9 June 2017
Import/Export Procedures of Vietnam
Since moving from a planned economy in the late 1980s, Vietnam has taken steps to open its borders to international trade and investment, obtaining membership to ASEAN (1995), the WTO (2007) and China-ASEAN FTA (2010) as well as negotiating a number of FTAs.
- Regional FTAs signed between ASEAN and six countries individually, including China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
- Bilateral FTAs with Japan, South Korea, Chile and the EU.
- FTA talks with the EU were completed in 2016 - the FTA is pending ratification with implementation expected in 2018.
Vietnam is the largest export market of Hong Kong in ASEAN, and the sixth largest globally. Major items exported to Vietnam include telecom equipment, electronic parts and semiconductors. For a full analysis on trade policy see Vietnam’s Market Profile on HKTDC website.
Imports and exports to Vietnam are regulated by Law on Customs (2015), and other circulars and decrees (available on the website of Vietnam Customs).
A customs import declaration must be submitted in advance or within 30 days of arrival, and can be submitted on the electronic data processing system, “Vietnam Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System/Vietnam Customs Information System” (VNACCS/VCIS). Further supporting documents may also be required and include commercial invoice, inspection reports, value declarations and certificate of origin. These can also be submitted through VNACCS/VCIS.
Businesses need to supply similar supporting documents (e.g. customs export declaration form, invoice, bill of lading and certificate of origin).
Some items cannot be imported or exported and Decree No.187/2013/ND-CP (Annex 1) provides the most up-to-date guidance on import and export restrictions. Items prohibited include military weapons, explosive materials, firecrackers, second-hand consumer goods, right-hand drive motor vehicles and narcotics.
Tariff Classification and Import/Export Duties
Vietnam adopts the Harmonised Commodity (HS) System and most goods imported/exported are subject to import/export duties. Exceptions include goods in transit, goods exported abroad from a non-tariff zone, goods imported from foreign countries into non-tariff areas for use in non-tariff areas only, and goods passing from one non-tariff zone to another. In addition to import/export duties, some goods may be liable for tax (e.g. VAT).
The rates applicable are dependent on the origin of the goods (certificate of origin will need to be presented) and there are three categories:
- Preferential rates – applicable if the country has a Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status with Vietnam
- Special preferential rates – applicable if there is a special preferential trade arrangement (e.g. ASEAN member states)
- Ordinary rates – for any other country
The rates applicable can be identified on the tariff database on the website of Vietnam Customs, and import duties must be paid before receipt of goods.
Export duties (ranging from 0% to 45%) are only charged on a few items, mainly natural resources such as minerals, forest products, and scrap metal. Export duties must be paid within 30 days of registration of customs declarations.
Product Standards and Labelling Requirements
To ensure successful customs clearance, product labelling laws are of critical importance. Vietnam has its own sets of standards and technical regulations (including labelling), which are in line with international rules. Product labelling is stipulated in Decree No. 43/2017/ND-CP (replacing Decree No. 89/2006/ND-CP), which is to take effect from June 2017. The Decree is available on the website of Vietnam Chemicals Agency (Vietnamese only).
- Regulatory Environment
- Establishing a Presence
- Intellectual Property Protection
- Staff Recruitment
- Tax Considerations
- Import/Export Procedures
- Further Information