November 17, 2019 22:19

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Researching two solutions for handling seized smuggled foreign cigarettes

15:36 | 25/03/2019

VCN – Through 6 months implementing Decision 20/2018/QĐ-TTg on the destruction of smuggled foreign cigarettes which were counterfeit and with impairment of quality that were seized, and piloting the auction of quality foreign cigarettes which were seized for exporting to a foreign country, many obstacles have arisen leading to difficulty in the implementation of the Decision. The General Department of Vietnam Customs has been developing a draft for proposing two solutions.

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Smuggled foreign cigarettes were seized by HCM City Customs and Police. Photo: Thu Hòa

According to the review by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, since the Decision 20/2018/QD-TTg is valid, the localities have not organized an auction yet to re-export and destroy any confiscated cigarette shipments.

Many problems that directly affect the implementation process resulted in the implementation of the current regulations in Decision 20/2018 / QD-TTg that is impossible if it continues to be implemented.

Firstly, it is difficult for determining inspection organizations. There are suggestions that it is possible to conduct assessment in the Institute of Tobacco, Criminal Science-Ministry of Public Security. However, it is not feasible because the handling of quality analysis and testing a sample takes a lot of time, while the seizure process happens frequently and continuously with many designs and types. It is difficult to invite competent authorities to go to local areas for conducting quality assessment as well as the cost of hiring a professional agency with high competency...

Secondly, it is difficult to determine quality criteria. Smuggled cigarettes are foreign cigarettes which have various brands beside the common brands like Jet and Hero. While the current criteria for determining cigarette quality only apply to domestically produced cigarettes or imported cigarettes complying with Vietnam's domestic standards, it is not suitable to determine the quality of foreign cigarettes as a basis for verifying conditions to conduct an auction for export abroad or not. Until now, in fact, since the Decision 20/2018/QD-TTg valid from 15/6/2018, there is no record about the exported confiscated cigarette.

Thirdly, the Decision 20/2018/QD-TTg suspended the effect of Decision 2371/QD-TTg dated 26/4/2014 on the destruction of all smuggled imported cigarettes, resulting in economic support for destruction fees in accordance with Circular 19/2015/TT-BTC (based on Decision 2371/QD-TTg) cannot be implemented anymore. Currently, the numbers of smuggled cigarettes are still in large quantity (more than 2 million packs) without treatment plans...

From those problems incurred during the implementation of Decision 20/2018/QD-TTg, at present, the General Department of Customs is reporting to the Ministry of Finance to research and submit to the Prime Minister the amendment and supplementation of the Decision in one of two options:

Option 1: Submit to the Prime Minister to issue a Decision to abolish Decision 20/2018/QD-TTg; continue to destroy all smuggled cigarettes confiscated under Decision 2371/QD-TTg.

Option 2: Submit to the Prime Minister to issue a Decision to replace Decision 20/2018/QD-TTg in the direction of delegating the autonomy in the selection of destruction plans or conducting auction for export to competent authorities that make confiscation decisions.

By N.Linh/Thanh Thuy