Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stressed that there are no ‘restricted areas’ in preventing and combating smuggling when he urged the authorities of the northern province of Quang Ninh to step up their fight against illicit trade.
Deputy PM Phuc, who is also the head of the National Steering Committee on the Prevention and Control of Smuggling, Trade Fraud and Fake Commodities, made the emphasis while he was speaking to local officials during his overseeing trip to border gates and border guard stations in the province on Tuesday.
During the trip, he urged the leaders of the province, Mong Cai Town and local border guard forces to strengthen inspection, supervision and co-ordination in anti-smuggling activities.
He affirmed that there are no “restricted areas” in the fight against smuggling, emphasizing that any violations anywhere will strictly be handled.
He requested that specific responsibilities must be assigned to each unit in each location to ensure the effectiveness of anti-smuggling operations.
“If a case of goods smuggling, trade fraud, goods counterfeiting, or trading in banned goods is detected in a location, the leader of the anti-smuggling unit in that location must be held responsible for it,” Deputy PM Phuc stressed.
As there is about a fortnight before the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, which will fall on February 19, the official called on provincial authorities to put forth more effort in combating smuggling as well as goods counterfeiting and trading in contaminated food or illegally imported poultry.
According to statistics, relevant provincial agencies have detected and handled more than 2,500 cases of illicit trade, trade fraud, and good counterfeiting and trading in fake goods in 2014.
Of these cases, 86 involving 126 people have been brought to court.
Local authorities also handled about 3,000 administrative violations in the field of trade and issued fines totaling over VND76 billion (US$3.56 million), and made retroactive tax collection of nearly VND190 billion ($8.91 million) last year.
Lieutenant General Nguyen Tien Luc, deputy head of the General Department of Police under the Ministry of Public Security, proposed that Deputy PM Phuc consider increasing penalties for smuggling charges, both in economic and criminal handling, to deter violators and thereby reduce illicit trade.
So far, only 1 percent of the total number of smuggling cases has been treated criminally, Luc said.