Draft decree on customs management of cross-border e-commerce activities

Aiming to enhance the management and taxation of e-commerce transactions, the Ministry of Finance has circulated a draft decree for comment. The intention is for the draft decree to be ratified by the end of 2019.

The draft decree includes in its scope organizations which operate e-commerce platforms and websites (“e-commerce operators”), transporters of the goods, customs brokers, as well as the exporters and importers. An e-commerce activity management system will be created by the General Department of Customs (GDC). Export and import declarations will be processed 24/7 via this system and the system will inter-connect and exchange information with the National Single Window and other existing management systems of the GDC.

Customs dossiers for goods traded under e-commerce will be simpler compared with those for goods traded under traditional commercial channels. A customs declaration and information relating to the e-commerce order would be uploaded onto the Management System and would generally suffice for clearance purposes. Customs duties will be settled in a similar way (e.g. bank transfer) as for traditional export/import of goods. The customs value of goods will be the prices stated in the electronic commercial invoices declared by the customs declarants, plus international freight charge and insurance premium, if any. Goods exempted from specialized inspection and those whose value does not exceed VND 1 million will be free from quality and food safety inspection.

The decree also includes a list of goods with exempted from inspection even if their value exceeds VND 1 million, but limited to one product per shipment and a maximum 3 times per year.

While the draft focusses more on customs procedures, the better control and collection of information on e-commerce transactions that it affords may well be used to facilitate the broader taxation of e-commerce envisaged in the new Law on Tax Administration – see our NewsBrief dated 12 July 2019 in this regard.

The draft decree can be found on the Ministry of Finance’s website: www.mof.gov.vn

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