Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — More efforts will be made to prevent smuggling of tobacco into the country, a seminar on safety and efficiency in the fight against contraband heard in HCM City yesterday.
“The fight against tobacco smuggling has been robust and efficient, and it will be stepped up,” Đàm Văn Thế, office manager of the National Steering Committee for fighting against smuggling commercial frauds, counterfeit goods.
The efforts would focus on both border regions and cities and provinces, including retail shops, he said.
If there is proper surveillance, smugglers cannot succeed either in border areas or inside the country, he said.
The seminar heard that tobacco is smuggled in from all borders that Việt Nam neighbouring.
A Việt Nam Tobacco Association report said last year over one billion packs of cigarettes were smuggled into the country, accounting for 25 per cent of the market.
Smuggled cigarettes were sold all over the country and included all the big brands like Hero, Jet, League, Luxury, Cambo, Ram, and Golden Deer.
Smuggling is rampant in the border provinces of Cao Bằng, Quảng Ninh, Lào Cai, Tây Ninh, Long An, Đồng Tháp, An Giang, and Kiên Giang.
Phạm Văn Miên, editor in chief of Công An Nhân Dân newspaper, said contraband tobacco was having a very adverse impact on the economy.
In the last two years it caused the Government tax losses of VNĐ10 trillion and loss of jobs for five million farmers and 600,000 other workers each year, he said.
Participants said local people need to be educated about their rights and responsibilities in preventing the smuggling.
Programmes to improve the lives of people living in border provinces are also key to wean them away from smuggling, they said.
Đồng Đại Lộc, deputy director of the General Police Directorate, said the police should co-operate with other forces like market watch and border troops, exchanging information and surveilling border regions.
More modern equipment and funds are required to strengthen the fight against smuggling.
A Đồng Tháp Province official said cigarette makers should offer higher quality, cheaper products price to take on smuggled tobacco.
In the last two years police have investigated nearly 4,000 cases, filing cases in 327 of them, and seized nine million packs of cigarettes. — VNS