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Control the market to avoid taking advantage of the pandemic to increase prices unreasonably

19:54 | 05/10/2021

VCN - In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, market surveillance forces strengthened market inspection and control, consumers actively participated in providing information and denouncing violations, contributing to preventing and controlling violations relating to prices in the market. Customs News spoke with Deputy Director of the Department of Professional Operations (Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance) Nguyen Duc Le about this issue.

Nguyen Duc Le - Deputy Director of the Department of Professional Operations (Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance)
Nguyen Duc Le - Deputy Director of the Department of Professional Operations (Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance)

From the case of Bach Hoa Xanh supermarket chain increasing the selling price or not listing the prices of some items to the case of a sudden increase in the price of medicines for Covid-19 treatment of Sao Thai Duong Joint Stock Company made consumers angry. From the perspective of the market surveillance agency, how do you assess this phenomenon?

The prevention, combat and handling of law violations on prices is one of many functions of the market surveillance force. Therefore, during the pandemic, the Directorate of Market Surveillance promptly issued many documents directing the market surveillance force in the whole country to strengthen supervision, inspection and control of the market, focus on fighting and preventing acts of speculation, setting unreasonable prices, violations on price listing, etc., especially for essential commodities in order to stabilize the market and ensure the legitimate interests of consumers.

Recently, due to fluctuations in supply and demand, there was a phenomenon that the selling prices of some essential commodities changed. This directly affected consumers and destabilizes the market, negatively affecting the effectiveness of the government's policy of stabilizing market prices.

From the perspective of market surveillance, regarding Bach Hoa Xanh supermarket chain or Sao Thai Duong Joint Stock Company, the market surveillance force had checked and settled the issue.

What difficulties did the market surveillance force face and how was the handling of violations on price listing and unreasonable price increases done, sir?

In the context of the pandemic, there were many fluctuations in the supply and demand of goods, and even supply chain disruptions which caused an increase of trade fraud, especially violations on selling prices of essential goods and trading goods in the e-commerce exchange. It was very difficult to monitor and track electronic devices to detect as well as inspect and handle violations. Besides that, for the traditional business model, the market surveillance force also did not have human resources to carry out supervision and inspection at fixed business establishments and small businesses.

Decree No. 109/2013/ND-CP dated September 24, 2013 of the Government stipulating penalties for administrative violations in the field of prices, charges, fees and invoice management, the market surveillance forces have authority to sanction acts of violating regulations on publicizing information on prices of goods and services, listing prices; acts of increasing or listing unreasonable prices of goods and services, acts of giving inaccurate information about the market prices of goods and services, acts of price fraud; acts of taking advantage of economic crisis, natural disasters, fires, epidemics and abnormal conditions, taking advantage of State policies to set unreasonable purchase and sale prices for goods and services.

Clause 1, Article 4 of the Law on Prices stipulates: “Irregular price fluctuations were prices of goods and services that increase too high or decrease too low when the price-forming factors did not change significantly or in case of economic crisis, natural disasters, fires, pandemic.”

The inspection and examination of price forming factors are prescribed in Articles 26 and 27 of the Law on Prices. The order of checking price forming factors is guided in Article 13 of Decree No. 177/2013/ND-CP guiding the Law on Prices.

The market surveillance force encountered many difficulties and obstacles when searching for evidence for those acts. Therefore, in order to prove the behavior of buying and selling prices that were unreasonable, it requires the participation of many industries, especially the price management agencies of the financial industry.

What do you think about the market situation in the near future and what solutions does the market surveillance agency recommend to control prices and manage goods during the pandemic?

In the future, the Directorate of Market surveillance will continue to urge and direct the market surveillance forces in 63 provinces and cities to strengthen supervision, inspection and control of the market, focusing on fighting and preventing acts of speculation, listing unreasonable selling prices, violations of price listing, counterfeit goods, goods of poor quality or unknown origin, especially for essential commodities in order to stabilize the market, contributing to ensuring the supply of goods and safe consumption for people.

The market surveillance force will continue to strengthen the communication and dissemination of the law so that organizations and individuals were aware and followed the guidelines and policies of the Party and the laws of the State. At the same time, applying science and technology in inspection and handling activities in order to quickly detect, promptly prevent and repel violations in general and price violations in the future.

Thank you!

By Quang Hùng/Thanh Thuy