Foreign Trade - Customs

  • 01/01/1970

 International Trade


Policies of the Vietnamese government on the international trade have been positively changed over the past 10 years. Vietnam always increases bilateral cooperation, particularly the Vietnam-US Agreement on Trade, participation to the ASEAN, APEC and integration into AFTA and Vietnam‘s participation to WTO at the end of 2007.


In 1995, Vietnam became an official member of ASEAN and afterwards became initiators for ASEM (1996), an official member of APEC (1998), expanding cooperation space to other East Asian countries through ASEAN +1 and ASEAN + 3 mechanisms. Within the ASEAN framework, Vietnam is committed to reduce tax to 0-5% of all kinds of goods by 2013. Additionally Vietnam will remove tariff barriers to more than 300 kinds of IT goods during period of 2008-2010 as complied with the ASEAN agreement. Tariff barriers will be totally removed by 2015 except for sensitive kinds of goods such as agricultural products, automobiles which will benefit from tariff barrier removal by 2018.


On July 13th 2000, Vietnam signed the Vietnam-US Trade Agreement, an agreement which is comprehensively based on the international conventions and laws of which the WTO principles play the most important role. According to the Agreement, Vietnam will apply the most favoured nation principle to all American goods, removing all quotation restriction within 3 to 7 years. The Agreement provides specific commitment of the Vietnamese Government to the tariff reduction for 250 products of which 4/5 are agricultural products. Particularly the tariff reduction will be ranged from 33% to 50% and implemented within 3 years after the agreement is put into effect. Besides, the Agreement promulgated the right to apply some provisional measures such as the protection of some sectors which are not legally protected or protected at low level by the Law of Vietnam. The Agreement also regulates rights to application of temporary trade protection measures, self- defense, anti-dumping, regulation on hygiene standards, technical standards etc.


One breaking event in the international trade development of Vietnam is the Vietnam joining WTO. Becoming an official member of WTO, Vietnam is entitled to MFN regulation (most favoured nation) without any conditions. According to this regulation, Vietnamese products or any goods imported to Vietnam are equally competitive without any barriers of tariff and quotations. Vietnam will increase economic potentiality through promoting export activities and mobilisation of foreign investment. Joining WTO and compliance to compulsory agreements of WTO will enhance fair competition environment among domestic and foreign enterprises as well as other economic actors.


Customs services


In accordance with international commitments, regulations on exports-imports and on customs services in domestic market have been revised accordingly which are more open and more transparent to import-export activities, especially relating to legal procedures.


According to the Vietnamese laws, goods and means of import-export or entry-exit process have to be processed at the immigration office and under the control of National Customs Office. Goods, transportation means are only passed when the customs procedures for entry to or exit from Vietnam are processed. Customs  procedures are processed at the main customs  office at the border gate or at the customs  headquarter office. In the emergency cases, check-in of the imported-exported products can be processed at the other places as requested or regulated by the general Customs Office.


The customs procedures include completion of a customs form, delivery of goods or transportation means to the regulated locations, pay tax and carry out other financial obligations. Completing and submitting a customs form is regulated consistently by the general customs office. Timeline and form submission for exported goods are 30 days since the arrival of goods to the customs gate and 8 hours to export goods before the transportation means are passed through the customs control gate.


Paying tax of imported and exported goods is based on the national tax regulations. Import-export tax is calculated based on the two following categories:


§         For goods following percentage tax mechanism, tax is calculated based on actual quantity of individual type of import or export goods which is indicated in the customs form and the prices applied for calculating tax to individual goods & tariff of individual type of goods.


§         For goods following the definite tax mechanism, tax is calculated based on the actual quantity of import-export goods indicated in the form and the definite tax level applied to the individual units of goods.


Foreign companies and foreign partners benefit from tax reduction of some imported goods if they are implementing one of projects which belong to investment promotion areas and if these goods are imported to be used as fixed assets of enterprises or for extension of projects and for technology improvement.


Diplomatic bags, consulates’ bags, luggage and transportation means of individuals, organisations and agencies which are offered favorable conditions, diplomatic exemption and luggage of other special cases are exempted from the customs  check.


Individuals and organisations can give complaints to customs office or other authorised competent offices of the government or can send a complaint to courts in accordance with law on administrative procedures, regulation on behaviors of customs officers or officials if they have evidence on illegal behaviors or activities which violate benefits or rights of the claimers. During the claim or prosecution time, individuals and organisations still need to follow administrative requirements or decisions on administrative violation made by the customs officer or other authorised office of the Government.


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