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Setting a customs service business in Vietnam

Setting up a customs service business in Vietnam requires navigating a regulatory regime. Nowadays, with the continuous development of the commodity economy, the scope of exchange and trade of goods does not only take place in an area but also takes place globally. To circulate goods smoothly, customs play an extremely important role. For that reason, many customs service businesses have been established to solve this problem. In the article below, Viet An Law Firm will provide clients with some information about setting a customs service business in Vietnam.

Setting a customs service business in Vietnam

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    Legal basis

    • Vietnam’s WTO Commitment Schedule;
    • Law on Enterprise 2020;
    • Law on Investment 2020;
    • Law on Customs 2014, as amended and supplemented in 2018 and 2022;
    • Decree 01/2021/ND-CP on business registration;
    • Decree 31/2021/ND-CP detailing the Law on Investment;
    • Circular 12/2015/TT-BTC detailing the procedures for issuance of the certificate of training in customs declaration; issuance and revocation of customs broker number; procedures for recognition and operation of customs brokerage agents, as amended and supplemented by Circular 22/2019/TT-BTC, Circular 79/2022/TT-BTC.

    What is the customs service business?

    According to Clause 23 Article 3 of Law on Customs 2014, customs formalities mean activities to be carried out by customs declarants and customs officials for goods and vehicles. In particular, customs agents are one of the individuals identified as customs declarants.

    It can be understood that a customs service business is the activity of a customs broker, within the scope of authorization mentioned in the contract signed with the owner of exported goods and imported goods, representing the goods owner to fulfill entirely or partially the customs declarant’s obligations.

    Requirements for the customs service business

    Requirements for market access to foreign investors

    According to the trade agreements that Vietnam is a member of, Vietnam commits to opening doors for foreign investors to invest in customs agents in the form of establishing joint companies with Vietnam investors without limiting their ratio in the joint venture.

    Requirements according to the Law on Customs

    The customs service business is a conditional business line according to Appendix IV of Law on Investment 2020. According to Article 20 of Law on Customs 2014, requirements for being a customs broker include:

    • There is an Enterprise Registration Certificate or an Enterprise Registration Certificate, in which the operation of good forwarding or customs agents is stated;
    • There are employees in charge of customs brokerage services: The employees have to obtain a certificate of training in customs declaration and a customs employee’s number granted by a customs authority;
    • There is an information technology infrastructure satisfying the requirements for making e-customs declarations and other requirements as prescribed.

    Procedures for setting up a customs service business

    Customs service businesses operate in the form of customs agents. When setting up a customs service business, the following procedures shall be noted:

    Procedures to set a customs service business

    Step 1: Apply for an Investment Registration Certificate

    In case a foreign investor establishes a service business that provides tax service, it is necessary to carry out procedures to apply for an Investment Registration Certificate before applying for an Enterprise Registration Certificate.

    This procedure is prescribed in Law on Investment 2020 and specifically guided in Decree 31/2021/ND-CP. Specifically:

    • Before carrying out the procedures for issuing the Investment Registration Certificate, the investor shall make an online declaration of information about the investment project on the National Investment Information System.
    • Within 15 days from the date of online application declaration, the investor shall submit an application dossier for issuance of the Investment Registration Certificate to the Investment Registration Authority.
    • Investment Registration Authority shall issue an Investment Registration Certificate for investors within 15 days of receiving valid documents.

    Step 2: Apply for an Enterprise Registration Certificate

    Customs service businesses can be established under one of the types of enterprises according to Law on Enterprise 2020.

    To be legally established, it is necessary to carry out procedures to apply for an Enterprise Registration Certificate. This procedure is guided in  Law on Enterprise 2020 and Decree 01/2021/ND-CP, specifically as follows:

    • The founder or attorney applies the dossier to the Business Registration Department of the Department of Planning and Investment where the company is headquartered.
    • After receiving an application dossier for enterprise registration, the Business Registration Department shall give a confirmation slip to the person who applied and check the legitimacy of the dossier.
    • The Business Registration Department shall issue the Enterprise Registration Certificate on the National Enterprise Registration Database within 03 working days from the receipt of the satisfactory application dossier.
    • After an enterprise is granted the Enterprise Registration Certificate, it shall announce it on the National Enterprise Registration Portal within 30 days.

    Procedures to request recognition of customs broker

    This procedure is guided in Chapter 3 of Circular 12/2015/TT-BTC, as amended and supplemented by Circular 22/2019/TT-BTC, Circular 79/2022/TT-BTC. Specifically:

    Authority to recognize customs customs broker

    According to Clause 3 Article 20 Law on Customs 2014, the Director General Department of Customs decides the recognition of customs agents.

    Dossier components

    The dossier to request recognition of the customs broker includes:

    • A document of eligibility for operation as a customs broker;
    • An application for a customs broker’s number.

    Procedure

    Step 1: Apply the dossier

    After preparing the dossier, the customs service business that meets the requirements shall make an application dossier for recognition of the customs broker and send it to the General Department of Customs.

    Step 2: The competent authority receives and processes the dossier

    • Within 05 working days from the receipt of the application dossier, the Director General Department of Customs shall issue a Decision on the recognition of the customs broker, issue the customs broker’s number according to the regulations, and update information on the Portal of the General Department of Customs.
    • If the application dossier is rejected, a response shall be sent to the enterprise.

    Some notices for business

    • Any customs agents wanting to change name or address shall send an application dispatch enclosed with the Enterprise Registration Certificate or the Investment Registration Certificate to the General Department of Customs for modification of the Decision on recognition of customs agents and shall update the information to the Portal of the General Department of Customs.
    • The customs service business (the legal representative or the legal representative’s attorney according to the regulations) has to sign an agency agreement with the goods owner.
    • The customs broker shall declare and carry out customs procedures for exported goods, and imported goods of the goods owner only when the owner of the good notifies the customs authority of the list of customs agents permitted to carry out customs procedures of exported goods, and imported goods of the owner.

    Business line code when setting a customs service business in Vietnam

    5210: Warehousing and storage

    52102: Warehouses and storage of goods in refrigerated warehouses (except bonded warehouses)

    This sub-class includes the operation of storage facilities for goods at warehouses (except bonded warehouses) fitted with refrigerated equipment for storage, usually fresh food (except the operation of bonded warehouses).

    5222: Service activities incidental to water transportation

    5223: Service activities incidental to air transportation

    5229: Other service activities incidental to road transportation

    This class includes:

    • Forwarding of freight;
    • Logistics activities;
    • Issue and procurement of transport documents and waybills;
    • Activities of customs agents;
    • Activities of sea freight forwarders and air cargo agents;
    • Brokerage for ship and aircraft space;
    • Other related activities such as temporary crating for the sole purpose of protecting the goods during transit, uncrating, sampling, and weighing of goods.

    52291: Shipping agency/freight forwarding services

    This class includes: The following support activities are entrusted by shipowners.

    • Facilitating procedures for ships to enter/ leave harbors; preparation of tugboats, pilotage, and piers for handling freight, and picking up passengers on board;
    • Notifying related parties of information related to vessels, goods, and passengers, preparing documents on freight/passengers, delivery to consignees; facilitating customs procedures related to vessels and handling freight and picking up passengers on board;
    • Collecting charges, indemnities, and other amounts; giving supply to vessels at harbors;
    • Signing charter party, facilitating procedures for receipt of vessels and seafarers; signing transport contract, handling freight contract;
    • Carry out procedures related to maritime disputes and other tasks as authorized;
    • Tasks for transportation, logistics activities, and transport of passengers and baggage under transport contract by sea (including multimodal transport contract);
    • Renting or entrusted renting of sea transport, stevedoring vehicles, storage, terminal facilities, piers, and other specialized equipment;
    • Container agents;
    • Handling of other tasks under authorization.

    52292: Logistics

    Planning, designing, and supporting operations of transportation, warehousing, and distribution.

    52299: Other transportation support activities not elsewhere classified

    • Brokerage for renting ships, airplanes, and land transport vehicles;
    • Activities of air cargo agents;
    • Activities of customs agents;

    Some customs service business in Vietnam

    No Name Address Phone number
    1 Viet Resources Developing and Construction Company Limited Number 11A, Street 2.2, Gamuda Gardens Urban Area, Tran Phu Ward, Hoang Mai District, Hanoi City. 0422662200
    2 Won Logistics Viet Nam Company Limited Number 5- 259/55/45 Phu Dien Street, Phu Dien Ward, Bac Tu Liem District, Hanoi City 0901850268
    3 Friday Service Trading Company Limited Number 92-94-96-98-100/2 Nguyen Cong Tru, Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 0387821747
    4 Hawkston Logistics Company Limited 111A + 111A-1 Nguyen Phi Khanh, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 0317440881
    5 ICL Viet Nam Joint Stock Company Pho Yen Village, Tien Phong Commune, Me Linh District, Hanoi City 0978097899

    Clients who have related questions or need legal support regarding setting a customs service business in Vietnam, please contact Viet An Law Firm for the best support!

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