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S.Korea firms say customs rules still bothersome

South Korean business executives in a dialogue on June 13 with the HCMC Customs Department complained the prevailing customs regulations are difficult to comply with and requested such rules be further streamlined.

Nguyen Manh Hao of Samsung Electronics said the current rules require the company to declare purposes of using materials in the customs form but this is an impossible mission since the company uses up to 50,000 different types of material in its production process. Hao said the company cannot give exact calculations for each purpose, i.e. for export or for domestic sale.

He therefore suggested that all materials imported by Samsung be first assumed as for export processing. By the end of each month, depending on domestic sales, the company would make clear the volume of material used to make goods for local consumption.

Another enterprise mirrored another problem when complying with the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA). Under this FTA, commodities subject to preferential tariffs must be transported direct between the two countries but given the absence of direct shipping services between the two countries, commodities often come to Vietnam through a third country.

When customs officers scrutinize shipping invoices and find out that shipments are not transported direct from Korea to Vietnam, they will deny preferential tariffs for importers, the representative said.

In addition, some companies complained about the inconsistent interpretation of regulations in different parts of Vietnam.

Speaking at the dialogue, Hoang Viet Cuong, deputy director of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, said all complaints lodged by enterprises in the dialogue would be forwarded to the General Department and the Ministry of Finance for resolution.

Kim Heung Soo, chairman of the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KOCHAM) for the southern and central regions in Vietnam, said at the meeting that Korean firms are much upbeat about the business climate in Vietnam. In HCMC, there are over 1,000 active Korean enterprises.

A survey conducted by KOCHAM shows 46.1% of Korean companies say they will expand business in Vietnam, while 71% say they are happy with their business performance in Vietnam.

June 14, 2017

Source: Saigon Times

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