Vietnam awards law-abiding traders with simplified customs procedure

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Vietnam will, for the first time, allow local importers and exporters to be exempted from customs procedures as long as they have not seriously violated trade and tax regulations in three years.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs said in a statement on its website on Thursday that eligible enterprises will not have to go through detailed inspections of customs documents and goods, starting June 27.

The department will decide which companies will be given the exemption on a yearly basis. The priority will be given to companies with a trade value of US$500 million per year. For exporters of crude oil, seafood or agricultural products, the required trade value is set at $100 million, the customs authority said.

In an interview published on Tuoi Tre newspaper Friday, Pham Thanh Binh, a senior official at the department, said the process of categorizing traders started on Thursday afternoon.

He said the new rule is a "breakthrough", allowing traders with a good track record to enjoy simple customs procedures.

"In short, enterprises will be authorized to complete almost all of the customs procedures on their own and will be able to save a lot of time and costs. Their goods will basically be cleared right after they show up," said Binh, who oversees after-clearance procedures at the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Traders who have violated customs and tax regulations more than three times and have been fined more than VND20 million in the past three years will not be considered, he said.

Binh said he expected most eligible traders will be large companies, as smaller companies may not yet be established enough to be credible.

Around 50 companies will be given the procedure-free status this year, he forcast, noting that other countries usually have 200-300 such enterprises each.

Binh added that necessary revision to the new rule will be made if the number of eligible traders turns out lower than expected.

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