An average of 115 hours for imports and 11 hours for exports is needed to clear customs, according to a report from the General Department of Customs (GDC) on the customs clearance reform program.
Hoang Viet Cuong, GDC's Deputy General Director, said the reform program had been reviewed at 11 customs sub-agencies at ports and border gates.
GDC, for the first time ever, measured the time needed to clear imports and exports going through national ports and border gates. The aim is to assess administrative reform and customs modernization.
The time enterprises have to spend on customs procedures, from submitting to getting customs clearance, is about 32 hours and 37 minutes, or 28 percent of the total time needed.
For the remaining 72 percent of time, enterprises are working with other state management agencies, including the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), border gate management units, storage enterprises, port authorities and logistics firms.
The goods clearance process heavily depends on the operations of these agencies. In addition, it depends on several other factors, including the intervals that container trucks are allowed to circulate on roads, as regulated by the Ministry of Transport.
However, there are discrepancies between reports from the GDC and World Bank (WB) on the time involved in administrative procedures.
The WB's Doing Business 2014 released several months ago showed that enterprises had to spend 21 days on average in 2012 and 2013 to fulfill procedures for their imports and exports.
Le Nhu Quynh, deputy head of the Customs Reform and Modernization Committee, attributed the difference to GDC and WB's different methodologies and scope of research.
Quynh said GDC measured the time needed for goods clearance in accordance with procedures set by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in 2001, which is now being applied in many countries.
WB uses its own measurement method with six questionnaires. It has been used since 2004 for 100 countries.
Nguyen Minh Thao, a researcher from the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM), said working sessions with enterprises indicated that goods clearance was longer than the 115 hours and 11 hours reported by GDC.
She commented that GDC needs to take drastic measures to shorten the time enterprises have to spend to clear goods, as requested by the government's Decree No 19 on administrative procedure reform. Reducing the time also helps increase the competitiveness of the country.
Cuong said customs agencies checked all the procedures at every border gate to discover the problems that need to be fixed.
This will give important information when legal documents are compiled to guide the implementation of the Amended Customs Law, expected to take effect in 2015.
Though GDT says the customs clearance time has been reduced considerably, enterprises are still complaining about the complicated procedures and are repeatedly urging authorities to speed up reform.
ministry of industry and trade, general department of customs, industry and trade, ministry of transport, customs clearance, world bank, hoang viet, general director, border gates, the first, administrative reform, customs procedures, state management, border gate, administrative procedures
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