Government taking fight to fraudsters: Deputy PM hinh anh 1Nearly 352,000 packs of smuggled cigarettes with well-known brand names are destroyed in Tay Ninh province.(Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Market surveillance units last year cracked a number of major counterfeit rings countrywide as the fight against trade frauds took place on a scale never seen before, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said.

He was speaking at a meeting to review 2019 tasks of the Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance in Hanoi on January 13.

According to the Directorate’s report, last year, 90,000 violations were discovered, and 500 billion VND (21.6 million USD) in confiscated goods and administrative fines were contributed to the State budget.

Deputy PM Binh praised the Directorate’s efforts which included the capture of two containers holding a large amount of frozen animal innards with questionable origins in Hanoi on December 30, inspections into several well-known clothing stores’ fraudulent practice of putting “Made in Vietnam” tags, or the break-ups of a large-scale sugar smuggling ring in An Giang and neighbouring localities.

Aside from the achievements, Deputy PM Binh has emphasised several weaknesses the market surveillance force need improve.

The professional capacity of surveillance staff remains uneven and there is definitely a small group of officials lacking in responsibility and showing signs of cover-ups, who have been dealt with, Binh said.

The directorate’s human resources as well as its infrastructure and equipment remains insufficient, which hampers the efforts in fighting counterfeit products and trade frauds, Binh said, adding that improvements must also be made quickly to market surveillance-related legal documents to appropriately respond to ever-changing real-life situation.

The Directorate will need to be more prepared and better itself against the complicated developments of trade frauds, fake goods and food safety violations in 2020, Binh said.

Market surveillance authorities must be categorically resolute in removing from its force any official or staff who transgresses against the law, commits bureaucratic harassments while on duty or fails to complete their missions, Binh said, ordering a construction of a “strong, corruption-free” market surveillance force.

He asked the Directorate to follow orders from the Government, the Prime Minister, the National Steering Committee to fight smuggling, commercial frauds and counterfeit goods (National Committee 389) and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to effectively deal with these issues, in order to create favourable conditions for businesses and better protect consumers’ interests.

Market surveillance units were also told to cooperate with local governments as well as the police, customs and tax authorities, border guards to fight against low-quality products, trade of forbidden products and food safety violation cases, the Deputy PM said.

Application of information technology and robust cooperation with international partners should also be a focus in the new era, Binh said.

Deputy PM Binh has assigned the Government Office to compile the directorate’s proposals on the support it needs to function better – including partial retention of the ‘revenues’ from administrative fines issued, support from local governments to facilitate the construction of local market surveillance units, and use of vehicles with priority badges – and forward to relevant authorities./.