Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued a dispatch urging ministries and localities to intensify counter initiatives against smuggling, trade fraud and fake commodities, especially during the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.

Deputy PM Phuc, who is also head of the National Steering Committee for the Prevention and Control of Smuggling, Trade Fraud and Fake Commodities, requested relevant agencies to strengthen their inspections at border gates, border areas and major markets and quickly work to detect and counter any violations.

He asked that special attention should be devoted to goods in high demand during Tet, including ensuring the safety of beverages, confectionaries, fruits, and food.

Phuc stressed the importance of coordination and sharing information among authorised agencies and localities in anti-smuggling activities, as well as enhancing anti-smuggling communications to raise public awareness and encourage the prioritisation of Vietnamese goods.

Meanwhile, the Deputy PM warned of strict punishments on leaders of ministries and localities for smuggling and trade fraud detection during a working session with key leaders of the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh on February 3.

Quang Ninh, which shares a border with China , handled 2,514 smuggling and trade fraud cases in 2014 including criminal proceedings against 126 individuals, according to a provincial report. Over 76 billion VND (3.6 million USD) worth of goods were seized during the year, it said.

According to the report, as many as 915 cases of domestic trade fraud and tax evasion were uncovered, adding that nearly 60 billion VND (2.8 million USD) were collected as administrative fine with 190 billion VND (8.9 million USD) in reclaimed taxes.-VNA