Ministry to enhance consumer protections for sustainable e-commerce development

June 04, 2024 - 17:29
There are three major challenges during the e-commerce boom, the risk of personal data breaches, rampant counterfeiting and tax loss.
While e-commerce has become an important distribution channel, there are challenges as it booms including the risk of personal data being leaked. — VNA/VNS Photo Đại Nghĩa

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Industry and Trade will focus on enhancing consumer protections in order to maintain sustainable e-commerce developments, Minister Nguyễn Hồng Diên said at the National Assembly’s question and answer session on Tuesday.

Reporting on e-commerce to the National Assembly, Diên said e-commerce was an important distribution channel and had contributed significantly to the development of financial services and modern payment systems.

The ministry’s statistics showed that Việt Nam was one among five countries in the world with the highest e-commerce growth rates in 2023, expanding at 25 per cent over 2022. The retail-ecommerce market of Việt Nam was estimated at US$20.5 billion in 2023.

Diên, however, said that there were three major challenges during the boom in e-commerce, including the risk of personal data breaches, rampant counterfeiting and tax losses.

The ministry asked e-commerce platforms and websites to check, remove and lock out more than 6,200 online stores with a total of 23,359 violating products. They investigated 834 cases and imposed total fines of VNĐ12 billion.

Diên said one of the reasons was the lack of strict sanctions for counterfeit products.

The Law on Protection of Consumer Rights 2023, which will take effect from the beginning of July, was expected to better protect consumers in the e-commerce world.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade was also coordinating with the Ministry of Public Security to develop a law on protecting personal data, Diên said.

E-commerce platforms would also be required to make public policies about protection of personal data.

In the fight against counterfeiting, Diên said that inspection would be enhanced on product origins and quality. Along with that, it is necessary to encourage local producers to focus on improving product quality and strengthen campaigns prioritising Vietnamese-made goods.

Specially, the Ministry of Industry and Trade was proposing a decree on managing products imported through e-commerce and foreign sellers on the platforms, Diên said.

Diên added that the ministry had also proposed the removal of value-added-tax and import tax exemptions on small-value import products.

He estimated that four major foreign e-commerce platforms were transacting around $1 billion worth of import products per month, meaning a significant loss in tax.

Tax revenues from e-commerce were estimated to be at nearly VNĐ100 trillion, even back in 2021, on a revenue of nearly $21 billion, he said.

It was necessary to increase data connection and information sharing to improve tax management of the e-commerce market, Diên added.— VNS