Finance Ministry to tighten control of cross-border retail activities

As online commerce has boomed, agencies fear that it will be difficult to prevent banned goods, goods restricted for import and export, and origin fraud.

finance ministry to tighten control of cross-border retail activities hinh 0
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has developed a draft plan on e-commerce management for imports and exports in the context of an average growth rate of 25-30 percent per annum of the e-commerce sector. Vietnam’s e-commerce is predicted to rank third in Southeast Asia by 2025.

It is easy not only for businesses, but for individuals to make trade transactions across borders. One just needs to have bank account and international payment card to buy any product on Amazon or Alibaba at reasonable cost and get delivery in 5-15 days.

Shoppers can also place orders directly abroad on domestic e-commerce sites such as Lazada and Shopee through joint services provided by these sites.

MOF, while believing that cross-border e-commerce development is inevitable, said the State needs to set regulations to manage the activities.

In fact, many regulations related to the issue are in the E-commerce Transaction Law, the Decree No 52 on e-commerce, Decree 72 on internet and information management, Cyber Security Law and Tax Management Law. However, analysts say the laws are not enough.

When cross-border e-commerce develops strongly, state management agencies have to face many problems, such as the lack of information and wrong declaration which makes it difficult to discover and prevent banned goods, goods restricted for import/export, and smuggled goods. It is also difficult to fight origin fraud to prevent tax evasion.

Le Hai Binh, deputy chair of the Vietnam E-commerce Association (Vecom), said that e-commerce takes full advantage of electronic infrastructure to make transactions, while the other issues related to goods quality, tax and customs clearance are implemented with current laws.

As such, Binh believes that there is no need to build a separate management plan, but it is necessary to observe existing regulations.

He went on to say that it is unfair to conclude that e-commerce puts difficulties on state management and causes loss of revenue from tax collection. Tax fraud and low-quality exports/imports can be found in traditional trade, not only in e-commerce.

“In fact, the goods on e-commerce sites are easier to control than goods carried to Vietnam by individuals for sale in the domestic market,” he said.

Nguyen Thi Cuc, chair of the Vietnam Tax Consultancy Association, noted that even if there are sufficient regulations, the management will fail if agencies donm not join forces with each other. Therefore, it is necessary to specify the agency that presides over management.


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