The Ministry of Finance released the draft Decree Regulating the Management of Imports and Exports Transacted via E-commerce (“Draft Decree“) in August 2021. The Draft Decree introduces dedicated customs procedures for e-commerce transacted goods, including provisions on advance information submissions via a specialized customs electronic data processing system; exemptions from specialized management and inspection and from import tax; categorization of goods; and customs procedures for returned goods.
The Draft Decree includes the following noteworthy defined terms:1
- Transaction via e-commerce is an import or export activity conducted online via an e-commerce platform or website.
- E-commerce website is an electronic information page set up by domestic and foreign organizations or individuals to serve part or the whole of their process of buying and selling imports or exports, from displaying and introducing goods to concluding contracts, making payment and providing after-sales services.
- E-commerce platform is an e-commerce website permitting domestic and foreign organizations and individuals that are not the website owner to conduct the whole or part of the process of buying and selling imports and exports on that website. E-commerce platform, as referred to in this Draft Decree, does not include online securities trading websites and e-commerce websites providing services.
- Enterprises transporting imports or exports transacted via e-commerce are enterprises hired by e-commerce platforms or e-commerce websites to transport imports or exports.
Customs electronic data processing system
The Draft Decree provides for the use of a specialized customs electronic data processing system to carry out customs procedures, including advanced submission of information on the order, payment and shipment. Information is submitted to the system:
- for exports and goods stored in bonded warehouses right after the order is made and before making the customs declaration
- for imports before the imports are loaded onto the transportation vehicle for exit2
The below table identifies the parties responsible for information submission:3
|Order Information||Payment Information||Shipment Information|
|Exports and Goods in Bonded Warehouses||Owners of e-commerce platforms, websites or transport businesses authorized by the owners of the e-commerce enterprise||Payment service providers or goods transport enterprises authorized by the payment service providers||Goods transport enterprises or agents of goods transport enterprises in Vietnam|
|Imports||Owners of e-commerce platforms or transport businesses authorized by the owners of the e-commerce platform|
Exemption from specialized management and inspection
The Draft Decree provides for an exemption from specialized management and inspection for one order/day and no more than four orders/month, applicable to imports transacted via e-commerce with a customs value of VND 1 million4 or less for each item in the order, or less than VND 5 million5 for goods imported as a single item.
This exemption, however, does not apply to goods: subject to quarantine; falling under the list to be managed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; where the line ministries have issued warnings about food safety or disease spread that causes harm to health, human life, and the environment; that affect social morality, fine customs and traditions; detrimental to the economy or to national security; or for which there is a document notifying the suspension of the exemption of specialized inspection before customs clearance.6
Exemption from import tax
The Draft Decree provides for an exemption from import tax for one order/day and no more than four orders/month, applicable to either of the following:
- imports in each order transacted via e-commerce with a customs value of VND 1 million7 or less
- imports in each order transacted via e-commerce with a customs value of over VND 1 million8 but with a total payable import tax amount of less than VND 100,000.9
Aside from the above exemption, existing policies on export tax, import tax, additional import tax (e.g., anti-dumping tax, anti-subsidy tax, safeguard tax), excise tax, environmental protection tax, and value-added tax applicable to imports or exports transacted via e-commerce are not modified by this Draft Decree.
Categorization of goods and accompanying customs procedures
Goods transacted via e-commerce will be categorized into Group 1 Goods and Group 2 Goods for customs purposes.
- For exports: Categorization will be based upon whether or not they are subject to specialized inspection, with Group 1 Goods not subject to specialized management and inspection and Group 2 Goods subject to specialized management and inspection.10
- For imports: Categorization will be based upon the customs value of goods and exemption from licensing and specialized inspection, with Group 1 Goods valued at VND 1 million11 or less and exempt from licensing and specialized inspection, and Group 2 Goods being those that do not qualify as Group 1 Goods.12
|Group 1||Group 2|
|Exports||Not subject to specialized management and inspection||Goods subject to specialized management and inspection|
|Imports||Goods with a customs value of VND 1 million13 or less and exempt from licensing and specialized inspection||All imports that do not qualify as Group 1 Goods|
Customs procedures for returned goods
The Draft Decree defines returned goods as goods with completed or incomplete import procedures, where the buyer refuses to receive the goods or the goods are ineligible for import.14 Documents required include the customs declaration and documents proving the goods owner’s refusal to receive the goods or the competent authority’s decision on forced re-export.15The Draft Decree is currently open for public comments here.
1 Draft Decree Regulating the Management of Imports and Exports Transacted via E-commerce, Art. 3.
2 Arts. 11, 12, 13; note that there is an exception for the time of providing payment information in the case where the payment for the goods is made when the buyer receives the goods. Additionally, shipping information is not mandatory for goods stored at bonded warehouses in Vietnam.
3 Arts. 11, 12, 13.
4 Approximately USD 44.
5 Approximately USD 218.
6 Art. 14.
7 Approximately USD 44.
8 Approximately USD 44.
9 Art. 15; VND 100,000 is equal to approximately USD 4.35.
10 Art. 20.
11 Approximately USD 44.
12 Art. 26.
13 Approximately USD 44.
14 Art. 31.