The General Department of Vietnam Customs launched Tuesday a single window mechanism intended to help businesses facilitate customs clearance and integrated it with a similar system among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The Vietnam National Single Window was officially activated and connected to the ASEAN Single Window as Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung hit the symbolic button during a ceremony in Hanoi.
The Vietnamese Single Window allows businesses to complete required clearance procedures online without submitting any written documents, which will thus shorten the time to pass customs by around 80 percent.
“While it used to take businesses as many as 24 days to clear customs for imports of construction vehicles, the new mechanism cuts the time to only four to five days,” Deputy Minister of Finance Do Hoang Anh Tuan said.
The ASEAN Single Window (ASW), in the meantime, is an initiative that connects and integrates National Single Windows of the bloc’s member states, including such Southeast Asian countries as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, according to the ASEAN Single Window Portal.
“ASW implementation ensures compatibility of the National Single Windows of member states with international open communication standards while also ensuring that each of those [countries] can then exchange data securely and reliably with any trading partners that use international open standards,” it explains.
The main goals of the initiative are to achieve simpler and faster processing time, and a more transparent way of doing business, whereas the ASW objective is to expedite cargo clearance within the context of increased economic integration in ASEAN.
The Tuesday ceremony saw Vietnam join Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand as the first four countries to make the integration with the ASEAN Single Window.
Singapore is expected to join the four next month and the complete ten-country integration is hoped to be in place by the end of this year.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Tuesday also said it welcomes the launch of the Vietnam National Single Window and its integration with the ASW.
The USAID and the U.S. Mission to ASEAN have closely worked with regional countries over the last eight years to make the ASEAN Single Window for customs clearance a reality, it said in a press release.
“Vietnam deserves congratulations for a successful effort to implement the National Single Window,” USAID Vietnam Mission Director Joakim Parker said, adding the launch has enabled Vietnam’s regional economic integration to reach another milestone.
“This system is expected to accelerate the pace of customs clearance, thereby improving trade effectiveness and competitiveness of Vietnam and other ASEAN state members.”