HCMC customs industry solves difficulties for American firms

Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department yesterday held a conference to talk to the community of US firms from American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (Amcham) to solve difficulties for them.
Customs officials examine a consignment of goods at a seaport in HCMC (Illustrative photo: SGGP)
Customs officials examine a consignment of goods at a seaport in HCMC (Illustrative photo: SGGP)

Many American firms said that too many post clearance audit inspections in a year had raised difficulties for their operations.

According to them, post clearance audit is a modern measure to manage and control import goods, widely applied in developed nations. In Vietnam, the procedure has not promoted efficiency in practice because the customs industry has done that similarly to a customs procedure.

A representative from Tan My Inox Company said that at present steel companies’ import of materials to produce export items must experience many procedures taking up to six months. The time consuming procedure has raised storage cost and impacted businesses’ material source, causing them loss trading opportunities.

To limit post clearance audit, the best solution is that businesses must abide by the law. However Amcham deputy chairman Mark G. Gillin expected that the HCMC customs industry will intensify supplying information about policies and updating new administrative procedures to assist American firms to grasp and comply with regulations in the customs field.

Especially, the industry should listen to opinions form the American business community to boost and facilitate trade and create healthy competitive environment between domestic and foreign firms, he added.

Mr. Nguyen Thanh Long, deputy head of Supervision and Management Division under the HCMC Customs Department, said that post clearance audit is only conducted when cargo or businesses’ operation shows signs of violations or abnormalities.

In addition, some post clearance audit procedures do not come within the jurisdiction of the customs industry but other agencies relating to food safety, health and special goods. For instance, stainless steel is listed as a special material related to anti-dumping tax, so the inspection and supervision process to this commodity is complex and time consuming.

Deputy head of HCMC Customs Department Dinh Ngoc Thang affirmed that the HCMC customs industry has made efforts to abolish unnecessary procedures, reduce time and cost to do customs procedures to create a transparent, public and competitive environment for businesses including American firms.