Vietnam to curtail issuing licenses to sell, distribute alcohol

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Vietnam's government has issued a decree to restrict the sale of alcohol, as drunk driving is considered the main source of the recent rash of for the current traffic accidents, while moonshine has killed tens of people.

According to the decreed issued Monday and due to take effect on January 1 of next year, licenses to alcohol drink retailers, traders and distributors will be issued on a limited basis, in accordance with the population of the country or the localities where they operate.

Only one distribution license will be issued for every 400,000 people in Vietnam, it says. Vietnam's population now stands at approximately 87.84 million.

The rate is set at one in every 100,000 in a province for traders, while the number of licenses to retailers is restricted to one in every 1,000 in a district or a town.

The latest decree also includes regulations on manufacturing, including requiring that alcoholic products be properly labeled.

While Vietnam will continue to outlaw the sale of alcohol to people under 18, the new decree will ban alcoholic beverages from being sold at vending machines and online.

At a conference on alcohol abuse organized by the Health Ministry's Vietnam Food Administration in September, it was reported that 62 percent of traffic accidents involved the excessive consumption of alcohol. The rate was 34 percent among fatalities.

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Vietnam recorded 20,594 traffic accidents over the first eight months of this year including 5,897 deaths, according to information provided at another September conference organized by the National Assembly's Defense and Security Committee.

Meanwhile, moonshine killed 66 out of 196 people who were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning between 2007 and August this year, the food administration said.

Excessive alcohol accounted for just 3.4 percent of food poisoning cases, but alcohol accounted for up 26 percent of food poisoning related deaths, it added.

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