Welcome to the world of alcohol importation! Navigating the intricate procedures of importing alcohol requires a comprehensive understanding of regulations, documentation, and taxes. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential steps and considerations for importing alcohol, ensuring a smooth and compliant process. Let’s dive in!

1. Regulations for Importing Alcohol

1.1. Alcohol Import Policies

According to legal documents, alcohol is not listed under prohibited imported goods. However, certain procedures must be followed when importing alcohol:

  • Alcohol with an alcohol content of 5.5% or higher requires an import license from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
  • Imported alcohol must undergo state quality inspection.
  • Imported alcohol must comply with food safety and hygiene regulations.
  • Imported alcohol is subject to a special consumption tax ranging from 55% to 65%.
  • Imported alcohol must bear import labels.

2. Labeling Imported Alcohol Products

Labeling imported goods is not a new requirement. However, since the issuance of Decree 128/2020/ND-CP, labeling of imported goods has been more closely monitored. Labeling serves the purpose of helping administrative agencies manage goods, identify their origins, and determine the responsible entities for the goods. Therefore, labeling goods is an indispensable step when importing alcohol from different countries.

2.1. Label Content

In addition to labeling, the content of the labels is crucial. Label content for various products is regulated by Decree No. 43/2017/ND-CP. For alcoholic beverages, a label must include the following information:

  • Exporter’s information (address, company name)
  • Importer’s information (address, company name)
  • Product name and information
  • Quantity
  • Ethanol content
  • Expiry date (if applicable)
  • Storage instructions (for wine)
  • Warning information (if applicable)
  • Batch identification code (if applicable)
  • Country of origin

These are the basic label contents that must be affixed to goods. Information displayed must be in English or other languages with translations. When going through the alcohol import process, customs authorities pay close attention to the label content.

3. Determining the HS Code for Imported Alcohol

Determining the Harmonized System (HS) code is the most crucial step in importing any type of goods. Identifying the correct HS code determines import duties, VAT, and import policies. To correctly identify the HS code for various types of alcohol, it’s necessary to understand the characteristics of the goods: Material, composition, and product characteristics.

3.1. Alcohol HS Codes

Description HS Code
Various types of wine 22041000
Other wine in containers not exceeding 2 liters, with an alcohol content not exceeding 15% by volume 22042111
Other wine in containers not exceeding 2 liters, with an alcohol content exceeding 15% but not exceeding 23% by volume 22042113
Other wine in containers not exceeding 2 liters, with an alcohol content exceeding 23% by volume 22042114
Other wines, with an alcohol content not exceeding 15% by volume 22042911
Other wine, with an alcohol content exceeding 15% but not exceeding 23% by volume 22042913
Other wines, with an alcohol content exceeding 23% by volume 22042914
Vermouth in containers not exceeding 2 liters, with an alcohol content not exceeding 15% by volume 22051010
Vermouth in containers not exceeding 2 liters, with an alcohol content exceeding 15% by volume 22051020

3.2. Risks of Incorrect HS Application

Identifying the correct HS code is crucial when importing various types of alcohol. Incorrect HS code application can lead to risks such as:

  • Customs clearance delays: Incorrect HS declaration may lead to delays in customs clearance due to the need for verification of accurate product information.
  • Penalties for incorrect HS declaration as per Decree 128/2020/ND-CP.
  • Delivery delays: If discrepancies in HS code declaration are found, customs may request corrections or clarifications, leading to delays in delivery and affecting production and business cycles.
  • Import tax penalties range from a minimum of 2,000,000 VND to three times the tax amount.

For accurate HS code determination for specific types of alcohol, please contact Unicorn Global for consultation.

4. Import Taxes for Alcohol

Import taxes are obligations that importers must fulfill to the state. Taxes for imported alcohol consist of three types: Import tax, special consumption tax, and VAT.

Here’s how import taxes for alcohol are calculated:

  • Import tax is determined based on the HS code. It’s calculated using the formula:

    Import Tax = CIF Value x Import Tax Rate %

    CIF Value is determined by the ex-factory value of the goods plus all costs to bring the goods to the first customs port of the importing country.

  • Special consumption tax is determined based on the specific tax rate for each type:

    Special Consumption Tax = CIF Value x Special Consumption Tax Rate %

  • Import VAT is calculated using the formula:

    Value Added Tax = (CIF Value + Import Tax + Special Consumption Tax) x VAT Rate %

According to this formula, the import tax for alcohol depends on the selected HS code. Therefore, it’s essential to apply the correct HS code when importing alcohol. Additionally, for goods imported from countries or territories with trade agreements with Vietnam such as Europe, India, Australia, Chile, China, South Korea, Japan, and ASEAN countries, buyers should request a certificate of origin from the seller to enjoy special preferential taxes.

5. ATTP Declaration for Imported Alcohol

Step 1: Prepare Documents

ATTP declaration documents are regulated under Article 7 of Decree No. 15/2018/ND-CP. The dossier for ATTP declaration for alcohol includes:

  • Product declaration;
  • Certificate of Free Sale or Exportation or Health Certificate;
  • Food safety test results;
  • Certificate of food safety conditions;
  • Product catalog if available.

Note: All documents must be in Vietnamese. If in English, certified translations are required.

Step 2: ATTP Declaration

ATTP declaration for alcohol products is done on the national single-window portal or by submitting paper documents to the Ministry of Health. The result for ATTP declaration is typically available within 7 working days.

Step 3: Await Response and Supplement Documents if Required

After submission, the Ministry of Health will verify the documents. If amendments or supplements are requested, they will be updated on the single-window system. Applicants must actively monitor and provide timely supplements to avoid delays.

Step 4: Receive the ATTP Declaration Result

These are the basic steps for ATTP declaration for alcohol products. ATTP declaration must be completed before importing goods. Since the ATTP declaration process takes time, sometimes up to 30 days, it’s essential to start early.

6. Documentation for Alcohol Import Procedures

Documentation for alcohol import procedures, as well as import procedures for other goods in general, is regulated by Circular 38/2015/TT-BTC dated March 25, 2015, and amended by Circular 39/2018/TT-BTC dated April 20, 2018.

Here’s the documentation required for alcohol import procedures:

  • Customs declaration form;
  • Commercial invoice;
  • Bill of lading;
  • Packing list;
  • Sale contracts;
  • Import permit for alcohol with alcohol content above 5.5%;
  • Certificate of origin;
  • ATTP declaration;
  • Quality inspection dossier.

Among these, the most crucial documents are the customs declaration form, commercial invoice, bill of lading, import permit for alcohol with alcohol content above 5.5%, ATTP declaration, and quality inspection dossier. Other documents may be required upon request from customs.

7. Alcohol Import Procedures

Alcohol import procedures are regulated by Circular 38/2015/TT-BTC dated March 25, 2015, and amended by Circular 39/2018/TT-BTC dated April 20, 2018.

Here are the steps for alcohol import procedures:

Step 1: Customs Declaration

After obtaining all import and export documents: Contracts, commercial invoices, packing lists, bills of lading, certificates of origin, arrival notices, and identifying the HS code for alcohol, import information can be declared to the customs system through software.

Step 2: Customs Declaration Opening

After declaring the customs form, the customs system will return the declaration processing result. If there’s a declaration channel, print out the declaration and bring the import dossier to the customs office to open the declaration. Depending on the green, yellow, or red channel, different steps will be taken to open the declaration.

At this point, you’ll proceed to register for ATTP inspection to take samples and perform actual quality checks. For details on the registration process and documents, please contact Door to Door Vietnam for consultation.

Step 3: Customs Clearance

After verifying the dossier, if there are no issues, the customs officer will accept the customs clearance. At this point, you can pay the import tax to clear the goods through customs.

Step 4: Bringing Goods to Storage and Use

Once the customs declaration is cleared, proceed to liquidate the declaration and complete the necessary procedures to bring the goods to storage and for consumption in the market.

Reference: Door-to-Door Vietnam

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