The import of beer and alcoholic beverages is likely to spike in the lead-up to Tet, the HCM City customs department said.

With less than a month to go for the Lunar New Year, imported liquor and beer are overflowing in supermarkets and shops who said people still have a predilection for foreign brands.

Khanh Sang, an owner of a shop in Nguyen Thong street, District 3, said imported liquors priced at 500,000-1 millionVND (25-50 USD) are very popular.

But those costing above 2 million VND (100 USD), even up to 10 million VND (500 USD), are also in demand.

The Coop.Mart supermarket chain is selling a range of products at 200,000 VND (10 USD) to 7 million VND (350 USD).

The imported products have fancy designs and come with plenty of freebies.

Dao Quang Vinh, a liquor importer and distributor, said this month he has double his import to 6,000 bottles.

Imported beers like Leffe, Corona, Asahi, and Bitburger dominate the market despite costing tens of thousands of dong compared to 7,000 VND - 20,000 VND (0.35-1 USD) for domestic products.

For instance, Leffe from Belgium costs 65,000 VND (3.25 USD), Germany's OEI Stinger costs 30,000 VND (1.5 USD).

Pham Dinh, a beer distributor in District 10, said 30 to 40 different imported beers are now available.

Liquors and beers are imported despite high taxes. Most beers attract an import tariff of 47 percent and VAT of 10 percent.

Besides the VAT, liquors and wines face tariffs and special consumption tax of up 45 percent depending on their alcohol content.

Those with below 20 percent are taxed at 25 percent.

The importers said retail prices will jump by 10-15 percent this year, mainly due to the higher value of the dollar./.