Hanoi (VNA) - The General Department of Vietnam Customs has put forward various policies to accelerate public administrative reforms and support domestic exporters and importers since the beginning of this year in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 has spread through over 200 countries and territories worldwide, disrupting global supply chains, forcing many businesses to close, pushing up unemployment, and encouraging protectionism.

In Vietnam, the pandemic forced the Government to impose a partial social distancing order nationwide. Coupled with the devastating consequences of natural disasters and climate change, it has posed serious challenges to foreign trade and severely affected State budget collection.

To deal with the “new normal” situation, municipal and provincial customs departments throughout the country have held dialogues with affected enterprises to help them resolve their difficulties, according to Director-General of the General Department of Vietnam Customs Nguyen Van Can.

He cited the HCM City Customs Department as an example, saying it hosted numerous dialogues and training seminars, both face-to-face and online, for domestic and foreign-invested enterprises, to help them take full advantage of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). These events caught attention of many foreign embassies and consulates general as well as business associations, Can said.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs has proposed to the government and the Ministry of Finance a number of new incentives and policies in response to the complex developments of COVID-19, in particular Decision No 1616/QD-TCHQ, outlining action plans for accelerating public administrative reform and supporting export and import activities.

Customs sector makes all-out efforts to respond to COVID-19 hinh anh 1Margrethe Maersk, one of the world’s largest container ships, docks at Cai Mep Terminal in the southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau. (Photo: VNA)

Its units have actively sought coordination from other relevant ministries and agencies to remove barriers to customs clearance and clear backlogs of goods at border crossings, while preventing illegal exports of essential medical supplies and equipment needed to fight COVID-19 in the country.

Can said his department has cut the number of cases requiring customs sampling, inspection, and classification and reduced the time needed to return results of sample testing and goods classification. It has also sped up the clearance of humanitarian relief sent from and to the country.

Its units have also cooperated with relevant authorities to fast-track customs clearance services for people returning from or transiting through pandemic-hit countries and territories, particularly Vietnamese citizens coming home on rescue flights.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs has strictly enforced the government’s resolutions governing the macro-economy and supporting affected businesses, bolstered the disbursement of public investment, and ensured social order and safety in the context of COVID-19.

It is estimated that State budget revenues collected by the sector will reach around 315 trillion VND as of December 31, representing 93.2 percent of the annual plan.

The department plans to focus on developing and improving customs policies and legal regulations next year, while adopting more drastic measures to reform its administrative services to provide enterprises with a fair, open, and transparent business environment and help them cut costs, Can noted.

It aims to remain the best performer among the Ministry of Finance’s five general departments in the public administration performance index.

The department has saved up to 15 billion VND from reduced and simplified public administrative services, he said, adding that the amount is equivalent to about 62,500 working days./.