E-commerce platform imports billions of US dollars of Chinese goods
The Vietnamese Ministry of Finance believes that it is necessary to have regulations to control exports and imports transacted through e-commerce platforms.
The Ministry of Finance is collecting opinions on a draft proposal on a Decree regulating the management of export and import goods via e-commerce.
According to the customs authority, e-commerce has grown rapidly in Vietnam, especially during the epidemic period. Incomplete statistics from the customs office show that the amount of goods transacted via e-commerce through customs clearance procedures at the Express Customs Sub-Department, under the Hanoi Customs Department, were valued at more than US$1 billion in the first half of 2021, with $426 million in June, five times higher than that in January of $85 million.
Import data of a company in Hanoi specializing in fulfilling procedures for imported goods from China of popular e-commerce platforms like Shopee and Lazada (agent of these platforms in Vietnam) shows that the volume of imported goods from China is huge.
Particularly, in 2020, the import turnover was more than $551 million, with $1.3 million in the first quarter, nearly $31 million in the second quarter, more than $249 million in the third quarter, and over $269 million in the fourth quarter.
In 2021, the turnover of the first quarter was nearly $70 million, an increase of more than 50 times compared to the same period in 2020. It was more than $49 million in the second quarter, an increase of more than 1.6 times year on year.
However, according to the Ministry of Finance, state management agencies do not have a separate mechanism for management of imported and exported goods transacted through e-commerce. When carrying out customs procedures and procedures related to the management of ministries and sectors, buyers through e-commerce platforms in Vietnam face difficulties in receiving goods purchased from abroad.
In that situation, services to buy and transport these goods to Vietnam by unorthodox routes, especially across the land border, have appeared, causing difficulties for the fight of commercial fraud.
The Ministry of Finance believes that it is necessary to have regulations to control export and import goods transacted via e-commerce while still ensuring favorable conditions for buyers and sellers.
The draft decree also stipulates additional subjects who are owners of e-commerce trading floors and e-commerce websites like Amazon in the US, and Alibaba in China.
The draft does not stipulate the case of goods transactions via other e-commerce platforms such as Facebook and Zalo.
The draft also stipulates cases where imported goods are exempt from import tax. That includes goods with the value of VND1 million or less for each order; goods imported worth over VND1 million but total import tax payable is less than VND100,000. Each organization or individual purchasing goods is only entitled to tax exemption for the imported goods with no more than 1 order per day and no more than 4 orders per month.
The regulations aim to prevent abuse of the tax exemption policy.
Vietnam's tax authorities will give five more months for e-commerce platforms to set up data connectivity and begin sharing online sellers' information from January 2022.
Vietnam’s import and export activities in May were affected by the fourth Covid-19 wave, but they still increased generally.