Continue to reform to meet development needs
Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung said that over the past time, following the direction of the Government, the Prime Minister, ministries and sectors have strongly reformed and cut administrative procedures.
More than 1,926 commodity streams have been reduced and30 of 120 administrative procedures have been cut, saving more than 12 million working days, equivalent to VND 5,442 trillion, which are impressive results.
Dunghighly appreciated the reform of the Ministry of Finance, directly the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
However, currently, 1,501 commodity streams are overlapping; the ministries are continuing to direct implementation.
According to Dung, we have effectively reformed, but people and businesses still implement many procedures when importing and exporting goods, which are barriers to entry in markets, increasing costs and time to society.
Therefore, according to Dung, the Prime Minister assigned the Ministry of Finance to be the agency that directly develops the scheme on quality inspection and food safety inspection at border gate, towards customs as the only focal point for inspection of import and export goods, and specialised inspection ministries shall conduct post-inspection.
The Ministry of Finance has finalised the draft scheme, at this meeting, the Government Office and other ministries reviewed it before submitting it to the Prime Minister.
Minister Mai Tien Dung emphasised that, according to the “Doing Business 2020” report, published by the World Bank in October 2019, the score of component indexes, cost of import and export of cross-border trade transactions have not significantly changed compared to prioryears. However, Vietnam’s cross-border trade transaction index decreased by fourranks (from 100th to 104th of 190 economies); the general index of the business environment decreased by onerank (from 69th to 70th of 190 economies); Vietnam still ranks fifthout of 10 ASEAN economies.
Therefore, there should be specific solutions, especially solutions to implement Resolutions No.01/NQ-CP, Resolution No.02/NQ-CP and Resolution 68/NQ-CP of the Government, which cut at least 20% of compliance costs.
“The scheme towards Customs as focal point for inspection except for specialised goods (goods subject to plant and animal quarantine or sensitive goods…). If this scheme is done well, it will begreatly effective.
On alegal basis, Dung said the legal documents must be considered. The contents related to laws must be reported to the National Assembly. Government related issues shall be reported to the Government. The implementation roadmap will be separated in phases, if issues are under the competency of the Government, they must be implemented first; if issues are under scope of the laws, they must be reported to the National Assembly to submit a law to amend many laws.
Minister Dung emphasised that the Prime Minister has directed drastically to create growth space and increase competitiveness of businesses. Therefore, requesting the Ministry of Finance and relevant ministries exchange and discuss relevant issues, especially whether there are overlaps or not.
At the meeting, Deputy Minister of Finance Vu Thi Mai briefly presented Report 164/TTr-BTC dated September 16, 2020 submitted by the Ministry of Finance to the Prime Minister for approval of thescheme on reforming model of quality inspection and food safety inspection for imported goods.
Accordingly, Deputy Minister Vu Thi Mai fully presented the contents related to the objectives of the Scheme, the scope of the scheme, legal basis for the scheme development.
In which, in the process of developing the scheme, the Ministry of Finance chaired and worked with ministries managing relevant sectors, fields, units and organisations set up the scheme drafting team; established a working group to implement under the Government’s direction; conducted survey and consulted ministries, ministerial-level agencies, businesses, business associations and organisations.
Deputy Minister Mai said the scheme specifies seven key contents reformed and different from the current regulations. In which, one of the seven reformed contents that Customs is assigned as the focal point for quality inspection and food safety inspection for imported goods at the border gate.
Customs as a focal point is a major reform
According to the Deputy Minister, with these reform contents, the Ministry of Finance willreview current regulations and identify the basis to assign the Customs to conduct quality inspection andfood safety inspection or not.
The Deputy Minister of Finance said thataccording to current regulations, the Government assigns Customs to inspect goods subject to quality inspection, food safety inspection. Specifically, Point e, Clause 6, Article 2 of Decision 65/2015/QD-TTg, the Prime Minister assigns the General Department of Vietnam Customs to conduct analysis and inspection of standards and quality, quarantine, food hygiene and safety standards for exported and imported goods as required by ministries or the Prime Minister.
Article 33 of Decree No.08/2015/ND-CP dated January 21, 2015, the Government assigns Customs to inspect exported and imported goods subject to quality inspection and food safety inspection based on conditions and standards issued by State management agencies under the designation of ministries and ministerial-level agencies.
In Clause 16, Article 1 of Decree No. 59/2018/ND-CP dated April 20, 2018, the Government assignedcustoms to conduct inspection in accordance with the law on exported and imported goods subject to quality inspection andfood safety inspection based on national conditions and standards andnational technical regulations issued by State management agencies.
In Clause 1, Article 19 of Decree No.15/2018/ND-CP, the Government stipulates that customs is responsible for randomly selecting up to 5% of the total number of imported consignments subject to reduced inspection within oneyear to check food safety dossier in accordance with regulations.
Thus, the responsibility of the Customs according to the above regulations is an important basis for the Government to assign further tasks to Customs to be the focal point for quality inspection and food safety inspection for imported goods at the border.
In addition, according to Clause 5, Article 68 of the Law on Product and Goods Quality stipulates that based on socio-economic development and State management requirements in each period, the Government specifies State management responsibilities of ministries, that is not specified in Clause 2, Article 70.
In fact, Article 32 of the Government’s Decree No.132/2008/ND-CP dated December 31, 2008 stipulating the implementation ofseveral articles of the Law on Product and Goods Quality amending and supplementing in the Government’s Decree No.74/2018/ND-CP dated May 15, 2018), the Government provides additional regulations for four ministries, including: Ministry of Information and Communications; Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment; Ministry of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs; Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Sports and Tourism.
According to Deputy Minister Vu Thi Mai, based on current regulations, to ensure the legal basis for the Customs to be the focal point for goods quality inspection at border gates, pursuant to Clause 5, Article 68 of the Law on Product and Goods Quality, there needs to be a decree of the Government to supplement the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance for quality inspection for imported goods at border gates and the customs willbe the focal point for inspection at border gates.
In addition, when building the scheme, the drafting board has also reviewed the Law on Food Safety. In Clause 1, Article 19 of Decree No. 15/2018/ND-CP, the Government stipulates customs is responsible for randomly selecting up to 5% of the total number of imported shipments subject to reduced inspection within ayear to check the dossier; Decree 15 also provides the responsibilities of the customs.
To clarify the content of the Customs office as the focal point, the Deputy Minister said assigning the Customs as the focal point for inspection does not mean that other the specialised inspection agencies do not perform, but theyexist in parallel so that enterprises can select.
According to the Deputy Minister of Finance, the reform is to assign additional tasks for customs, and businesses can select the customs to conduct specialised inspection or the ministries to conduct specialised inspection. This is the first phase of the scheme, in the second phase, it will review, amend and supplement the Laws on Specialised management and related documents, report to competent authorities for applying best national practices and unifying the focal point for quality inspection and food safety inspection at the border as the customs.
The Deputy Minister said it is necessary to establish a Steering Committee for specialised inspection for import and export goods.
At the meeting, representatives of ministries and agencies continued to discuss the contents of the scheme. Customs newspaper will update information to readers.
By Ngoc Linh/Ngoc Loan
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