Agree with the e-stamp policy

The e-stamp policy for alcohol, beer and cigarettes is necessary, making an important contribution to the fight against counterfeit and contraband goods, and helps consumers easily trace the origin of goods.

e-stamp, policy, contraband goods, cigarettes Alcohol and tobacco products are required to attach paper stamps on each item.

Develop a circular on e-stamp management

Alcohol and tobacco products are required to attach paper stamps on each item. The paper stamps are issued by the tax authorities and customs, then the enterprise will buy machinery to apply them on each product.

To change the management method, Nguyen Huu Tan, Deputy Director of Policy Department, General Department of Taxation, said the Ministry of Finance was collecting suggestions for a draft circular guiding the printing, issuance, management and use of e-stamps. This circular regulates the use of e-stamps for alcohol and tobacco products, including tobacco products imported and produced for domestic consumption; and imported alcohol and domestically-produced alcohol.

Based on the draft, e-stamps are recognizable to the naked eye and contain activated electronic information and data that can be found on the web portal of the General Department of Taxation and General Department of Customs, serving the management of businesses, consumers and state management agencies.

Cigarettes imported and produced for domestic consumption must be stamped according to the provisions of the Government’s Decree No. 67/2013/ND-CP. Each cigarette pack is attached with one stamp in the position that it will inevitably be torn when opening the pack.

In addition, imported and domestically produced wine must be stamped according to the provisions of Decree No. 105/2017/ND-CP of the Government. Wine stamps are attached at the place where alcohol can be taken out from the wine packaging (for example, bottle cap, jar cap, faucet or a similar position) to make sure that when the cap is opened, the stamp will be torn and cannot be reused.

For domestically manufactured goods, the General Department of Taxation will print and issue stamps of domestically produced tobacco and alcohol. Organizations and individuals that have licenses for wine production (including licenses for manual and industrial production of wine for trading purposes) must apply stamps in accordance with regulations before sending them for domestic consumption.

Protect authentic products

Opinions from tobacco and alcohol businesses and associations showed that they all agree with the e-stamp policy.

Nguyen Van Viet, Chairman of the Vietnam Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Association, said all the members highly welcomed the efforts of the Ministry of Finance as well as the General Department of Taxation and the General Department of Customs in improving the management and application of information technology to ensure transparency of excise taxable goods such as alcohol and tobacco. This effort will also protect authentic products, limit counterfeit and pirated ones.

According to experts, the improvement of management methods and the application of science and technology in state management is necessary, and QR codes are a common trend, especially in the financial and banking sector.

However, when applied in practice, it will be studied and carefully considered about the need, impact and timing of application of the new policy to businesses, ensuring QR codes are used in a convenient and accurate manner. There should be clear standards for each sector.

Commenting on the draft circular, in terms of the e-stamp size, Viet said that it should not be changed compared to the current paper stamps, because if the stamp size was changed, it could be difficult for businesses to convert their machines and equipment to fit the new ones and would raise costs to adjust the shrink wrap being used to protect the current paper stamps.

In addition, with the design in the draft circular, the QR code (authentication code) is placed at the end of the stamp – a fragile position – so firms will have to consider investing more in this QR code protection. Therefore, the drafting agency should think about the placement of the QR code.

According to Nguyen Triet, General Secretary of the Vietnam Tobacco Association, the drafting agency should study an appropriate conversion roadmap before applying the same policies to support businesses when converting to e-stamps.

“Firms need time and capital to invest in specialized machinery and equipment, support software, training for staff to monitor and control e-stamp details and connect, update and upload them to the website of General Department of Taxation, and General Department of Customs,” said Triet.

Notably, some businesses said that to make the most of the advantages of e-tools such as QR codes, regulators should first focus on developing and upgrading infrastructure to ensure the management of corporate information as well as e-stamp information storage and search to secure smooth stamp purchases as well as product traceability, avoid affecting production and business activities of enterprises.

According to Deputy Director of Policy Department Nguyen Huu Tan, the Ministry of Finance and the General Department of Taxation will continuously listen to comments from businesses and associations that are directly affected by the draft circular. On that basis, they will consider the process of finalizing the draft circular to ensure the feasibility of the regulations when implemented in practice, as well as fight counterfeiting, protect the interests of the business and help consumers trace product origin.

By Thuy Linh/ Ha Thanh

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