Vietnam tightens control over cell phone, wine imports

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The Ministry of Industry and Trade has announced a new rule requiring all cell phone, wine and beauty product imports to go through one of three major seaports in Hai Phong, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.

The new regulation, effective June 1, means importers are no longer allowed to bring these products into Vietnam by air or land. The ministry said the move is part of efforts to fight trade fraud and protect local consumers from counterfeits.

News website VnExpress Thursday cited importers as saying that most of the products are now imported by air because it's more convenient, compared to sea shipments. They said the new rule will be a major barrier, making it difficult to import the goods.

An unnamed importer said it would take 30-45 days for a container ship to arrive while transporting goods by air takes no more than a week. Besides, it would be a waste of money if importers cannot fill up a whole container on a ship, he added.

Cell phones, wines and beauty products, along with tobacco and cars, are placed on a restricted list. Imports of this group alone, between January and April, surged 17.4 percent from a year ago to US$2.03 billion, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

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