Investigative police check smuggled packages of imported cigarettes (Illustrative photo: VNA)
 
HCM City (VNS/VNA) - HCM City authorities are seeking more effective measures in the fight against counterfeit products, smuggled goods and trade fraud as e-commerce grows at a fast pace, an official has said. 

Speaking at a recent conference, Pham Thanh Kien, standing deputy chairman of the national steering committee against smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit, said: “The use of digital signatures must be better managed” as e-commerce booms. 

“The fight against the activities in the city remains challenging,” he said. “It’s key to tighten inspection of counterfeit goods at major markets like Ben Thanh, Binh Tay and An Dong.” 

HCM City Market Management Department should coordinate with the city police to tighten inspection of smuggled cigarettes in hotspots such as Hoc Mon, Cu Chi and Binh Chanh districts, he said. 

In particular, the licences for fertiliser businesses are now issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, making it more difficult for HCM City Market Management Department to control fake fertiliser on the market. 

Kien also said it is important for the Customs Department to strengthen inspection at air, sea and river routes to prevent trade of drugs and smuggled goods as well as waste in large containers.

He also urged the Taxation Department to intensify supervision of enterprises that transfer prices or have suspicious transactions, adding that it should enhance management of tax collection in the field of e-commerce.

There are now 129,000 e-commerce websites nationwide, of which 80,000 websites are operating well, mostly in HCM City and Hanoi.

Nguyen Van Bach, deputy director of the HCM City Market Management Department, said the trade of smuggled goods through air and seaports has been difficult to manage. 

Due to certain loopholes in the customs sector, many enterprises are declaring that their goods are of low value to evade tax, or they give incorrect declaration of quantity and prices of goods, according to Bach.

In addition, smuggling of cigarettes and refined sugar has become more difficult to deal with as smugglers are using many tricks.

For example, smugglers transport cigarettes by motorbike during out-of-office hours at high speeds and deliberately hit motorbikes driven by law enforcement forces.

They also rent large vehicles to transport smuggled cigarettes, change vehicles constantly, and use fake number plates. 

The city also needs to continue tightening management and inspection of prohibited goods and of products that require a special consumption tax, he said.

Customs forces and border guards should also improve inspection of smuggled goods at the border, he noted.

Smuggling and trade fraud across the border are becoming increasingly sophisticated, he said.

Smuggled products vary from meat, animals, wood, tobacco, sugar, petrol, electronic products and drugs, while in the local market, trade of fake and poor quality products and those of unclear origins occur in many localities, he said.

The department plans to reinforce the fight against smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods in the last months of the year, he added.

In the first six months, nearly 12,500 cases of administrative violations were reported, a drop of 8.66 percent compared to the same period last year, collecting revenue of 2.078 trillion VND (89.42 million USD), down 9.2 percent over the same period. 

In addition, five criminal smuggling and trade fraud cases involving six people were reported and prosecuted.-VNS/VNA