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May 15, 2024 / 16:47

Vietnam to step up effort against gold smuggling

The smuggling of precious metals contributes to increased crime, instability of public order, and impacts on monetary security.

Vietnam’s tax and customs authorities have been instructed to step up surveillance to crack down on gold smuggling and illegal gold shipments into Vietnam.

 Buying gold in a jewelry store in Hanoi. Photo: Thanh Hai/The Hanoi Times

Finance Minister Ho Duc Phoc issued an urgent directive to the tax and customs sectors on May 14.

Since the beginning of the year, the government has issued several instructions to strengthen the management of the gold market, but the price of this commodity has continued to rise, with significant discrepancies compared to global prices.

Gold smuggling has become increasingly complex, according to a report by the National Assembly’s Economic Committee. There are even indications that a large, complex, and difficult-to-control underground market for gold and foreign exchange transactions has long existed outside the State's control and statistics.

The smuggling of precious metals also contributes to an increase in crime and public order instability and affects monetary security, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

In the directive, Phoc urged the tax and customs sectors to intensify management to curb gold smuggling and illegal trading. He instructed customs authorities to work with police, border guards, and market surveillance to investigate and tackle major smuggling cases involving gold and foreign exchange.

The General Department of Taxation and local authorities are also to step up inspections of electronic invoicing at gold stores. Cases with signs of criminal violations are to be referred to the police by the tax and customs authorities.

Last week, the price of SJC gold bars reached a record high of VND92 million ($3,614) per tael but cooled down to below VND90 million ($3,535) following regulatory directives. However, the price spread over the global market remains high, around VND17 million ($668) per tael.

On the same day, Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai issued an order calling for an immediate inspection of gold trading activities this week.

At a session of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on May 13, government members expressed their deep concerns about the gold market issue. A major challenge in managing the market is that people do not usually ask for invoices when purchasing gold, and businesses often neglect to issue invoices for each transaction.

Deputy Prime Minister Khai emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach involving several ministries and agencies and stressed the importance of carefully assessing and addressing the root of the problem.