Vietnam beefs up luxury import inspections

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Vietnamese authorities have stepped up inspections on incoming shipments of alcohol, cosmetics and mobile phones based on suspicion that traders have tried to circumvent new restrictions on the import of luxury items.

The country's anti-conterfeit and anti-smuggling agency has asked police and customs officials to investigate how the products are imported into the country and where they come from, VnExpress reported Monday.

The order came two weeks after customs officials at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City reported that several importers were sneaking mobile phones into the country in pieces.

They charged that the new tactic was part of an effort to circumvent a new rule that strictly requires all alcohol, cosmetics and mobile phones to be imported via one of three Vietnamese seaports. Importers also need to provide authorization documents notarized by Vietnamese diplomatic representatives in the country of origin.

According to the ministry, the new rule was designed to prevent counterfeit and low-quality goods from entering Vietnam.

VnExpress said that at least 50 importers have requested the government to ease the rule. Some said that it's less expensive and time-consuming to imports the products by air.

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