Temporary-import goods can now only be kept in Vietnam for 45 days before they must be re-exported. One 15-day extension is allowed.

The Prime Minister issued Directive 23/CT-TTg last week to make State management of temporary importing and re-exporting more efficient. The goal was also to prevent smuggling, which was reported recently to have reached alarming levels.

Previously, goods could be kept in the country for up to 120 days with two 30-day extensions. The long storage duration caused difficulties in management and meant that temporary-import goods might be sold in the domestic market instead, according to the General Department of Customs. Under the directive, when the storage duration was over, the goods would be forcibly re-exported from Vietnam through the border gate of temporary import. If not, they would be seized and handled as regulations specify.

Regarding the loopholes in the regulations on temporary import and re-export that importers could take advantage of to seek illegal profits, the Prime Minister also ordered the Ministry of Industry and Trade to review the current regulations to eliminate those no longer appropriate and propose amendments for better management.

The ministry would issue, within this month, lists of goods banned and temporarily halted from temporary import for re-export or transhipment, together with conditions for the temporary import of goods on which an excise tax was imposed, including wine, beer, tobacco and cigars.

Regulations on the temporary import and re-export of petrol must also be tightened to stop smuggling and tax fraud through temporary import.

The General Department of Customs proposed petrol be added to the list of products on which importers could not enjoy tax deferrals and must pay taxes immediately.

Relevant ministries and organisations would enhance management, especially in border and coastal provinces.

The department also urged the Government to lift its strict regulations on the importation of luxury goods, saying this would help increase trade value, boost domestic consumption and generate more tax.-VNA