Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered customs officers to strengthen their role in the fight against smuggling on Monday, warning of a deluge of dangerous counterfeits coming in from China.
Phuc, who doubles as head of the National Steering Committee on the Prevention and Control of Smuggling, Trade Fraud and Fake Goods, made the request at a working session with the Vietnam Customs General Department in Hanoi.
Deputy Finance Minister Do Hoang Anh Tuan told Phuc that smuggled and fake goods pouring in from China pose huge risks to the health of the Vietnamese people and the Vietnamese economy.
He called on the government to set up technical barriers to prevent the flow of smuggled and fake goods, especially steel, fertilizer, cooking oil, animal feed and chemical products.
He also asked provinces bordering China to scrap regulations allowing Vietnamese citizens aged 18 and above to bring goods worth no more than VND2 million (US$94) from China to Vietnam via the border gates, saying that the exemption has facilitated a boom in petty smuggling.
Deputy PM Phuc called on customs officers to be more active in the fight against smuggling and ordered the customs sector to strictly punish any officer found abetting smugglers.
He said authorities must boost their efforts to raise public awareness about smuggling so that the people will not abet smugglers or take part in smuggling activities.