How to trade in hand-carried goods in order not to be considered as trading contraband ones?

“Hand-carried goods” is not a legal term but are commonly called like that by consumers. This concept is implicitly understood that goods are brought from abroad to Vietnam through being sent by acquaintances abroad, individuals traveling abroad, etc., “carried” or sent back to Vietnam as luggage.

Especially, in recent years, the business of “hand-carried goods” has become more and more popular, even favored by both sellers and consumers for many reasons, mainly due to genuine products, guaranteed quality, and cheaper price due to not having to be incurred import taxes. However, not just “carrying” from abroad is legal trading. Selling “hand-carried goods” is considered as a legal activity only if the conditions of the law are complied with. If not, these “hand-carried goods” will be considered as smuggled goods. As a result, seller will have to bear heavy fines according to the law.

HOW TO TRADE IN HAND-CARRIED GOODS IN ORDER NOT TO BE CONSIDERED AS TRADING CONTRABAND ONES?

Clause 6, Article 3 of Decree No.98/2020/ND-CP stipulates contraband goods include:

  • Imported goods included in the list of goods banned from import or temporarily suspended from import as prescribed by law, unless they are imported with the Prime Minister’s permission;
  • Goods imported WITHOUT going through a prescribed border checkpoint or WITHOUT following customs procedures as prescribed by law, or the information on quantities or types of which is falsified when following customs procedures;
  • Imported goods sold on the market WITHOUT accompanied invoices and documents as prescribed by law, or with unlawful invoices and documents in accordance with the invoices management law;
  • Goods imported under license without required import license;
  • Goods imported under conditions without meeting given import conditions as prescribed by law;
  • Goods, which are subject to import labeling as prescribed by law, imported WITHOUT bearing stamps as prescribed or with bearing false or used stamps.

Therefore, in order to sell “hand-carried goods” without being fined, the above conditions must be met. If it fails, it shall be considered as “contraband goods” and sanctioned as follows:

Fines for trading in contraband goods?

Pursuant to Article 15 of Decree 98/2020/ND-CP, the following fines shall be imposed for trading in contraband goods:

No The value of contraband goods Fines
1 Less than VND 3.000.000 From VND 500.000 to VND 1.000.000
2 From VND 3.000.000 to under VND 5.000.000 From VND 1.000.000 to VND 2.000.000
3 From VND 5.000.000 to under VND 10.000.000 From VND 2.000.000 to VND 4.000.000
4 From VND 10.000.000 to under VND 20.000.000 From VND 4.000.000 to VND 6.000.000
5 From VND 20.000.000 to under VND 30.000.000 From VND 6.000.000 to VND 10.000.000
6 From VND 30.000.000 to under VND 50.000.000 From VND 10.000.000 to VND 20.000.000
7 From VND 50.000.000 to under VND 70.000.000 From VND 20.000.000 to VND 30.000.000
8 From VND 70.000.000 to under VND 100.000.000 From VND 30.000.000 to VND 40.000.000
9 VND 100.000.000 or more From VND 40.000.000 to VND 50.000.000
  • The fine that is TWICE AS MUCH AS the corresponding fine for trading in contraband goods stated above shall be imposed in the following cases:
  • The violating entity directly involves the illegal import of goods worth less than VND 100.000.000 or VND 100.000.000 or more, if not liable to criminal prosecution;
  • The contraband goods are included in the list of goods banned from import or temporarily suspended from import;
  • The contraband goods are foods, food additives, food processing aids, food preservatives, preventive drugs, drugs, medicinal ingredients, cosmetics, medical devices, chemicals, insecticidal and microbicidal preparations for household and medical use, aqua environmental remediation products, livestock waste treatment products, veterinary drugs, fertilizers, cement, animal feeds, pesticides, growth stimulants, plant varieties or animal breeds.
  • In addition, the monetary fines stated above shall be also imposed for:
  • deliberate act of transporting contraband goods;
  • deliberate act of storing contraband goods;
  • deliberate act of delivering contraband goods.
  • In addition, under some specific circumstances, violating individuals and organizations are also subject to additional penalties such as confiscation of material evidence, means of transport, and is compelled to return any benefits illegally obtained from one of the violations (if any).

Note:

THE ABOVE PENALTIES SHALL BE IMPOSED TO INDIVIDUALS. FOR ORGANIZATIONS, the penalties shall be imposed TWICE AS MUCH AS that of individuals.

Besides, the act of trading “contraband goods” can also be faced criminal prosecution for the crime of Smuggling under Article 188 of the Criminal Code 2015 amended and supplemented in 2017.

From the above analysis, it can be seen that the sanctions for trading contraband goods are strict. Therefore, before trading “hand-carried goods”, it is crucial to find out legal regulations to ensure that the business complies with the provisions of the law.

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