The Market Surveillance Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade will step up supervision on smuggled and counterfeited food and beverages.
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The agency will conduct supervision at areas near borders or wholesale markets in the provinces of Cao Bang, Lang Son, Quang Ninh, Lao Cai, Quang Tri, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and cities of Hai Phong, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.It is considered one of the key tasks that the agency needs to accomplish in the last half of this year, the agency’s deputy head Nguyen Thanh Binh said.
Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade revealed that more than 54,400 violations were found in the first half of this year, a 1.5 percent decrease compared to the same period last year, contributing nearly US$14.7 million to the State budget.
Imported packages of cigarettes, bottles of beer and wine, beverages and fertilisers were among the products with the most violations.
The agency said that smuggling and counterfeiting has become more complicated with more and more “sophisticated” tricks to disguise and hide the products.
Meanwhile, there are several difficulties in cooperating with businesses and associations to ask them to provide information to support the agency to monitor and punish violations.
The work is also obstructed by high costs on counterfeit assessment and shortages of equipment and devices.
Binh said that the agency would work more closely with customs, border soldiers and inspectors to strengthen the crack down on smuggling, counterfeiting and trade fraud.
He also proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade asks for Government permission to establish a mobile market management team in order to improve the efficiency of the work.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Do Thang Hai, said that the Ordinance on Market Management which was newly approved by the National Assembly and will take effect in September this year is an important milestone to help overcome difficulties and improve efficiency of market management.
The Ordinance deals with issues like the organisation and function of the market management force, policies for market watch officers, the mechanism for cooperation with other agencies and inspection of market surveillance forces.
“The first market management Ordinance has recognised the legal function of market management nationwide. The effective implementation of regulations in the Ordinance will enhance effectiveness of the fight against smuggling and trade fraud,” he said.
HCM City’s efforts
With the increase in smuggling cases and trade fraud, Tran Vinh Tuyen, Vice Chairman of HCM City’s People’s Committee, said at a meeting held on July 8 that violators engaged in smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods would be strictly punished.
Tuyen said the police, customs and market management officials would work together to fight smuggling via Tan Son Nhat International Airport and from the southern provinces of Long An and Tay Ninh to HCM City.
Enforcement will also be strengthened against smuggling at bus stations such as Mien Dong (Eastern) Coach Station, Mien Tay (Western) Coach Station and An Suong Coach Station.
Waterways, where a number of smuggling cases have occurred, especially on Thay Cai Canal, will be monitored as well.
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Policies and regulations will be established to closely supervise imports for re-export, as well as business activities related to food safety.