HÀ NỘI More measures are needed in the fight against trade fraud and illegal cross-border smuggling between Việt Nam and other countries, which continues to be a problem, the General Department of Customs has said.
Speaking at an online conference to review customs work in 2019, general director of the department Nguyễn Văn Cẩn said the war against commercial fraud had become more sophisticated and dynamic.
In December alone, more than 1,060 violations worth VNĐ177 billion (US$7.6 million) were handled. Legal proceedings have been started against as many as 23 violators.
In 2019, more than 16,660 cases of trade fraud, with a value of goods amounting to VNĐ2.6 trillion ($111.9 million) were discovered. Legal proceedings have been started against 145 violators.
Cẩn said origin fraud was among most common violations. Many cases in which imported goods, mainly garments and textile and electronic appliances, were labelled ‘Made in Vietnam’ were uncovered.
There was a legal gap in rules of origin of the goods. The unclear legal documents and late response of authorised agencies were among causes of the violations, he said.
Cẩn cited the Asanzo incident as one example. Last June, Asanzo Vietnam Electronics JSC was accused of origin fraud and cheating customers as it imported goods from China but claimed them to be of Vietnamese origin when sold in the domestic market.
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry later announced that it cleared the company following Vietnamese law.
As stipulated, a product can include the ‘Made in Vietnam’ label if it is assembled from components which are purchased in Việt Nam or imported from other countries.
Cẩn said it would be easier the handle the cases if there were clear and comprehensive regulations on origin fraud.
Cẩn said the department had consulted with the Supreme People's Procuracy to deploy measures to deter and seize goods with unclear origin.
Cẩn said in the first quarter of this year, ministries and branches would review regulations on origin fraud to avoid causing confusion for both authorities and businesses, such as in the case of Asanzo.
Drug and wildlife trafficking on the rise
Drug and wildlife trafficking is also on the rise, the department reported.
Inter-provincial and border trafficking rings have been uncovered nationwide.
Early last year, the customs department in central Hà Tĩnh Province, in co-operation with local police, found seven people smuggling 370 packages of narcotics from Hà Tĩnh to the northern provinces of Lạng Sơn and Cao Bằng.
Two months later, 13 people of Chinese and Vietnamese nationalities were caught transporting 300 kilogrammes of ecstasy from Laos to Việt Nam and Việt Nam to Taiwan via border gates.
In April, customs officials in An Giang Province found six people hiding 31,850 tablets of ecstasy and 17 kilos of heroin in their luggage while travelling to Cambodia.
Several months later, four Taiwanese people were caught transporting 500 kilos of ketamine – the largest amount of ketamine ever seized in the country – to a warehouse in HCM City’s Bình Chánh District. The drugs were estimated to be worth nearly VNĐ500 billion ($21.5 million).
Reports from customs officials in Đà Nẵng City and Hà Tĩnh and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu provinces revealed that ivory tusks and pangolin scales were commonly smuggled. Most were found in containers disguised as scrap or cargo.
Cẩn said the department would tighten inspections on goods ahead of the Tết holiday, especially alcohol, food and imported fruits.
It would also increase control over goods transiting through Việt Nam to other countries to fight against counterfeit products and origin fraud. VNS