At present, import and export of goods has become a common activity for enterprises engaged in production and trading of goods. In particular, some items, especially goods imported into Vietnam, are cleared for trading only after having undergone specialized inspection. The lack of a separate and proper system of documentation for this has caused many difficulties for businesses. What are the regulations on specialized inspection for import and export goods that should be noted? The following article will provide an overview of this.

1. Definition of specialized inspection concept

Currently, there is no document specifically defining specialized inspection concept

However, the concept of goods subject to specialized inspection is stated in Article 35 of the ‘Law on Customs (2014)’ and specified in Clause 5, Article 3 of ‘Decree No. 08/2015/ND-CP’ of the Government detailing the implementation of a number of articles of the Law on Customs (hereinafter referred to as Decree 08/2015/ND-CP for short) in the following way:

Export and import goods subject to specialized inspection are exported or imported goods subject to inspection for quality, health, culture, animal quarantine, plant quarantine, and food safety according to provisions of law”.

From this definition, it can be understood that specialized inspection includes collection  of samples by a competent authority to check whether such goods meet the requirements or technical standards as prescribed by the specialized industry or not.

Regarding documents regulating specialized inspection, previously, there was Decision No. 50/2006/QD-TTg stipulating the list of products and goods subject to quality inspection. This document has expired and has been annulled by Decision No. 37/2017/QD-TTg dated 17 August 2017. Currently, there is no replacement for the annulled document. Therefore, in order to know if imported and exported goods are subject to specialized inspection, enterprises need to look up goods intended for import and export in the list of goods notified by specialized management ministries. Enterprises can refer to some of the following documents:

  • Decision No. 3810/QD-BKHCN (dated 18th December 2019) of the Ministry of Science and Technology;
  • Decision 1182/QD-BCT (dated 6th April 2021) of the Ministry of Industry and Trade;
  • Circular No. 11/2020/TT-BTTTT (dated 14th May 2020) of the Ministry of Information and Communications;
  • Circular No. 15/2018/TT-BNNPTNT (dated 29th October 2018) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

2. Exemption from specialized inspection

By looking at the abovementioned regulations, we see that the range of goods subject to specialized inspection is quite wide. However, there are still few exemptions from specialized inspection specified in Decree No. 15/2018/ND-CP, Decree No. 74/2018/ND-CP, Decree No. 85/2019/ND -CP, consolidated and supplemented in Decision No. 38/QD-TTg (dated 12th January 2021 ). Accordingly, cases exempt from quality inspection and food safety inspection include:

  • The movable assets of organizations and individuals within the tax-free quota, gifts and gifts within the import duty-free quota in accordance with tax laws.
  • Goods imported in tax-free quantities as prescribed by law, serving the the work and daily life of foreign individuals/organizations who are entitled to diplomatic privileges and immunities.
  • Goods in transit, border-gate transfer, transshipment, and temporary imported goods sent to bonded warehouses for further export.
  • Samples of goods for advertising that have no use value, or samples for testing or research in quantities suitable for testing or research purposes, certified by relevant organizations or individuals.
  • Goods temporarily imported for display at fairs and exhibitions.
  • Goods temporarily imported for sale at duty-free shops.
  • Goods exchanged by border residents within the tax-free quota.
  • Imported goods sent via postal or express delivery services have a value which is exempt from tax according to the provisions of tax laws.
  • Goods imported on the spot.
  • Goods imported for repair or recycling.
  • Specialized imports for security and defense purposes.
  • Goods that have been granted a certificate of receipt for registration of product announcement (for goods subject to food safety inspection).
  • Goods which are products, raw materials and components imported for the production or processing of goods for export.
  • Goods which are products, raw materials and components imported to directly serve the production of the importer.
  • Imported goods which are single goods for warranty or replacement, and goods that are part of a synchronous equipment line.
  • Goods imported from manufacturers that have been inspected at the source by a responsible Vietnamese agency and announced by line ministries from time to time.
  • Goods which are manufactured by advanced technology and originate from countries and territories with high quality standards as shown by quality labels (for example, goods are labeled CE, KC, FDA) published by appropriate ministries from time to time.
  • Goods imported to serve urgent requirements under the direction of the Government or the Prime Minister.
  • Other imported goods as prescribed by specialized laws (if any).

Currently, with the rapid development of science and technology, a commodity that integrates with many features leads to having to comply with specialized management of many different agencies. An example of this is the LED TV. This is an electric device subject to energy efficiency management according to Decision 1182/QD-BCT of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

In addition, due to the integration of Wi-Fi and DVB-T2 transceiver functions, it also falls under the specialized management of the Ministry of Information and Communications according to Circular No. 11/2020/TT-BTTTT. Thus, for this product to be cleared, it may have to go through many different procedures, which take a lot of time and costs for businesses.

With the project approved in Decision No. 38/QD-TTg, specialized inspection activities are expected to be comprehensively reformed. New regulations on specialized inspection activities for imported goods are expected to be brought for speeding up procedures for quality inspection and food safety inspection. This reduces contact points between enterprises and agencies and organizations, thereby cutting costs required for customs clearance.

The article is based on laws applicable at the time noted as above and may no longer be appropriate at the time the reader approaches this article as the applicable laws and the specific cases that the reader may wish to apply may have changed. Therefore, the article is for referencing only.


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