EuroCham opposes ban on online liquor sales

Created 06 December 2018
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The European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) has proposed revoking a ban on the sale of liquor products on online platforms as such a ban could pave the way for products of unclear origin to enter the local market.
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File photo of market surveillance officers discarding fake alcohol contained in foreign-brand bottles into a barrel. EuroCham has proposed revoking a ban on the sale of liquor products on online platforms 

A EuroCham representative said at the Annual Vietnam Business Forum 2018, held in Hanoi City on December 4 that the Government’s Decree 105/2017 bans online sales of alcoholic drinks of 15% or higher. The draft Law on Preventing and Combating the Harmful Effects of Liquor and Beer also mentions the regulation.

Based on international experience, the representative said, the sale of liquor and beer does not drastically increase the consumption of these products. On the other hand, it helps to better control the consumption of these alcoholic drinks on the market, such as limiting underage buyers, providing clear information on these products, and preventing the sale of illegal and fake products.

The representative remarked that goods purchased online require buyers to have legal account numbers or bank cards to make payments. Underage people who are banned from buying alcohol online usually do not meet this requirement.

In addition, legitimate alcohol manufacturers and traders active on online platforms will be able to give their consumers detailed, accurate product information.

The representative added that consumers can easily buy liquor online anyway. Since this is illegal, consumers have no guarantee of the products’ origins, compared with beverages sold by authorized distributors.

Many customers have even bought fake, substandard alcoholic products, which are widely available on the internet and can be harmful to human health. Therefore, legal online sales would give customers a wide range of better products, stressed the representative.

Foreign investors said that one great feature of the ecommerce sector was the ability to store data that could help the Government control trade and consumption levels. For example, ecommerce transactions create data that cannot be easily changed or deleted.

This allows the Government to monitor transactions by gaining access to sales data on ecommerce platforms; it also helps State management agencies develop a comprehensive picture of total alcohol consumption in the country.

In addition, ecommerce also helps the Government track transactions to improve tax collection as transaction data is often stored and payments are usually made through banks.

The EuroCham representative concluded that given these benefits, many countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, allow the online sale of alcoholic beverages. Some Asian countries and territories, such as China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Cambodia and the Philippines, do so as well.

The ban on the sale of liquor products would see Vietnam bucking regional and global trends, according to the representative. Therefore, EuroCham proposed the Government and the legislative National Assembly abolish the ban in Decree 105 and Article 20 of the draft law.


Source: SGT - Bridge

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