E-Malt.com News article: Vietnam: Ministry of Industry and Trade tries to control beer production and consumption but province authorities encourage people to drink local beer
While Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) attempts to control beer production and consumption, the leaders of many provinces and cities are encouraging people to drink beer, VietnamNet Bridge reported on September 8.
In a draft decree on beer production and consumption, MOIT stipulates that the activities of selling beer at schools, hospitals, offices, on the pavement, or to those who show “signs of getting drunk”, pregnant women, breast-feeding women, or to those who have abuse alcohol, will be considered illegal.
The ministry believes that if the beer production and market can be controlled with measures suggested in the draft decree, the brewery industry will develop well and increase revenue from beer for the state budget.
It estimates that once the decree takes effect, taxes will increase by VND3.1 trillion a year. The fee expected to be collected from beer production licensing would be about VND3.5 billion.
The draft decree which has been opened for public opinion has been described as “impractical” and “unfeasible”.
Phan Chi Dung, director of the MOIT’s Light Industry Department, admitted that it is difficult to clarify “the people with signs of getting drunk”, “pregnant women” and “breastfeeding women”.
He said that the enforcement of the decree, if it is approved, will depend on people’s awareness, and that the same difficulties with such sales have occurred in many other countries.
He also said that the intention of prohibiting to sell beer on the pavement has faced the strongest opposition from the public, especially from beer shop owners.
In fact, pavement beer shops are still allowed in many countries, but regulations on security and food hygiene are respected. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, these standards are often not met.
Another official of MOIT also commented that it is not feasible to prohibit selling beer on the pavement in Vietnam, because drinking beer in the open air on pavement is a typical characteristic of Vietnamese, which cannot be changed immediately.
In the past, competent agencies once prohibited sales of beer products at bus stations, and prohibited sales of beer after 8 pm, but the ban was never really enforced.
In related news, the Nghe An provincial authorities have issued a dispatch, calling on people to increase consumption of Hanoi, Saigon and Vida branded beer.
Nguyen Huy Quang, director of the Ministry of Health’s Legal Department, noted that he had never seen such a “strange” document, saying that the document needs to be removed because it is “abnormal”.
While economists believe that the instruction by the provincial authorities violates the Competition Law, Nghe An province’s Chair Nguyen Xuan Duong denied this, saying that it was similar to calling on Vietnamese people to use Vietnamese goods.
10 September, 2014