January 22, 2017 23:26

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Handling confiscated illicit cigarettes

09:38 | 11/01/2017

VCN- Implementing the direction of the Permanent Deputy Prime Minister, Truong Hoa Binh on handling confiscated illicit cigarettes, the Ministry of Finance to chair and collaborate with ministries to assess the current basis for the measure to re-export the confiscated illicit cigarettes which are qualified cigarettes.

find the measure to handle the confiscated illicit cigarettes
Smuggled cigarettes seized by Customs

According to the conclusion of the Permanent Deputy Prime Minister, Truong Hoa Binh at the Conference on strengthening the fight against and preventing smuggling cigarettes in key areas (held on October 18, 2016), and related to the handling of confiscated illicit cigarettes, the Permanent Deputy Prime Minister assigned the Ministry of Finance to chair and collaborate with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of National Defense and the Office of the Government to study and fully assess the legal basis of re-exporting confiscated illicit cigarettes which are qualified cigarettes and ensure consistency with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and report to the Prime Minister for consideration and decision.

According to reviewed and analysed results of the current provision, the Ministry of Finance said, Decision 2371/QD-TTg of December 26, 2014 of the Prime Minister approved destruction of confiscated illicit cigarettes (replaced Decision No.1112/QD-TTg dated August 21, 2012 of the Prime Minister implementing the pilot for re-exporting confiscated illicit cigarettes which are qualified cigarettes), so confiscated illicit cigarettes are destroyed as per regulation in Article 1.

Article 2 of Decision 2371/QD-TTg prescribed “the Ministry of Finance will guide the mechanism of expenditure to support the prevention of smuggling cigarettes and manufacturing and trading of counterfeit cigarettes”. This content is specifically guided by the Ministry of Finance in Circular 19/2015/TT-BTC dated February 3, 2015.

Meanwhile, Vietnam is is a member of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) from March 17, 2015 under Notification No. 34/2005/ TB-LPQT of the Foreign Ministry.

Under Clause 2, Article 4 of this Convention, the contracting parties must commit to the rules including “need to take measures to decrease the consumption of tobacco products in any form”. Concurrently, in Clause 4c, Article 15 of the Convention regulating that contracting parties must “take appropriate steps to ensure that all confiscated manufacturing equipment, counterfeit and contraband cigarettes and other tobacco products are destroyed”.

Hence, according to the Ministry of Finance based on the above regulations for the re-import of the confiscated illicit cigarettes which are qualified inconsistent with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

In order to have the basis to report to the Government for this issue, the Ministry of Finance proposed the ministries of Justice, Industry and Trade, Health, Public Security, National Defense and the Office of the Government research and propose the requirement “fully research and assess the legal basis of re-export of confiscated illicit cigarettes which are qualified cigarettes, ensure consistency with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control”.

Assessed by the Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh, in the previous years, although the agencies at all levels and functional forces strengthened the fight against smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods, including the prevention of illicit cigarettes. However, these requirements have not changed; smuggling and illicit transportation of goods across the borders and trade fraud and counterfeit goods are still taking place regularly, causing loss of State revenue and resources and bad effect to the domestic production and business environment; fake and unqualified goods and unknown origin goods with many categories are publicly sold, especially illicit cigarettes.

For illicit cigarettes, the functional forces destroyed many smuggling gangs but the situation of smuggling still increases, especially in the border provinces of the North, Southwest and Central provinces. Illicit cigarettes are publicly sold, especially in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City, causing loss to State revenue and the bad effect to business and production of cigarette companies and the life and jobs of employees. The smugglers act more spontaneously and are ready to fight when they are detected with illegal goods.

find the measure to handle the confiscated illicit cigarettes Seized 2,500 packs of smuggled cigarettes

VCN – A car which transported 2,500 packs of smuggled cigarettes, has been arrested by Integrated Control ...

The inspection result in 2 years implementing Directive 30/CT-TTg dated September 30, 2014 of the Prime Minister, anti-smuggling cigarettes in 6 key areas has achieved positive results. From October 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016, the functional forces of the Northern areas detected, arrested and handled 15,363 large illicit cigarette cases of more than 11.3 million packets of cigarettes; prosecuted 372 cases and 471 perpetrators (Long An province seized over 2.4 million packet of cigarettes, An Giang seized over 1.8 million packet of cigarettes.

However, the results above do not reflect the actual situation of illicit cigarettes. The trade and transportation of smuggled cigarettes is still publicly taking place and and is a major problem.

By Ngoc Linh/Hoang Loan