VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese authorities discovered and solved hundreds of thousands cases of smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeiting in 2016, the National Steering Committee for the Prevention and Control of Smuggling, Trade Fraud and Fake Commodities reported at an online conference last Thursday.
Authorised agencies destroy smuggled foreign cigarettes. — Photo: VNA/VNS
They handled 211,559 cases of violations last year, up 2.5 per cent from 2015, said the committee-also known as the 389 Committee.
Total administrative fines, which were submitted to the State budget, reached over VND18 trillion (US$800 million), up nearly 33.6 per cent over 2015.
Relevant authorities prosecuted 1,560 cases and 1,863 people involved.
Ha Noi alone busted more than 23,000 cases, with total administrative fines reaching VND9.6 billion ($426,000). In the first two months of this year, the municipal authorities inspected and discovered more than 4,900 cases of smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit commodities.
However, participants at the conference said smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods activities have become increasingly sophisticated.
Major General Nguyen Quang Dam, Commander of the Vietnamese Marine Police, said fishing boats have recently been caught smuggling petrol. Marine police last year cracked down on 46 cases of petrol smuggling. Most of them involved foreign vessels illegally selling petrol to Vietnamese boats disguised as fishing vessels in water areas bordering between Viet Nam and other countries. These boats would then resell the petrol to fishing boats operating offshore.
Director of the General Department of Customs, Nguyen Van Can, said cocaine and new kinds of drugs have been smuggled into the country via airlines and by sea, sometimes imported into the country disguised as legal commodities.
Vice Chairman of Ha Noi People’s Committee, Le Hong Son, said producers of counterfeit products tend to use smarter tactics, making it difficult to distinguish their goods from authentic ones.
Fake products used to be imminations of valuable imported products, but they’ve turned to fake products that are popular among local consumers, he said. For example, making use of the campaign to mobilise Vietnamese people to use Vietnamese products, they labeled made-in-Viet Nam for Chinese products to trick customers.
Meanwhile, the participants said, shortcomings remain in the fight against smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit products.
They cited ineffective State management, inspection, lack of information and appropriate infrastructure and devices, limited capacity of authorised forces, loopholes in related laws and punishment that is not strict enough to threaten violators.
To increase the effectiveness of the fight, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh asked the national 389 committee and the sub-committees to strictly review shortcomings and propose more effective and practical preventive measures.
More efforts should focus on inspections, guards and co-operation between relevant forces to discover violators, he said. Attention should be paid to hot spots such as northern and southwestern border areas, seaports and airports.
It is important to apply technology in building national data to help detect smuggled goods, he added.
Binh urged for clarification of responsibilities of heads of ministries, agencies and localities for letting smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit products happen in their jurisdiction areas. Those found to not fulfil their tasks or caught covering up these illegal activities will be strictly punished.
He also called for relevant ministries and agencies to review and fix loopholes in the legal system and to deal with overlapping State management to make the fight against smuggling, trade fraud and fake products more effective.