Businesses await action on their customs-priority status
14:17 07/10/2014
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Authorised economic operator (AEO) companies were promised that they would have priority over others in working with customs agencies on customs clearance, but they are still waiting for the privilege.



Businesses await action on their customs-priority status




The General Department of Customs (GDC) announced it had granted priority status to another eight import-export companies, raising the total number of enterprises of this kind to 24 out of the currently operational 50,000 import-export companies. The 24 enterprises make up 23 percent of Vietnam's annual export revenue.

AEOs, as enterprises recognized to be complying with WCO (the World Customs Organization), or equivalent supply chain security standards, can enjoy many preferences, including a shorter time period for customs clearance.

There are three major groups of AEOs, including 1) companies enjoying priority in importing and exporting all kinds of goods, 2) companies enjoying priority in exporting raw farm and seafood products, or unprocessed petroleum products, and 3) enterprises that export high-technology products encouraged by the State.

In order to be granted priority status, enterprises have to satisfy a series of requirements. They, for example, must have annual export turnover of $50 million at minimum.

However, Le Thu, deputy head of the Post-customs Clearance Verification Agency, said the minimum level may be lower for small- and medium-sized enterprises that export farm produce of authentic Vietnamese origin, or farm produce made of domestic materials.

Some foreign-invested enterprises have been granted priority status in exceptional cases, related to trade agreements signed between Vietnam and other countries. Canon Vietnam is one example.

Vu Van Thanh, general director of Hoa Sen Group, said he appreciates the program and hopes enterprises' competitiveness will be improved once they can save costs and time.

However, a senior executive at an electronics manufacturing company, complained that ti was more difficult being an AEO than a normal enterprise.

“It will take several years to follow the procedures to obtain priority status,” he said.

“In principle, when you are an AEO, you will be allowed to deliver and receive goods at ports on non-working days. However, if customs officers stay away on holidays and there is no one on duty, the priority status will not have any significance,” he continued.

The executive went on to say that his company still cannot enjoy a grace period for tax payments, even though it is a major electronics manufacturer.

Priority status sometimes brings inconvenience to enterprises. If they make mistakes with customs declarations, they will have to wait some time for necessary documents. In this case, priority enterprises will be later than non-priority enterprises.

GDC said the number of companies with AEO status may rise to 30 by the end of the year.

DNSG

Source Vietnamnet

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