Import and export firms will begin phasing in the use of digital signatures for the e-customs system this year, according to the Vietnam General Department of Customs (VGDC).

The move forms part of the implementation of Decree 87/2012 that regulates commercial importers and exporters using e-signatures for e-customs procedures.

Director of the VGDC's Customs Information Technology and Statistics Department Nguyen Manh Tung said that digital signatures would help improve security and safety for enterprises in e-customs procedures.

Tung told a press conference on October 24 that using digital signatures in e-customs will benefit both commercial importers, exporters and the customs sector. "It is creating favourable conditions for commercial importers and exporters," he said.

He added that the sector has asked the finance ministry to allow enterprises without digital signatures after the November deadline, to perform customs procedures.

The customs sector is also working with relevant agencies to provide information and training on digital signature procedures nation-wide.

A VGDC representative said that the department had accepted digital signatures provided by e-signature service providers licenced by the Ministry of Information and Communications, including FPT, BKAV, VNPT-CA, Nacencom, CK-CA, Safe-CA, Viettel-CA and SmartSign.
Customs sector statistics also showed that more than 40,000 import and export enterprises this year were using e-customs procedures in 34 customs departments nationwide. Around 3,000 enterprises have registered digital signatures for e-customs.

By mid-November, the customs sector will pilot run a new system, called the Vietnam Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System and the Vietnam Customs Information System (VNACCS/VCIS,) that requires digital signature for procedures.

The system is scheduled to be put into operation nationwide in April next year.-VNA