Gas trading still “disorderly” while legal framework is still loose

VCN - Gas trading activities have been adjusted according to Decree 87/2018/ND-CP of the Government and other relevant legal documents.

However, the legal framework still needs to be further improved to solve many shortcomings and inadequacies such as violations of regulations on trademarks and unfair competition.

Gas trading still “disorderly” while legal framework is still loose
The conference "Gas trading towards a comprehensive legal framework to promote business and develop the market" took place on the morning of November 30, 2021. Photo: NT

According to the Vietnam Gas Association, the system of legal documents on gas trading has been completed. However, in practice, gas trading activities today still have many shortcomings, such as unfair competition, violations of regulations and deception of consumers, causing economic and asset losses.

Typically, violations of regulations on trademarks of reputable enterprises in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) can be mentioned. Some business units do not register their business or do business when they are not eligible.

Mr. Tran Minh Loan, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Gas Association said that this partly resulted from "shortcomings" in the legal system.

“State management of business activities has difficulties and complications that need to be further considered, amended and supplemented so that the provisions of the law are appropriate and have the least obstacles to production and business practices, for example, the state management of trademark ownership rights of LPG bottles,” said Mr. Tran Minh Loan.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Hanh, representative of Totalgaz Vietnam Co., Ltd., emphasized that the act of producing anti-counterfeiting stamps and sealing fake stretch films attached to LPG bottles, each local management agency had sanctioned administrative violations based on different legal provisions.

Specifically, in Decree 98/2020/ND-CP stipulating penalties for administrative violations in commercial activities, production and trading of counterfeit and banned goods and consumer protection; Decree 99/2020/ND-CP stipulating penalties for administrative violations in the field of oil and gas, petroleum and gas trading; and Decree 99/2013/ND-CP stipulating penalties for administrative violations in the field of industrial property.

“The application of different legal provisions leads to completely different forms of additional sanctions and remedial measures,” said Ms. Hanh.

Regarding gas business management, Mr. Hoang Anh Tuan, Deputy Director of the Domestic Market Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade), said some LPG trading enterprises illegally appropriated LPG bottles of reputable enterprises, many LPG bottles which were appropriated, cut carrying ropes, grinded bottles, untested and put into circulation on the market tended to be more complicated and sophisticated, potentially causing unsafety, gas leaks, fires and explosions, threatening property and lives.

In addition, there are currently no specific regulations for enterprises trading LPG bottles, pouring LPG into bottles or exchanging and returning LPG bottles, or LPG bottle exchange agreements were not strictly implemented, leading to appropriating LPG bottles, which made it difficult to control business activities.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said a number of policies should soon be reviewed and adjusted in time to suit reality; some regulations need to be replaced or adjusted to ensure feasibility.

Mr. Tran Minh Loan suggested that the management agencies should continue to amend, supplement and complete the provisions of the law on the management of LPG business activities and sanctions for violations; strengthen inspection and strictly handle violations.

“During the process of law-making, the association proposed to the competent authorities to pay more attention, discuss with the association and enterprises to handle difficulties and problems of enterprises so that the regulations are promulgated suitable with the reality of production and business activities as best as possible,” said emphasized Mr. Tran Minh Loan.

In order to strengthen sanctions, according to Ms. Nguyen Thi Hanh, there should be uniform guidance on applying a decree to handle acts of illegally pouring and trading in counterfeit branded goods in the gas business sector.

“If they have been administratively sanctioned but still commit acts again, they must be penalized for the crime of infringing on industrial property rights rather than continuing to sanction administrative violations and continuing to operate, even secretly operating during the suspension period,” Ms. Hanh said.

Annual LPG consumption in Vietnam is about 2.2-2.3 million tons, mainly serving civil and commercial demand. In which, Dinh Co Gas Processing Plant provides about 220,000-250,000 tons per year. Ca Mau gas processing Plant supplies about 130,000-150,000 tons per year. Dung Quat oil refinery Plant supplies about 480,000-500,000 tons per year. Imported sources are about 1.25 - 1.3 million tons per year.

The future gas development plan includes expanding search and exploration activities to provide more reserves and production output in potential, deep and offshore areas; gas industry development; prioritizing investment in technical infrastructure in service of liquefied natural gas (LNG) import and consumption; ensure the ability to import 8 billion m3 of LNG in 2030 and 15 billion m3 in 2045; strive to meet 70% of the national LPG market share.

By Thanh Nguyen/ Binh Minh

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