Vietnam scraps plan to ban sidewalk beer sales

By Manh Quan, Thanh Nien News

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Sidewalk eateries (most of which sell beer) have become a cultural fixture of life in urban Vietnam. Photo: Tran Viet Duc Sidewalk eateries (most of which sell beer) have become a cultural fixture of life in urban Vietnam. Photo: Tran Viet Duc

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The Ministry of Industry and Trade has withdrawn its proposed ban on sidewalk alcohol sales following widespread criticism.
Pham Chi Dung, director of the ministry’s light industry department, said they shelved the proposal following several discussions on the draft decree on producing and trading alcohol products.
“It is illegal to occupy sidewalks for trading in many places and beer is just one of many products being sold in this manner,” he said, echoing a criticism raised during internal reviews of the proposal.
“Other controversial proposals were also eliminated, including banning the sale of alcohol to pregnant and breastfeeding women and people who exhibit “signs of being drunk and/or diseased due to alcohol abuse.”
Instead, the ministry called for a new rule mandating warning labels on beer, he said.
Dung said the ministry would also continue to seek a law barring the sale of alcohol to people under 18 years old.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s proposed ban had drawn virulent criticism for being ill-conceived and unfeasible.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam produced 2.02 billion liters of beer so far this year, a 6.5 percent increase over last year. The country ranked third in Asia in beer consumption after China and India in a 2011 survey by the Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings.
 

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