Strictly Dealing with Sugar Smuggling

10:36:43 AM | 8/11/2019

According to the statistics of the functional forces, from 2018 to the end of September, 2019, they discovered, handled more than 876 cases, sanctioned administrative violations of over VND1 billion, seized more than 3,000 tons of sugar in violation, worth over VND12 billion. The major violations are smuggled sugar, breach of goods labels and sugar with unclear sources.

The situation of smuggling and illegal transportation of sugar across the border has continued to take place in a complex direction, with an increasing trend. Smuggled sugar into Vietnam mainly comes from Thailand, through Cambodia to the border of Southwest provinces and then put into consumption markets.

Smuggled roads are mainly concentrated in key provinces such as Ho Chi Minh City, An Giang, Long An, Tay Ninh, Dong Thap, Quang Tri, Kien Giang, Binh Phuoc. Smuggling and illegal transportation of Thai sugar in those key areas are complicated with increasingly sophisticated methods and tricks. One common tactic used by smugglers and illegal traders of smuggling sugar is to carry out production, extraction, mixture and packaging. After packing, smuggled sugar will turn into domestic sugar for consumption.

Facing the increasing sugar smuggling across the border, especially in some Southwestern provinces in recent years, Standing Agency, Standing Office of the Steering Committee 389 have built many fighting plans such as plan 1196/KH-BTC dated October 4, 2019 of the Ministry of Finance on organizing the arrest and handling of some smugglers and individuals illegally transporting goods across the Southwest border (Standing Agency); The Standing Office's plan 27/KH-VPTT of June 14, 2019, on strengthening coordination of combatting smuggling and illegal cross-border goods transportation in key border provinces of Vietnam and Cambodia.

Customs leaders proposed that tracing the origin of sugar products is a mandatory requirement for all sugar production and processing facilities. Tracing systems should incorporate technology such as the use of QR codes to enable authorities to verify the legality and origin of goods quickly, to deal more effectively with smuggling sugar and illicit trade of smuggling sugar.

 The Investment Law was also proposed to amend, bringing production activities, extracting, mixing and packaging sugar into the list of conditional business investment sectors; considering bringing production, extraction, mixing and packaging of sugar into business areas under the specialized management of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

It is necessary to strictly handle civil servants who protect and abet the smuggling and trade frauds of smuggled sugar; carry out the rotation of civil servants according to regulations, especially in the "sensitive" positions, in large markets prone to negativity and corruption. Another proposal is to adjust regulations on liquidation of smuggled sugar, only allowing licensed units (of conditional business type) participating in the auction. In the immediate future, only production units of Vietnam Sugarcane and Sugar Association will be allowed to participate. In addition, there is a need of the Ministry of Public Security’ close coordination to guide the relevant localities to unify the handling of illegal means of transporting sugar.

Le Hien