Vietnam strives to reform customs ahead of FTAs hinh anh 1Customs officers check imported goods at Ka Long Bordergate in the northern Quang Ninh Province's Mong Cai City. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi, (VNA) – The World Trade Organisation's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) will boost customs reforms to facilitate trade across borders in line with international standards, an official has said.

This ​is important as the Southeast Asia economy ​is striving to hasten customs reforms riding on the hope of increasing exports as a number of free trade agreements (FTAs) ​are on the horizon.

Nguyen Toan, Director of the International Cooperation Department under the General Department of Customs, said that the TFA, which includes provisions for expediting the movement and release and clearance of goods, w​ill also create favourable conditions for Vietnam to implement commitments in FTAs that the country ha​s signed and ​is going to sign.

The modernisation of customs management w​ill be hastened to speed up customs clearance and prevent losses for collection of import and export taxes, Toan said.

The TFA was adopted by the WTO members at the Bali Ministerial Conference in 2013. The agreement aim​s to set out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues while enhancing technical support and capacity building in the area.

According to Toan, Vietnam was 54th out of 64 WTO members which approved the TFA. The agreement w​ill come into effect when it ​is approved by at least two-thirds of WTO members, or 108 member countries.

Still, Toan said the TFA will be a challenge to Vietnam where 90 percent of businesses ​are of small and medium sizes and trade frauds remain a headache.

He also pointed out that the lack of coordination among relevant ministries and organisations w​ill also badly impact efforts to facilitate trade.

The General Department of Customs w​ill set up plans to establish a steering committee to carry out the agreement's commitments, he said.

As of 2015, Vietnam had trade relations with more than 200 countries and territories. With 14 impending FTAs, the country will have liberalised trade with 55 partners, promising prosper exports.

Vietnam targets to achieve an export revenue of 187 billion USD this year, a rise of 10 percent over 2015.

Under a project of development of regional markets, Vietnam's export turnover is expected to touch 300 billion USD by 2020 with an annual average growth rate of 11 percent to 12 percent from 2015 to 2020.-VNA