Lang Son Customs Department officials check registration numbers of an import truck at Huu Nghi Border Gate in Lang Son. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The General Department of Customs would enhance efforts of administrative reforms and modernisation this year to create favourable conditions for imports and exports, a conference heard on February 25.

Speaking at the conference to raise measures to improve customs operations in 2016, General Director Nguyen Ngoc Tuc said that customs modernisation was just at an initial stage, and added that greater efforts were required.

Tuc said that the customs authorities would enhance cooperation with relevant ministries to accelerate the simplification of import-export related administrative procedures, such as national and ASEAN single window mechanisms and special checks on imported and exported products.

The effort aimed to reduce the customs clearance time for imported and exported goods equal or even lower to ASEAN-4's average, following the Prime Minister's Decision 253/QD-TTg issued recently about thrift practice and waste combat.

This was one of the four major tasks of the Customs General Department this year – the first year of a new five-year customs modernisation plan, in addition to fulfilling budget collection targets, enhancing customs supervision and developing a healthy customs staff.

Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung urged the customs authorities to enhance the efficiency of smuggling prevention, seeing the important role of the customs departments in the battlefield against smuggling.

Official statistics revealed that last year, the customs authorities handled more than 19,700 violation cases, worth 462.5 billion VND (20.6 million USD) of goods, and collected 232.5 billion VND (10.3 million USD) of fines to the budget.

At the end of last year, the customs authorities signed up with 28 commercial banks to collect the budget through banks to make it convenient for tax-payers. Last year, the customs departments collected more than 261.8 trillion VND (11.64 billion USD) to the State budget, equal to 100.7 percent of estimate.-VNA