Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — In the first 10 months of 2016, the Market Watch agency inspected 145,000 cases, detected and handled 88,000 violations, and collected fines worth VNĐ523 billion (US$23 million) to the state budget.
With regards to food safety, the agency administered a total administrative sanction worth of VNĐ29.6 billion ($1.3 million) to violators in 14,000 cases and seized some VNĐ20.4 billion ($914,000) of goods.
More than 1,500 violations regarding fertiliser were handled, with a large amount of counterfeit fertiliser being destroyed.
Fines of VNĐ1.5 billion ($67,200) were also collected in violations regarding pesticides. Most violations fall into the categories of mislabelling, selling expired products, selling pesticides not on the permitted list in Việt Nam, and selling fake products or those of unknown origins.
Nearly 5000 cases of cigarette smuggling were detected.
However, the agency admitted smuggling, fraud and counterfeiting of goods “still persists and tends to increase.” Aside from the reason being the complex terrain of border areas, it should be noted that insufficient numbers of law enforcement personnel have to watch over a too-large area, and local residents in border areas who have unstable livelihoods are easily persuaded to engage in illegal activities, such as leasing houses to be used for storage and transporting smuggled goods across the border, among others. There have also been cases in which some civil servants were bribed by smugglers.
“Even though state agencies and local authorities have stepped up inspections and increased sanctions, numerous cases were prosecuted, but many offenders are aggressive and do not shy from fighting law enforcement staff,” head of the Market Watch agency, Trịnh Văn Ngọc, said.
In addition, problems in policy mechanisms create obstacles when inspecting, monitoring, and handling violations, according to him.
The monitoring, inspections, apprehension of law breakers, seizures and destroying of illegal goods are all very costly, but receive little financial support. In the future, more efforts will be focused on certain goods, such as illegally smuggled cigarettes, fertiliser, gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas, alcohol and beer, soft drinks, processed milk, and goods of unknown origin and quality.
The implementation of programmes and plans need to be evaluated periodically to draw upon experience and devise appropriate solutions to be applied to real situations. Further, if smuggling or counterfeiting persists or occur largely in certain areas, the immediate leaders of that area will be held accountable, the agency stressed. — VNS