Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said about 200 billion VND (9.4 million USD) worth of goods had been stocked to prepare for the approaching holiday and prices would remain under control.

*With just more than a month before the Tet holiday, what steps have been taken by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to make sure there will be ample goods for Tet?

Tet has always been an important time for the people, as well as for the ministry. In December, the ministry dispatched task forces to major cities and provinces such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang and Can Tho to help them prepare for Tet.

Based on localities' reports submitted to the ministry, 200 billion VND (9.4 million USD) worth of goods has been stocked up just for the holidays – a 10 percent increase compared with last year.

The ministry is currently working to improve food hygiene and safety. Market watch forces in the country have been ordered to focus on tracking and supervising foods sold in the market. In addition, patrol teams have been sent to markets to collect on-site feedback. Their mission is also to quickly relay information on goods' movements in the markets back to the ministry, so it can make timely policy adjustments to keep goods in supply.

*What has been done to keep commodity prices under control for the upcoming holiday?

The Government had established a Steering Committee for Price Management, of which the Ministry of Commerce is a member. Keeping prices of commodities under control during the holiday is an important objective of the committee.

We understand that workers across the country in industrial zones and complexes are among the most vulnerable if prices spike during the holidays. Most of them will only be on vacation two or three days before, and the closer we are to the holidays, the more likely prices are going to increase.

In some years, increased prices during Tet took up to 30 to 40 percent – or even half – of workers' salaries, which don't leave much room for spending to begin with.

This year, the ministry ordered local commerce departments to hold Vietnamese product fairs in rural areas and bring goods to industrial zones and complexes in large quantities on numerous occasions before Tet. This is also part of our effort to avoid a huge surge in demand right before the holiday.

*Tet has always been prime time for smuggled and counterfeit goods. What's the ministry's plan to prevent them from entering the market this year?

We have taken major steps in 2014 to fight smuggling and counterfeit goods. My personal opinion is that localities play a vital role in the fight against smuggling. This is especially true during Tet.

The ministry is co-operating with local commerce departments, market watch forces, customs offices and border patrols to stop smuggled and counterfeit goods that will be in high demand during the holiday. Authorities will also target products prohibited by the State, such as firecrackers and harmful toys.-VNA