Question and Answer

    • A trade repository is a site where all the rules and regulations pertaining to cross border trade in Goods are available to the public, free of charge. The objective of a Trade Repository is to provide all the information a company or trader needs to comply with to engage in the cross-border trade.

      The Viet Nam National Trade Repository (VNTR) contains all the rules and regulations for cross-border trade in Goods required under the law of the Government of Viet Nam.

    • The VNTR is managed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) of the government of Viet Nam. They may be contacted by email, or by directly submitting a question through this website. The contact details for the MoIT are available on the Contact & Resources section of the website, which is visible at the bottom of each website page.

    • Yes. The declaration and clearance of Goods are subject to Customs controls and procedures. As such, they form a major component of the VNTR website.  You will be able to find most Customs Rules and Regulations pertaining to the clearance of Goods using the search function. This includes Rules of Origin, that will help you decide if your goods qualify for a variety of preferential tariffs into Viet Nam. The VNTR also contains links to the General Department of Viet Nam Customs, if more detailed instructions are required.

    • Customs Clearance is the formal processes and procedures that must be followed for a Trader to obtain the legal release of goods imported/exported to/from Viet Nam. A formal, prescribed legal document must be submitted to the General Department of Viet Nam Customs for both imports and exports. This is known as the Customs Declaration. Different versions of the Declaration exist for import and exports, and sub-types exist for specific kinds of import or export.  These different types of Declaration are known as Customs Regimes. Consult the VNTR or the General Department of Viet Nam Customs for further details. The VNTR can help you with your clearance process by advising what rules and regulations you must follow, and what licenses, permits, certificates and/or other documents will be required, before, during and after the import or export process.

    • There are many types of Customs Regimes for goods entering or transiting across Viet Nam. All goods under these different regimes fall into different Import Regime types, depending on legal circumstances. In all cases, goods may also be subject to licenses, permits and certificates, required to fulfil Customs and other border functions.  Examples of these include: i) certificates to ensure goods are free of disease and pests; ii) qualify for preferential duty or tax rates; or iii) are genuine products, etc.

      The following are just some of the General Department of Viet Nam Customs Export, Import and Transit Regimes:

      • Import for Home Consumption: ordinary import for use or sale by a trader.
      • Bonded Warehouse: goods are entered into a specially designated warehouse, where taxes and tariffs are deferred until the goods are submitted to a second Customs Regime.
      • Transit: goods enter Viet Nam and then exit Viet Nam in the precisely the same state and condition they entered, destined for another destination.
      • Special Economic Zone Use: goods are entered under a special regime, used in a manufacturing process and then the products re-exported.
      • Export.
      • Entered under a free trade agreement.

      These are just a few of the Customs import and transit regimes – see the General Department of Viet Nam Customs for further details.

    • You must clear your goods (i.e. submit your Declaration) at the nearest Customs office to the Port of Entry, including Airports and Mail/Package/Courier delivery centers at those locations.

    • Different types of goods declaration require different document types, but some document types are compulsory for all importations, exportations, and transits. The list below is divided in to compulsory documents, and those that may be required depending on specific circumstances.

      Compulsory Documents:

      • Customs Declaration;
      • Bill of Lading: Bills of Lading include sub-Bills of lading for shipping; and Airway Bills, Master Airway Bills and House Airway bills for airfreight. Courier packets may require a Bill of Lading, be part of a Master Airway Bill or a House Airway or Courier Bill of Lading, depending on how the packages were consolidated;
      • Invoices and any sub-invoice;
      • Payment agreements and advice;
      • Cargo Manifest (for all shipment modes).

      Other types of documents that may be required depending on circumstances include, but are not limited to:

      • Pro-forma invoice;
      • Pre-Inspection Certificate;
      • Certificate of Origin;
      • Licenses, Permits and other Certificates (for example conformance to a standard or quality), Quota declaration and Quota management documents;
      • Cargo Manifest;
      • Laboratory and testing certificates;
      • Packaging descriptions, and storage and packing requirements, especially for hazardous goods;
      • Hazardous goods declarations;
      • End use certificates;
      • Remittance advices and banking details.
    • The VNTR has a list of current LCP requirements and the contact details for all government and other bodies responsible for administering LCPs. LCPs as a group are known as Non-Tariff Measures; that is, rules, regulations and other legal requirements that must be followed before goods enter or leave Viet Nam. Typical NTMs are those covering: i) pharmaceuticals and drugs, to ensure the goods are safe and fit for purpose, and from a legitimate supplier; ii) food standards and food safety rules and regulations; iii) origin certification requirements for goods entered under special import programs or Free Trade Agreements (FTAs); iv) goods subject to international conventions, such as the trade in protected species (CITES); and v) the import, export and disposal of dangerous and hazardous substances (under the Basel Convention), among others.

      The VNTR lists all the NTMS required to conduct cross-border trade in goods with Viet Nam, and you can find these under ‘Measures’. Alternatively, you may search the VNTR by commodity code (known as the HS Code). All goods in the world are classified under this ‘HS Code’ system, and is used to determine what taxes, tariffs and LCPs etc. are required or must be met.  Please see the Glossary for more on NTMs and the HS Code system.

    • This depends on a number of rules.  The two most important rules are: “How are my goods valued?” and “What is the goods true Country of Origin?”.  

      Most goods are valued by the price paid for the goods, plus freight and insurance (CIF), and the origin of the goods is simply declared (and supported by whatever documents are required to claim a particular country of origin if this is also needed).

      The HS Code for the goods is then consulted, and this in turn will have a duty and/or tax rate against it.  This is the most common means of valuing goods and establishing a country of origin, for duty and tax reasons.  If it is believed the price paid (CIF) does not properly reflect the true value or origin of the goods, the Customs authority may apply other valuation means until a valuation method is found that more fairly describes their value.  In total, the Customs authorities have six formal, WCO levels of valuation that are applied sequentially, but as noted previously, CIF is by far the most common and is applied first. Also applied to valuation are any special requirements or rules that must be complied with under FTA and similar agreements for a particular origin to be claimed.

      Valuation is a complex topic, and while the likely value for Customs duty and tax reasons is available through the VNTR, the complexity of individual circumstances means that you are advised in cases of doubt or in complex cases, to take formal legal advice, and/or refer to the General Department of Viet Nam Customs for a formal ruling.  A few of the other factors that affect value and origin include:

      • How and where the goods were manufactured, produced, sourced from, or obtained.
      • Were ‘assists’ are used in the manufacture or processing of the goods.  Assists include the use of a dye, for example, to make plastic or metal goods that is itself not used in the process (but is extremely valuable), royalties and intellectual property charges, the use of specific types of chemical, enzymes and reactants that were or were not consumed in a process, free or reduced finance charges, distribution agreements charges or reductions not normally available to other parties, etc.
      • Any claim for a preferential duty or tax rate under an FTA. This must be supported by evidence as to why the goods qualify. The most common reason for a preferential tax or duty rate is the origin of the goods, where the country of origin has a trade agreement with Viet Nam, such as with other members of ASEAN.
      • Quotas and Licenses. For some goods, imports or exports, quantities above or below a certain level are subject to lower or higher tax rates.
      • How the goods will be used or stored. This most commonly happens when goods are entered for further manufacture and then exported, often through a special economic zone inside Viet Nam.

      These are just a few of the conditions that need to be considered when a decision is made as to what duties and taxes might apply to your goods.

    • Yes. The VNTR list all the duties and taxes that must be paid on goods in Viet Nam. You may ascertain your likely duties and taxes by searching the VNTR by HS Code, commodity name (as defined by HS Code) or by searching Measures and the Rules of Origin (ROO) section of the VNTR.  If a preferential or penalty duty or tax exists on a product (for example a Dumping Duty or Countervailing Duty), this is also displayed. The VNTR does not list export tariffs and excise taxes.

    • Importers should obtain a Certificate of Origin (C/O) to prove that the goods are eligible for preferential tariffs under certain FTAs.  Users of VNTR can see the Rules of Origin applied to each commodity by searching the specific goods or HS Code. Detailed guidelines on how to obtain a C/O are provided on the VNTR website.

    • Yes. The VNTR list all the NTMS that may apply to your goods. NTMs may be found by searching either the Measures or HS Code sections of the VNTR.

    • Yes. The VNTR lists the Trade in Services Categories under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and selected FTAs. Under the Trade in Services section of the VNTR, you can determine under what internationally defined services sector your Service or Investment belongs and find Viet Nam’s schedule of commitments on trade in services under various FTAs.

    • While all goods may be subject to duties and taxes, both now or in the future, general exemptions do exist for goods entered under specific circumstances. Exemptions from normal taxes and duties are under very specific circumstances, and any such claim should be clarified with the appropriate government body. The VNTR does not list all of these circumstances, as they are very specific and vary by occasion. An exemption from duty and taxes may apply to your goods under the following kinds of circumstances:

      • Importing humanitarian and/or disaster relief goods.
      • Importing currency/bank notes.
      • Goods entered for diplomatic purposes under diplomatic exemptions.
      • Personal luggage or goods accompanying a passenger under a limit.
    • The VNTR lists goods prohibited for entry into Viet Nam, under ‘Measures’.  Prohibited goods do not have corresponding Customs Import Procedures because they are not allowed to enter Viet Nam in the first place. Nor are such goods subject to CLPs or ROO requirements and rules, also because they are banned. Typically, prohibited goods span: i) some types of hazardous goods and chemicals; ii) certain types of radiological products and wastes; iii) certain classes of pornography; and iv) protected species and plants, etc.

      You can check to see if goods are prohibited imports by checking in the ‘Measures’ section. In most circumstances, goods subject to import prohibition are also subject to Transit prohibitions (ie. the goods may not cross or enter the territory of Viet Nam).

      In addition to banned imports, some goods are prohibited exports. These include, but are not limited to: i) historically important or archaeological artifacts and other cultural items; ii) certain types of natural goods, animals, and plants etc.; and iii) items that are deemed iconic, of religious significance or are very rare or protected. Typical international examples are natural meteorites above a certain size, and CITES-protected species.

    • No, a Customs Broker or Customs Agent is not mandatory in Viet Nam. However, using a Customs Broker should ensure that all regulatory requirements are properly discharged and therefore may save unnecessary delays. Customs brokers and their employees exercise all the rights, and must perform all the obligations of customs declarants as prescribed in the Customs Law of Viet Nam.

    • No. The VNTR covers trade in goods and services, not immigration and tourist related requirements. The VNTR only lists rules, regulations and requirements that affect travelers if they are accompanied by commercial quantities of goods.

      No. The VNTR covers trade in goods and services, not immigration and tourist related requirements. The VNTR only lists rules, regulations and requirements that affect travelers if they are accompanied by commercial quantities of goods, or within the commitments on cross-border movement of natural persons relating to Trade in Service and/or Investment.

    • The VNTR covers all of Viet Nam’s current FTAs. Within the VNTR you will discover: i) all the Tariff and Tax tables for Viet Nam’s FTAs; ii) a copy of the full text for each agreement; and iii) all the associated Rules of Origin and Trade in Services Obligations and Requirements. See the full text of FTAs in the Agreement section:  

    • An ATA Carnet is an international Customs document which allows the temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment, or goods for an exhibition. It is valid for one year and allows for movement of the goods shown on the Carnet as many times as required during the 12 months to any of the destinations applied for.

    • Incoterms (which stand for International Commercial Terms) are 11 international rules created by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) that are accepted by governments, legal authorities, and practitioners worldwide for as the standard contract term used in sales contracts for international sales of goods. Incoterms define responsibility and liability of the seller and buyer in an international transaction with regard to provision of insurance and shipment and the point of transfer of risk. For more information on the terms of Incoterms, please visit:

    • Trade in goods covers transactions in general merchandise and goods for processing. Both manufactured products and primary commodities are classified goods.

    • Services represents the most dynamic segment of international trade. As well as being important in its own right, the services sector provides key inputs into the production and trade of all products, playing an important role in global value chains and economic development. The WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) provides the legal ground rules for international trade in services, allowing WTO members the flexibility to open their markets to foreign competition to the extent of their choosing. Trade in services is a key part of FTAs which seeks to liberalize domestic services to member countries beyond WTO.

    • The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments.


    • The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT, is the agreement by which the trade in goods is primarily regulated within the WTO.

    • The General Agreement on Trade in Services, or GATS, is the agreement by which the trade in services is primarily regulated within the WTO.

    • The HS classification is uniform for all countries only through the first 6 digits. Any country may choose to further break down the 6-digit classification to more specifically describe a product. Eight digits is generally considered to be fully qualified for customs purposes, but some countries may require also 9, 10 or more digits to completely describe the specific good being imported.  But the same 8-digit class can represent different products in different countries. For example, 2001.90.30 means “sweet corn” in the EU-27 classification and “beans” in the US classification.

      The ASEAN Harmonised Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN) is an 8-digit HS nomenclature used by all ASEAN member countries. The AHTN facilitates trade among ASEAN member countries through consistent and uniform interpretation in the classification of goods. It is based on the 6-digit Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System Nomenclature developed by WCO. The last amendment to AHTN was done in 2017 where all 233 sets of 2017 amendments to the HS nomenclature was incorporated. The latest tariff schedule is available at:

    • The TARIC (Integrated Tariff of the European Communities) code is designed to show the various rules applying to specific products when imported into the EU.  This includes the provisions of the Harmonized System (HS) and the Combined Nomenclature (CN), but also additional provisions specified in Community legislation, such as tariff suspensions, tariff quotas and tariff preferences, which exist for the majority of the Community’s trading partners.   When importing into the EU, the 10-digit TARIC code must be used in customs declarations. TARIC is available at

    • Yes you can. VNTR provide links to some websites that provide information and data of export markets for Vietnam.

    • Viet Nam is trying to keep all supply chains open and to facilitate the cross-border trade in goods as much as is possible. However, with lockdowns affecting the availability of materials, inputs and labor, delays in clearance times are occurring.

      Please be assured however that Viet Nam is trying to meet all customer and trader time frames as quickly as possible – this is in everyone's interest – and to return to ordinary clearance times as rapidly as possible.

      If you are experiencing supply chain and/or clearance delays, please do not hesitate to contact your trading partners or the appropriate government authorities, who may be able to expedite your concerns as rapidly as the situation allows.