprises to enjoy customs priorities,” Thuy said.
Under the new draft circular, prioritised enterprises would be exempted from having their customs dossiers examined during the customs clearance process. At present, it often takes some 14 hours to get customs clearance for a package. However, under the AEO, the time may be reduced to just about 15 minutes.
They could also implement online customs procedures round the clock. Since AEO was applied in mid 2011, 12 enterprises have benefited, including Samsung Vietnam, Sumidenso Vietnam, Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical, Vietsovpetro, Vietnam Rubber Group, Canon Vietnam, PV Oil Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Brother Industries Vietnam, Dak Lak 2/9 Export-Import, Vinafood 2 and Minh Phu Seafood.
However, Thuy said enterprises wanted to be qualified for the priorities status must also meet some other strict conditions.
For example, besides obeying legal regulations on customs, tax, commerce and investment, they must also meet criteria about transparent financing regime, profitable business performance and online customs procedure performance.
“Notably, private information about enterprises’ leaders’ responsibilities, knowledge about their business, accounting and auditing will also be appraised when their enterprises are considered for AEO,” Thuy said.
According to Vietnam Customs, after Vietnam inked mutual recognition agreements with foreign countries, Vietnam-based AEO firms would also benefit from customs priorities in such countries.