New customs policy gets digitised in Vietnam

Enterprises will soon have to use digital signatures on customs declaration forms, Nguyen Manh Tung, Customs Department director of IT and Statistics, told the newspaper Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi).
Enterprises will soon have to use digital signatures on customs declaration forms, Nguyen Manh Tung, Customs Department director of IT and Statistics, told the newspaper Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi).

* What are the benefits that the Vietnam Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System (VNACCS) will offer Vietnamese enterprises?

The VNACCS is designed based on a centralised processing model integrating multiple features and facilities which help make the declaration procedure fast and convenient. The speed of customs clearance will be rapid, at around 15 seconds maximum for goods in the green lane for enterprises undertaking clearance procedures for imported and exported goods.

At present, each enterprise is given an e-customs account to help speed up procedures.

However, there are some risks in using e-customs which are out of control of the account holders. That's why with support from Japan Customs, Vietnam Customs will introduce the VNACCS on April 1, 2014 and use digital signatures instead of the e-customs system.

The use of digital signatures is fully in line with international practice and will bring many benefits to enterprises, particularly for the customs clearance procedures of imported and exported goods.

* If by April 1, any enterprises fail to have their digital signatures authenticated for their customs declaration form, will they be able to continue with the e-customs clearance procedures?

There are more than 40,000 enterprises nationwide currently using the e-customs procedures. When the VNACCS is put into operation, enterprises will have had five months to apply for the digital signature, so I hope they will all have their digital signatures ready to use by that date. Vietnam Customs is developing a mechanism for dealing with enterprises which fail to comply with the legal requirements. It is now on the table of the Ministry of Finance waiting for approval.

I should point out that the registration process for the digital signature can be done through the Vietnam Customs website and only takes two minutes.

* What are the other benefits of using the VNACCS?

There are quite a lot of benefits, particularly in terms of saving time and money for both customs officers and the enterprises.

In 2012, Vietnam Customs conducted its first survey on customer satisfaction towards e-customs procedures, but unfortunately the data has not been released to the public.

However, I hope the survey results will be released some time in November or December.

* Information confidentiality is a concern of many enterprises when applying for e-customs procedures. Do you think digital signatures will be absolutely safe?

Each enterprise is given a digital signature with a token and only one person is authorised to use it. When the information is transferred and signed, no one can access it, except the authorised person. And when the customs declaration with the digital signature is transferred to the Customs Office, it will then be transferred to the signature authentication office to certify. Only after these processes are carried out can the enterprise's dossier be opened. So there is no doubt that high levels of confidentiality are guaranteed when Vietnam Customs decides to introduce the digital signature.

Another advantage of the digital signature is that it eradicates the possibility of enterprises claiming that they did not make the customs declaration, because both the authorising company and recipient must have their own tokens to open the declaration.

In addition, the company providing the technology has many solutions to protect the security of the digital signature. At present there are eight Vietnamese companies providing such a service.-VNA

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