Vietnam orders tobacco firms to pay more for anti-smuggling fund

Thanh Nien News

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A boat carrying tobaccos smuggled from Cambodia travels on a canal in the Mekong Delta province of Long An. Photo: Hoang Phuong A boat carrying tobaccos smuggled from Cambodia travels on a canal in the Mekong Delta province of Long An. Photo: Hoang Phuong

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Vietnamese tobacco firms have been asked to more than triple their contribution to a compulsory funding initiative aimed at cracking down on contraband in the country. 
According to a new regulation, the Tobacco Association is now required to pay VND3,500 (16 US cents) for each smuggled or counterfeit 20-cigarette pack confiscated in Vietnam, local media reported. 
The rule is applied for all cigarettes, irrespective of the brand. The old fee was VND1,100 a pack. 
Around 70 percent of the payment will be given to task forces directly dealing with the smugglers, 17 percent to officials in command and the rest to promote clean and safe methods for destroying the illegal goods.
Vu Van Cuong, chairman of Vietnam National Tobacco Corporation, has several times asked to pay more for the fight against smugglers to make it more effective.
Cigarette imports are banned in Vietnam, but smuggling has deprived the country an estimated VND6.5 trillion ($304.7 million) in tax revenue every year.
Cigarette smuggling, particularly the trade of counterfeits, has long believed to have well-established links to organized crime and terrorism. 

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