Vietnam, Australia Strengthen Collaboration to Combat Smuggling and Trade Irregularities

Vietnam and Australia prioritize optimizing trade facilitation with effective customs control to secure national security and safety.

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The General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC) and the Australian Border Force (ABF) took a significant step toward enhanced cooperation by signing a new plan to collaborate on customs investigations and monitoring during talks in Hanoi on May 7, VNA reported.

The plan, signed by GDVC Director General Nguyen Van Can and ABF Commissioner Michael Outram signified a commitment to sharing expertise and tackling customs violations.

This collaboration comes amid a thriving economic relationship between Vietnam and Australia. Two-way trade has reached nearly USD 15 billion in recent years, solidifying Australia’s position as Vietnam’s 10th largest trade partner.

Moreover, 97,500 Australian tourists visited Vietnam in the first two months of 2024, equal to 25% of the total in 2023. The two countries have operated additional direct flights, thus further boosting the number of two-way tourists.

Vietnam also is one of the priority partners in Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy for 2040.

Director General of the General Department of Vietnam Customs Nguyen Van Can (right) and Commissioner of the Australian Border Force Michael Outram hand over the cooperation agreement. Photo: General Department of Customs.

This is the result of the efforts of two customs law enforcement agencies to ensure the facilitation of legal trade for entities participating in the international supply chain. Both sides strive to effectively customs control, ensure trade compliance, and promptly prevent customs violations.

In addition to optimizing trade convenience for businesses, as national frontline agencies, the two sides agreed to focus on cooperation to achieve the goal of ensuring national security and safety.

The newly signed plan outlines a collaborative approach to combating illegal commercial activities like smuggling, trade fraud, and the movement of prohibited goods, with a particular focus on drugs, tobacco, and controlled substances.

The GDVC expressed its appreciation for the ABF’s ongoing support within the framework of the Container Control Programme (CCP) and its active participation in the Mekong Dragon Campaign, a regional initiative co-initiated by Vietnam.

It additionally requested the ABF’s support in enhancing the capacity of its dog teachers and trainers.

The ABF side said it had appointed representatives at the Australian Embassy in Vietnam to contribute to further developing the friendly and cooperative relationship between the two sides.

Concluding the talks, both sides agreed to hold talks every two years to review progress and draft future cooperation directions.

Hannah Nguyen