On March 6, 2020 the Ministry of Finance issued Circular 13/2020/TT-BTC (Circular 13), which amends and supplements Circular No. 13/2015/TT-BTC on inspection, monitoring, and suspension of customs procedures for exported and imported goods subject to requests for intellectual property rights protection; and control of counterfeit and IP-infringing goods. Circular 13 will officially enter into force on April 20, 2020.
Some of the noteworthy changes include the following:
- An application for inspection and monitoring can now be filed with the customs department electronically.
- If an application for inspection and monitoring is filed via an authorized representative of the rights holder, the power of attorney must be legalized, unless there is no such requirement as agreed under international treaties to which Vietnam is a contracting party. If the application dossier is incomplete, within five working days from the receipt date of the application, customs will send a written notice to the applicant. If a supplement to the application is not submitted within 10 working days from the date on which the written notice is sent, such application will be refused.
- If the applicant wants to extend the period of customs inspection and monitoring, they must submit an application for extension at least 20 days before the expiration date of the customs recordal period.
- The rights holder or its authorized representative is now entitled to submit an application for suspension of customs procedures for exported and imported goods, even if the General Department of Customs has not yet accepted an application for inspection and monitoring. The application must include: (i) an application dossier for inspection and monitoring, (ii) a written form of suspension, (iii) a guarantee certificate of a credit institution or guarantee amount, and (iv) documents evidencing the payment of customs fees in line with the suspension of customs procedures.
- Circular 13 provides more specific details on the content for inspection of exported and imported goods that are subject to requests for IP protection, both for the customs dossier inspection and the inspection of actual goods. For example, when inspecting goods, customs authorities shall examine, among other things, the name of the goods, the brand as displayed/printed on the products bearing the name of the goods, the brand as declared, documents of the customs dossier, and any warning information to determine their conformability.
- The customs control force will now conduct assessment, the taking of testimony, and the gathering and verification of evidence to clearly identify violations and the roles and positions of each organization or individual; the value of infringing goods; and objective and subjective factors, motives, causes, consequences, and aggravating and extenuating circumstances. Based on the findings, the customs control force will determine whether the evidence points toward administrative or criminal handling.
For more information on the new customs procedures, please contact us at [email protected].