The introduction of a new automated customs system in select localities early this month has created problems for both officials and import-export firms as some of them still fail to catch up with the new technology, according to local reports.

A report by Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) said that the lack of uniformity in applying the Vietnam Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System/Vietnam Customs Information System (VNACCS/VCIS) caused some difficulties for customs offices and businesses who are struggling to get used to it.

The system has been introduced in 39 customs offices in nine cities and provinces – Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Lang Son, Quang Ninh, Bac Ninh, Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau – and is scheduled for application nationwide from June 1.

Since not all localities are using the system at present, in-country export firms which have to submit papers to two customs offices – one that uses the VNACCS/VCIS and the other which is yet to apply the new system - face trouble, the report said, citing the Customs Department of Binh Phuoc province.

Vu Ngoc Anh, Deputy General Director of General Department of Vietnam Customs, has confirmed the non-synchronous application of VNACCS/VCIS and other issues.

He said that the customs sector was speeding up training courses for officers so that they would be better equipped to deal with problems that arise when applying the new system.

He said he expects the implementation to become smooth in the near future.

The Customs Department in Dong Nai province has said it has been confused about applying the new system for situations of in-country export-import – where goods made in Vietnam are sold to buyers in other countries but delivered to enterprises within the country that have been appointed by the buyers.

According to Circular 22/2014 on e-customs procedures relating to commercially imported and exported goods as well as procedures for implementing the VNACCS/VCIS system, in-country export procedures have to be completed before corresponding import procedures.

But according to Circular 196/2012, which is still valid, the import procedures have to be done before the export procedures.

Tran Quoc Dinh, deputy head of the Customs Reform and Modernisation Department, said that procedures under Circular 22 are not that complicated.

He said that all the in-country exporters have to do is to give details of when the goods will be taken from the source and delivered to the firms authorised by foreign buyers.

Meanwhile, the Customs departments in Binh Duong and Long An provinces are concerned about the regulation under which enterprises have to submit custom declarations after they gather all goods to export/import at either a border gate, sea port or storehouses certified by the customs department.

The requirement has caused congestion at the storage facilities, increasing costs and the time taken to carry goods to the sites and the customs departments' inspecting areas, officials said.

The Long An Customs Department has requested detailed regulations that clarify the term "certified storehouse" because the ambiguity has left both enterprises and customs officers confused.

The VNACCS/VCIS system, installed at a cost of about 2.7 billion JPY (21.2 million USD), has been funded by the Japanese government.

The Vietnam Automated Cargo Clearance System funded by the Government of Japan was officially handed over to the General Customs Department on April 25.

The system was developed with official development assistance (ODA) of over 2.6 billion JPY (25.5 million USD).

It allows trade and transport-related parties to declare information and documents just once at a single location to complete all legal requirements concerning import, export and transit, thus greatly reducing waiting time and avoiding complicated administrative procedures.

To date, the system has been used in 40 customs departments in 10 provinces and cities. It will be expanded to 34 provincial customs departments in June, said Nguyen Ngoc Tuc, head of the general department.-VNA