Tricks of sugar smuggling across border gate

VCN – Legalizing smuggled sugar by using invoices and documents, even bringing packages from the country to abroad for packaging, and then transporting smuggled goods across the border is considered one of the challenges for the law enforcement authorities in combating smuggling, commercial fraud and counterfeit goods.
Seven enterprises assigned to import over 100,000 tonnes of sugar Seven enterprises assigned to import over 100,000 tonnes of sugar
Applying trade remedies for some cane sugar products Applying trade remedies for some cane sugar products
Strictly handling sugar smuggling Strictly handling sugar smuggling
Tricks of sugar smuggling across border gate
Thai smuggled sugar seized by Quang Tri Customs Enforcement Team. Photo: Q.H

Smuggled sugar is turned into domestically produced sugar

At the meeting to review the performance in the third quarter of 2022 of the National Steering Committee 389, Deputy Director of the Police Department for Corruption, Smuggling and Economic Crimes (C03-Ministry of Public Security) Vu Nhu Ha said that since the Ministry of Industry and Trade issued a circular on the application of trade remedies against Thai sugar products, there has been a situation that Thai sugar is attached origin and package of neighbouring countries and then is officially imported to Vietnam. This situation has taken place complicatedly in a large quantity. However, smugglers have presented customs dossiers of goods with valid origins.

According to Mr Vu Nhu Ha, local economic police forces have coordinated with the Customs authority to inspect and grasp internal and external information. However, through inspection, most enterprises were granted permits for sugar production and trading, so handling origin fraud faces many difficulties.

In September 2022, the Ministry of Industry and Trade issued a circular on applying trade remedies against sugar products in most countries that show high risks of origin fraud.

Deputy Director of the Department for Drug and Crime Prevention under the Border Guard Command Do Ngoc Canh said the sugar smuggling mainly takes on the Southwest border. Smugglers regular change smuggling tricks. They abused border crossing to transport smuggled goods into Vietnam. After successfully shipping these goods inland, the smugglers continue to legalize them by using invoices, turning them into domestically produced goods. More sophisticatedly, the smugglers also bring packages from the country abroad for packaging, then transport the smuggled goods across the border, making it difficult for law enforcement forces to check and arrest.

According to the Director General of the Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance Tran Huu Linh, while the illegal transportation of goods via unofficial-quota trade on the Northern border is controlled, the smuggling and illegal transportation of goods still take place complicatedly on the Southwestern border. A large volume of goods has been smuggled across the border gate through inspection.

"The smuggling of sugar incurred in the third quarter. The sugar smuggling took place across the border areas of Quang Tri and Long An. Due to the high demand for sugar, the market surveillance force has closely controlled this item.

Risk of smuggling via unofficial-quota trade

At the preliminary conference of the National Steering Committee 389, the law enforcement agencies proposed solutions to combat smuggling, commercial fraud and counterfeit goods, including sugar.

Deputy Director of the Police Department for Corruption, Smuggling and Economic Crimes Vu Nhu Ha said that when the sugar products are under strict control via official-quota trade, the items are at risk of smuggling via unofficial-quota trade. Therefore, localities must take strict control measures for sugar smuggling into Vietnam, especially border provinces.

According to the Deputy Director of the Department for Drug and Crime Prevention, Do Ngoc Canh, the last months of the year will be considered the peak of the fight against cross-border smuggling, with potential risks at the Vietnam-Cambodia Border and on the sea. In the Southwestern Border, besides managing the law enforcement forces, technical measures should be used, such as building fences in the border area, which are considered effective solutions.

"The Standing Office of the National Steering Committee 389 needs to further coordinate with ministries, government agencies and law enforcement forces in inspecting and urging the performance, creating motivation for forces in the anti-smuggling. In addition, sectors and localities need to strengthen collaboration to avoid the omission of criminals, "said Do Ngoc Canh.

Currently, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has instructed local customs departments to implement the decisions of the Ministry of Industry and Trade on the application of measures to prevent the evasion of trade remedies against some cane sugar products.

Accordingly, to ensure the accurate declaration for imported goods, the country's top customs regulator requires the local customs departments to instruct importers subject to the application of trade remedies, declaration of anti-dumping tax and anti-subsidy tax under the instructions in the anti-dumping tax code table used in VNACCS which has been posted on the website: https://www.customs. gov.vn with the tax rate as the total tax rate of anti-dumping tax and anti-subsidy tax specified at Point 3.1, Section 3 of the notice issued together with Decision 1514/QD-BCT.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs requests the customs departments to direct Customs officers to check documents showing the goods origin and manufacturer's quality certificate.

By Quang Hung/Ngoc Loan

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