Strengthening anti-smuggling at the end of the year

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Strengthening anti-smuggling at the end of the year
The Market Surveillance and Police of Nam Dinh province coordinated inspecting infringing goods in October. Photo: Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance.

Smuggling still takes place complicatedly

At the meeting to set out the task of the National Steering Committees in the fourth quarter of 2022, Deputy Minister of Public Security Nguyen Van Long, Deputy Head of the National Steering Committees 389, said that previously, contraband goods were mainly transported across trails and crossing border of the Northern Border. Currently, the tricks mainly occur in southern provinces' border areas and official routes.

The smugglers have abused the establishment of enterprises to open declarations and import goods under official-quota trade. This is one of the tricks that the Customs face difficulties in controlling. In addition, some enterprises have been abused as authorized economic operators, export processing enterprises, and manufacturing and assembly enterprises in Vietnam for smuggling, origin fraud and tax evasion.

For example, in Bac Giang, the Police authority has handled enterprises for illegal production of solar batteries, with the value of infringing products of about VND100 billion.

"In the land border, especially in the Northern area, when China has further tightened controls to prevent and control the Covid-19 pandemic, the smuggling has plunged. Therefore, it is forecast that the smugglers have changed their operation on air, sea and Southwest border routes, "said Long.

According to the Director General of Vietnam Customs Nguyen Van Can, in the third quarter and the first nine months of the year, the Customs detected and handled about 1,3000 customs offences.

The Customs force has closely controlled and prevented cases of illegal drug transportation, especially methamphetamine, by air, sea routes, land border gates and via express delivery services in central provinces.

The Customs authority has detected more large-scale cases through arrest than in previous times. In addition, the Customs and the Economic Police have discovered that enterprises falsely declared goods prices worth billions of VND, showing signs of tax refund fraud and evasion.

"Currently, the Customs has verified the illegal import by enterprises and investigated inventory of goods worth up to VND3,000 billion. However, this is a new method," said Director General Nguyen Van Can.

Director General of the Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance Tran Huu Linh said the Northern border has plunged into the illegal transportation of goods by unofficial-quota trade in border crossings. However, the situation in the border areas of the central and southwestern provinces still takes place complicatedly.

The head of the Crime Prevention and Control Division under the Department of Professional Affairs and Law (Marine Police Command), Le Tran Trung, recently, the smuggling, trade fraud and fake goods by sea tend to decrease. However, smugglers have used more complicated tricks.

The smugglers have transported infringing goods by small-capacity ships. In targeted areas in the Northern area as Hai Phong and Quang Ninh Sea areas, and the Southern areas, such as Con Dao (the sea bordering Indonesia and Malaysia), the southwest (the sea bordering Thailand and Cambodia), objects involved in criminal activities are businesses, individuals, fishermen, hired workers.

Coordinating in information exchange

Mr Nguyen Van Long said that when China opens its doors, the risk of smuggling may happen in the last months of the year. Therefore, law enforcement forces should strictly control and closely coordinate among the forces of Customs, Border Guard, Market Surveillance, and Coast Guard with the police force, especially the Economic Police and Economic Security, to prevent smuggling.

In the Northern area, the forces should focus on controlling the provinces of Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Lang Son, Lao Cai, and Hanoi; the Central region as Ha Tinh, Quang Tri Kon Tum; the Southwest region as Tay Ninh, Long An, Dong Thap, An Giang. In addition, forces should monitor the air and railway routes. Furthermore, the Ministry of Public Security works closely with ministries and sectors to provide plans for combating smuggling and trade fraud.

According to Mr Le Tran Trung, at the end of the year, when consumer demand increases, the risk of smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods tends to be more complicated, especially before, during and after the Lunar New Year. On the other hand, when the land border, especially in the northern provinces, is controlled, the risk of smuggling at sea will be complicated. As a result, the Coast Guard identified several targeted commodities, such as petrol and sugar, especially consumer goods, for the Lunar New Year.

"In addition to the drastic performance of the Coast Guard in developing and implementing plans to combat crimes on the sea route, it is necessary to exchange information between the law enforcement forces to fight against trade fraud and fake goods effectively," Trung said.

"In the domestic market, the market surveillance force has detected many cases of transporting smuggled goods in large quantities in HCM City, Hanoi, Bac Giang and Bac Ninh. Therefore, in the last months of the year, the market surveillance force has developed plans to control items such as alcohol, beer and soft drinks, especially in big cities such as Hanoi and HCM City," Linh.

On September 13, 2022, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh - Head of the National Steering Committee for anti-Smuggling, Commercial Fraud and Counterfeit Goods, issued Plan 92/KH-BCD389 on strengthening combat smuggling, commercial fraud and counterfeit goods on border, sea and inland areas. This plan will be implemented within 3 years, from September 15, 2022 to September 15, 2025.

The purpose of the plan is to prevent proactively and strictly handle smuggling, commercial fraud, illegal cross-border transportation of goods, storage of banned goods, smuggled goods, counterfeit goods, and goods infringing upon intellectual property rights; stabilize order, ensure compliance with the law, create favorable conditions for production, business, import and export activities; promote the country's socio-economic development, protect the rights and interests of legitimate businesses and consumers; improve the effectiveness of anti-smuggling, commercial fraud and counterfeiting in the new situation.

By Quang Hung/Ngoc Loan

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