The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in association with the General Department of Customs has recently organized a conference themed "E-customs and Businesses" in Ho Chi Minh City. The conference was part of activities under the “Supporting IT Application amongst Enterprises to Serve Integration and Development” project for the period of 2006-2010. The Government has assigned the VCCI to carry out the project. The conference aimed to help enterprises in the city to easily carry out e-customs procedures.
Developing e-customs is one of reform and modernization strategies of the customs sector. After four years of piloting e-customs in accordance with the Decision No. 149/2005/QD-TTg dated June 20 2005 by the Prime Minster, the mode has so far attracted the attention of the public and the community of businesses, initially creating a driving force for the expansion nationwide.
According to the Ministry of Finance, achievements gained during the pilot period have slowly changed the thought of customs management as well as the awareness and behaviour of businesses to export-import process. Instead of being strange to the new management way, majority of enterprises to date have accepted e-customs. At present, there are thousands of enterprises joining e-customs, much higher than the initial number. However, the implementation process of e-customs has showed many troubles. The propaganda of joining e-customs among businesses is still weak. Many enterprises have not yet understood the benefits of e-customs application, so they hesitated to invest more IT tools to serve the process. For that very reason, the expansion of e-customs to modernize the sector becomes vital and requires not only the effort of customs sector but also the support of businesses and authorities.
In order for enterprises to understand clearly procedures of e-customs, Mr Le Van Ninh, an expert from the General Department of Customs, has introduced them with necessary steps and tools. Accordingly, businesses need to connect computers to the Internet and install them with software supplied by the customs agency. The process of e-customs is completely online. In addition, Mr Ninh also said that the General Department of Customs is targeting to build a standard database, based on which enterprises can build e-customs software and relevant software by themselves. The General Department of Customs has cooperated with related ministries and agencies to draft the amended customs procedures, creating a legal foundation for expanding the system customs procedures for 2009-2011. Under the draft, enterprises who join e-customs, will pay customs fees monthly; make online customs declaration and not need to present enclosed certificates of commodity batches which are exempted from dossier check. They will also be provided with e-customs declaration software and free consultancy by customs agencies. The amended e-customs also regulate specifically duties and responsibilities of enterprises as attending e-customs procedures, for example keeping customs voucher set (including online files or papers) intact for a required duration; presenting certificates of customs declaration set as being asked by customs agencies.
At the conference, participants got opportunities to meet and discuss with leaders of authorized agencies as well as distributors of -customs software on difficulties and challenges facing them during their process of e-customs procedures declaration. Earlier, conferences with the same theme were held in Dong Nai province on July 8 and in Binh Duong province on July 10. The VCCI has planned will continue organizing similar events at other localities including Da Nang, Ha Noi, Bac Giang and Haiphong in September.