DIRECTIVE No. 853/1997/CT/TTg OF OCTOBER 11, 1997 ON THE COMBAT AGAINST SMUGGLING IN THE NEW SITUATION
Government Resolution No. 85-CP of July 11, 1997 already set forth a number of urgent anti-smuggling measures and on July 16, 1997 the Prime Minister issued Official Telegram No. 51-VI urging the different levels and branches to organize the implementation of this Resolution. Yet, recently smuggling and particularly trade frauds to evade tax have occurred in a very grave manner. Several ministries, branches and localities showed a lax management over import and export activities and, in exceptional cases, some State management agency or functional agency ignored or even aided and abetted the smugglers in their activities. Not a few import-export companies, including those run by the police and the army and the economic units of the Party and social organizations, for their own or local interests, have been directly involved in smuggling or used by smugglers as their "shields". The anti-smuggling specialized forces lacked a close coordination, and their activities, here and there, now and then, were overlapping or even negated one another. There existed a situation that local and foreign smugglers connected with degraded elements within the anti-smuggling forces to manipulate these agencies or incapacitate their operations whilst there was a lack of inspection and supervision by the higher level over the lower levels. A number of violations were not strictly dealt with and some anti-smuggling officials even acted as "security guards" for smuggling activities. The above-said situation has resulted in dangerous social and economic consequences, hampering the process of healthy development of the national economy.
To firmly maintain the national discipline and laws and restore order in trading activities, the Prime Minister hereby requests the ministers, the heads of the ministerial-level agencies and agencies attached to the Government and the presidents of the People�s Committees of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government to immediately carry out the following tasks:
1. The anti-smuggling fight is an important, constant and long-lasting task of our State. Therefore, the administration of all levels should concentrate forces for resolutely combating smuggling and trade fraudulence, especially organized smuggling activities. From now till the end of the first quarter of 1998, the General Department of Customs shall assume the prime responsibility for, with the involvement of the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Trade and the Ministry of Finance, conducting a general inspection of goods for which the import or export procedures are being processed at the sea ports and border gates to detect illegally imported goods and goods in trade frauds for tax evasion. With regard to the batches of goods in transit to inland localities and goods allowed to be inspected outside the border gate area, they must be preliminarily checked right at the first entry port and then immediately lead-sealed up by the customs office, if it is impossible to lead-seal up the goods, the customs office must have its officer to go on board the transport means and thoroughly check the goods at the set destination point.
The Ministry of Trade shall assume the main responsibility for, with the involvement of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Finance, conducting a general inspection of business operations of organizations and individuals that own shops dealing in imported goods and supplies so as to make the domestic market healthy; and at the same time, take measures to compel enterprises to trade only in goods items under their business registration
The ministries, branches, the People�s Committees of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government shall conduct a general inspection of their attached import and export enterprises (including the economic units run by the Party or social organizations, the police and the army) regarding their business operations, financial expenditure and revenue regime, cost-and-profit accounting and accountancy...
The ministries and branches with the anti-smuggling function shall immediately draw up detailed anti-smuggling plans according to their assigned tasks and responsibilities.
2. To strictly deal with cases of smuggling and trade fraudulence; to investigate, conclude and promptly bring to trial a number of typical smuggling cases for the purpose of deterrence and education. If the units engaged in import and export activities commit any act of trade fraudulence in order to evade tax, the customs office shall immediately stop processing the import or export procedures for these units and not accept any blame on the foreign party for the delivery of wrong goods in order to get back the goods upon the discovery thereof. The ministers, the heads of the ministerial-level agencies and agencies attached to the Government and the presidents of the People�s Committees of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government shall issue decisions to suspend the operation or revoke import and export business permits, of violating units. All types of foreign-made goods imported not through the border gates or through the border gates without declarations; or with false declarations; goods on sale at the shops, left in stock or being transported on route without invoices and vouchers proving that they are legally imported, shall all be considered smuggled goods and must be confiscated and strictly dealt with. Any means involved in the transport of smuggled goods shall be handled according to law, its owner or the head of the unit that owns such means shall be also handled according to the seriousness of the violation. All material evidences of the smuggling cases shall be confiscated and promptly handled; the money collected from anti-smuggling activities, after minussing the deduction for rewards to units and individuals as prescribed, shall be left for the local budgets in service of the infrastructure construction, social welfare and the anti-smuggling work, with special priority given to border communes.
3. The ministries and branches at central level shall, together with the localities, especially the border and coastal localities, have to well implement the economic, cultural and social policies so as to improve of the people�s lives in all aspects through the hunger elimination and poverty alleviation programs, the forestation program 327 and other economic, cultural and social projects..., ensuring a stable life for the people and preventing the smugglers from hiring them for smuggling purposes.
The People�s Committees of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government shall, under the direct instruction of the local Party committees and the supervision of the People�s Councils, closely manage the central and local economic units based in the localities and engaged in import and export activities; and direct the district/commune People's Committees as well as local functional branches: The market management, police, customs, tax offices should devise detailed anti-smuggling plans, investigate and closely follow smuggling rings, organizations and individuals as well as business households trading in smuggled goods so as to concentrate efforts on inspection and handling thereof. The social and mass organizations as well as mass media agencies shall coordinate with the local administration to make the people fully aware of adverse effects of smuggling as a national "disaster" and of the combat against smuggling as the common task of the entire Party, the entire people and all branches and levels, considering the creation of conditions and support for the anti-smuggling forces as well as the non-support for smugglers in any form as a manifestation of patriotism and civil responsibility.
The ministries, branches and the People�s Committees of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government shall have to consolidate and build a strong, honest and well-equipped anti-smuggling force capable of discovering and effectively preventing all smuggling activities. The heads of the ministries and branches, the presidents of the People�s Committees of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government shall directly direct and take responsibility to the Prime Minister for the anti-smuggling work of their ministries, branches and localities. The ministries, branches and the People�s Committees of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government shall have to submit monthly reports on the result of the anti-smuggling work to the Prime Minister.
4. The General Department of Customs shall have to assume the prime responsibility and coordinate with the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Finance and concerned ministries and branches in organizing the execution of this Directive. The Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Trade and the General Department of Customs shall immediately issue a joint circular guiding the execution of this Directive and the coordination among the anti-smuggling forces.
The General Department of Customs shall assume the main responsibility for the anti-smuggling work on the sea and at the border gates, and take effective measures to prevent the flow of smuggled goods through these ways.
Other ministries and specialized branches involved in the anti-smuggling work shall have the following responsibilities:
- The Ministry of Defense shall be responsible for directing the navy and the border guard to take part in the combat against smuggling on the sea and along the land borderlines. The Ministry of Defense�s forces shall be responsible for fighting smuggling in the territorial waters, the exclusive economic zone and along the land borderlines where there are border guard stations but no customs offices.
- The Ministry of the Interior should apply professional measures in order to discover domestic and trans-national smuggling organizations and rings, clarify and conclude typical smuggling cases and bring them to trial soon; actively support other anti-smuggling forces to accomplish their tasks.
- The Ministry of Trade shall tightly control the granting of import and export quotas, especially the import of goods that have been manufactured in the country. The Ministry should make timely proposals to adjust the commodity policy suitable to the actual situation. The market management force shall assume the prime responsibility for combating illegal trading acts and the trading in illegally imported goods on the domestic market.
- The Ministry of Finance shall have to coordinate with the concerned ministries and branches in managing a number of essential goods such as wine, cigarettes, bicycles, electronics..., by sticking stamps on the imported items. The Ministry of Finance should immediately issue the regulation on the use of money collected from anti-smuggling activities (fines, sale of confiscated goods). For the immediate future, it shall consider and allocate some funding for the procurement of equipment and supplies necessary for the branches� and localities� anti-smuggling activities from now till the end of the first quarter of 1998.
5. The Ministry of Culture and Information shall coordinate with the Nhan Dan (People) newspaper, the Voice of Vietnam Radio Station, the Vietnam Television Station as well as the central and local information and press agencies in planning and organizing the propaganda for the implementation of this work.
The ministers, the heads of the ministerial-level agencies and the agencies attached to the Government and the presidents of the People�s Committees of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government shall have to organize the implementation of this Directive.
The Prime Minister
PHAN VAN KHAI