Supporting Businesses to Overcome COVID-19

11:30:59 AM | 11/11/2021

In response to difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the General Department of Vietnam Customs submitted trade facilitation mechanisms and policies to the Ministry of Finance and the Government, especially specific policies on solutions to deal with obstacles in export and import of goods for pandemic prevention and control.

Given the complicated development of the COVID-19 pandemic, the customs sector has introduced many support policies for businesses and helped them overcome difficulties. Customs authorities are also leading governmental agencies in administrative reform, and always assist enterprises to carry out customs procedures; listen to their opinions and accept their recommendations for policy changes to create favorable conditions for them.

At a recent online conference on business support to overcome COVID-19 held by the General Department of Customs, attended by more than 100 connection points of 15 domestic industry associations and their member businesses, customs authorities informed the business community of business support results of dealing with difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The General Department requested relevant customs units to implement support solutions and provide the best assistance for businesses and individuals.

Especially for goods used for pandemic prevention and control, the General Department exempted physical inspection for COVID-19 vaccines; and directed customs offices at international airports to facilitate intraday customs clearance for imported vaccines, and accept electronic signatures on drug and medicinal ingredient test sheets filed by manufacturers to ensure the quality of items used for medical examination and treatment amid the raging pandemic outbreak.

Customs agencies in localities where the pandemic raged such as Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces made efforts to support local enterprises to deal with difficulties. Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department encouraged its employees to overcome hardships and work overtime to ensure the fastest clearance of goods. The department arranged employees to work in shifts and groups to work and live safely while ensuring COVID-19 pandemic prevention and 24/7 customs clearance; use scanners to inspect containerized goods, streamline customs procedures, and allow enterprises to submit original import documents late.

As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic showed signs of complications, Dong Nai Customs Department established and launched a steering committee to assist enterprises to deal with emerging difficulties and expedite customs clearance. It rationally arranged personnel to keep all work smooth, even if infections were detected.

In addition, the department carried out many support solutions such as allowing businesses to delay submission of original customs documents (submitting scanned copies first); halted inspections at enterprises; gave answers to questions and provided instructions online; consulted import procedures for items used for pandemic prevention; and recommended mobility permits for import-export staff.

Besides, to ease congestion at Cat Lai Port as guided by the General Department of Customs, Dong Nai Customs Department directed Tan Cang Long Binh and Tan Cang Nhon Trach to receive and clear goods for businesses.

Also at the conference, representatives of the General Department of Customs said that, to further support them to restore business operations amid complicated COVID-19 pandemic development, the General Department will open three online conferences on “Support for businesses to overcome COVID” from October 26, 2021 to November 15, 2021 to learn about their opinions, answer their questions and collect their recommendations. It will host job conferences with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and foreign-invested enterprises in Vietnam.

Online conferences in this context are highly appreciated by associations and the business community, showing support of the General Department of Customs in particular and the customs sector in general for business development.

By Ha Hien, Vietnam Business Forum