Certain goods to be exported or imported are subject to customs inspection and specialized inspection before being cleared at customs stations. The customs inspection covers specifications, quantity, and volume. The specialized inspection is based on Vietnamese national technical regulations/standards except for pharmaceuticals and should be carried out by border inspection agencies or qualified certification bodies. Imported goods subject to specialized inspection include petroleum products, fertilizers, electronic and electrical products, food and beverages, feed ingredients, pesticides, seeds, veterinary drugs, machinery and equipment, steel, and pharmaceuticals. Importers should be aware that this list may be altered from time to time. Imported pharmaceuticals, for example, must go through random lab tests on sample batches performed by Vietnamese officials. Since January 1998, all imported drugs must have instructions on product use, dosage, and expiration dates printed in Vietnamese and inserted in packages.
Vietnam implemented the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement through the 2006 Customs Law and related regulations, which significantly improved its customs valuation process. Despite this positive step, U.S. exporters continue to have concerns about other aspects of the customs clearance process, citing inefficiency, unclear rules and regulations, red tape, and corruption as the most common issues. The U.S. continues to work with Vietnam to monitor implementation of the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement.
In 2014, the Customs Law No. 54/2014/QH13 was adopted to replace for the Law No. 29/2001/QH10 and Law No. 42/2005/QH11 on amendments. The revised law regulates the implementation of a national singular form in customs operation that applied risk management principles, new regulations on the establishment of the Customs Department, the authorization of the Customs Authorities to determine the origin of goods, specifying the conditions to be an agent of customs procedures, duration for customs authorities to do customs clearance, new regulations on customs declaration, and more.
The Vietnam National Assembly then promulgated two related laws in late 2014 and 2018. The Law No. 71/2014/QH13 dated November 26, 2014 provide amendments to Tax Laws. The Law No. 35/2018/QH14 dated November 20, 2018 stipulate amendments to some articles concerning planning of 37 laws.