Strong liquor sold online, sellers break laws and evade tax
VietNamNet Bridge - The ban on sale of liquors with alcohol content of 15 percent or more via the internet was issued one year ago, but online advertisements and sales of strong alcohol continue.


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Many websites sell alcohol, and there are numerous products available, including spirits and luxury imports. 

Most of the websites are run by individuals and private shops which have professional advertising. The images of alcohol products and selling prices are all shown on the websites, and there are also phone numbers for customers to contact.

Call receivers are always ready to ‘give advice’ on which products to buy. All sellers deliver goods to the door, free of shipping fees if the destinations are not further than 10 kilometers from the shops.

Call receivers are always ready to ‘give advice’ on which products to buy. All sellers deliver goods to the door, free of shipping fees if the destinations are not further than 10 kilometers from the shops.

Asked about the origin of products, sellers say the products are either carried to Vietnam across border gates by travelers, or imported through official channels. 

They also say they had not heard about the ban on the sale of liquor with the alcohol content of 15 percent and higher via the internet, and they have been doing business for many years.

Shivam Misra, CEO of Diageo Vietnam, said he is aware that trading liquor products with the alcohol of 15 percent or more has been prohibited since November 1, 2017, and the business has been observing the regulation.

However, private shops have been ignoring the regulation. There are numerous import products with unclear origin, including counterfeit and low-quality ones, available in the market. 

Consumers complain they cannot buy genuine products, while businesses don’t know how to contact customers.

The illegal sale of hard spirits online has also caused the State to fail to collect tax.

Dang Thanh Van from Pernod Rivar Vietnam complained that while the company has to comply strictly with the new regulation, other traders break the laws and are not sanctioned.

Nguyen Van Viet, chair of the Vietnam Alcohol and Beverage Association, commented that the regulation can cover only businesses with legal status. 

In reply to opinions that genuine alcohol products are much more expensive than those available at many shops in Vietnam, Deputy Minister of Health Truong Quoc Cuong said the selling price in Europe could be up to 30 percent higher than Asia. 

“We found that the stage of removing impurities in products, a costly work, was skipped to reduce the production cost,” Cuong said.


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Tran Thuy
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