21 February 2022

New Circular on Customs Procedures: A Solution to the Congestion of Goods during Customs Clearance in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The widespread of COVID-19 pandemic along with the appearance of several new variants has increased the need for goods, medicine, and medical equipment. Recognising the importance of this need, on 24 December 2021, the Ministry of Finance issued Circular 121/2021/TT-BTC (“Circular 121”) on customs procedures for imported goods serving COVID-19 prevention and control.

Several salient provisions of Circular 121 are:

Scope of the Circular

Under Article 1 of Circular 121, provisions under this Circular shall regulate customs procedures for imported aid from foreign donors; gifts from abroad or goods imported by domestic organisations and individuals to support, sponsor or donate to the Government, the Ministry of Health, the People’s Committees of the provinces, cities, or other relevant competent State authority to serve urgent requirements for epidemic prevention and control, treatment and medical examination in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Procedures applicable to imported aid and gifts for the COVID-19 prevention and control

Customs procedures applicable to imported aid and gifts for the COVID-19 prevention and control prescribed in Article 50 of the Law on Customs. It is worth mentioning that with procedures provided under Article 50 of the Law on Customs, customs declarants may use incomplete customs declarations or documentary evidence as an alternative for carrying out customs formalities which would save a decent amount of time.

Documents of a customs dossier

Under Article 3 of Circular 121, a customs dossier for aid and gifts for the COVID-19 prevention and control shall include:

  • the incomplete import declaration;
  • a written confirmation of the state competent authority;
  • an import license if the goods require the import license as prescribed in the list;
  • a written notice of inspection area or inspection result of professional inspection agencies in case goods are on the list of goods that require professional inspection;
  • declaration of aid certified by the Finance agency applicable to goods provided as an aid for Vietnam by foreign organisations or individuals according to the law on management and use of grants;

customs declarants can submit the complete customs declarations and relevant documents within 30 days from the day on which the incomplete customs declarations are registered or documentary evidence in substitution of customs declarations is submitted.

Hopefully with Circular 121, aid and gifts for the COVID-19 prevention and control would be accessed easier and contribute to mitigating the negative impact and the widespread of the pandemic.

If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact Hoang Tran of ZICO Law Vietnam (a member of ZICO Law).


This alert is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.


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