THE MINISTRY OF TRADE
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SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM
Independence - Freedom – Happiness

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No: 12/1999/TT-BTM
Hanoi, May 19, 1999
 
CIRCULAR
GUIDING THE LIQUOR TRADING
In furtherance of the Government’s Decree No.11/1999/ND-CP of March 3, 1999 on the goods banned from circulation, commercial services banned from provision; goods and services subject to the business restrictions or conditional business, and the Government’s Decree No.57/1998/ND-CP of July 31, 1998 detailing the implementation of the Commercial Law’s provisions on goods export, import, processing and purchase and/or sale agency activities with foreign countries, the Ministry of Trade hereby guides in detail the liquor trading, as follows:
I. SCOPE OF APPLICATION
1. Traders that import, purchase and/or sell liquors, including those acting as liquor purchase and/or sale agents (including imported liquors and home-made liquors) shall have to comply with the provisions of this Circular.
2. Foreign-invested enterprises trading in liquors shall comply with provisions of the Law on Foreign Investment in Vietnam and the relevant provisions of this Circular.
3. The import of liquors for and the purchase and sale of imported liquors at the duty-free shops shall comply with separate regulations.
4. The trading in medicinal and tonic liquors shall comply with the Ministry of Health’s regulations.
II. KINDS OF LIQUORS PERMITTED TO BE TRADED
Only the following kinds of liquors, which meet the certain requirements, shall be traded and circulated on the market:
1. For imported liquors which are bottled overseas:
1.1. There must be lawful import vouchers according to the current regulations;
1.2. They must have labels;
1.3. They must satisfy the foodstuff hygiene and safety requirements prescribed by the Ministry of Health;
1.4. They have been affixed with import liquor stamps as prescribed by law.
2. For liquors made of imported liquor quintessence and bottled in Vietnam:
2.1. They must be imported and bottled in Vietnam by enterprises having production licenses or investment licenses (for foreign-invested enterprises) according to provisions of this Circular and other relevant regulations.
2.2. They must satisfy the foodstuff hygiene and safety requirements prescribed by the Ministry of Health.
2.3. They must have labels, and on their packages and labels, the names and addresses of the bottling establishments and the serial numbers of their production licenses must be inscribed in both a foreign language and Vietnamese. They shall not be affixed with import liquor stamps.
3. For home-made liquors:
3.1. They must be produced by licensed establishments.
3.2. They must have their quality registered and satisfy the foodstuff hygiene and safety requirements prescribed by the Ministry of Health.
3.3. They must have labels as prescribed by law. On their packages and labels, the names and addresses of the production establishments as well as the serial numbers of their production licenses, the registration number of product quality and alcoholic strength must be clearly inscribed.
III. THE IMPORT OF LIQUORS AND TRADING IN IMPORTED LIQUORS
Traders wishing to import liquors of all kinds must have import permits granted by the Ministry of Trade according to the following regulations.
1. Import of liquors and trading in imported liquors bottled overseas:
1.1. Basing itself on the Prime Minister’s decisions on the annual export and import management and the liquor consumption demand, the Ministry of Trade shall prescribe the number of liquor importing enterprises and consider the granting of permits thereto.
1.2. In 1999, the Ministry of Trade shall grant liquor import permits to 20 enterprises as follows:
a/ For enterprises designated to import liquors according to the Ministry of Trade’s Circular No.06/1998/TT-BTM of March 26, 1998, which directly imported liquors in 1998 with a value of 100,000 USD or more and have strictly complied with the regulations on liquor import and imported liquor trading, they shall be selected to be granted permits for the import of liquors in 1999.
The above-said enterprises shall send their reports on the 1998 liquor import and sale to the Ministry of Trade (the Domestic Market Policy Department) before July 1st, 1999, with the following specific contents:
- The liquor import turnover for the period from April 1st, 1998 to March 31, 1999, including the entrusted import turnover and the direct import turnover for trading purpose, of liquors of alcoholic strength of over 30o, enclosed with the valid copies of the already liquidated customs declarations for goods lots imported during the above-said period.
- The categories, labels and purchase sources of liquors imported by the enterprise.
- The situation on the sale of imported liquors: the sale places, wholesale turnover, retail sale turnover and subjects eligible for wholesale of imported liquors.
b/ For other enterprises, the dossiers shall be sent to the Ministry of Trade (the Domestic Market Policy Department) before July 1st, 1999, each comprises:
- The official written request for liquor import and trading in imported liquor.
- The valid copy of the certificates of business registration and code number registration of the exporting and/or importing enterprise.
- The enterprise’s business plan for liquor import and organizing the sale of imported liquors (the turnover of direct import of liquors of an alcoholic strength of over 30o; categories, labels and purchase sources of liquors intended to be imported; imported liquor sale places and eligible subjects).
1.3. On the basis of their liquor import permits, the enterprises shall fill in the import procedures at the border-gate customs authorities as prescribed without having to ask for quotas from the Ministry of Trade. Particularly for liquors of alcoholic strength of over 30o, each enterprise shall be permitted to import a volume with the maximum value of 150,000 USD/year.
1.4. The enterprises granted liquor import permits shall have to comply with the following regulations on liquor import and trading in imported liquors:
- They shall import liquors for sale by themselves according to their own plans, but must not conduct entrusted import for other enterprises in any forms.
- They shall have to organize the network for sale of their imported liquor on the market, and be allowed to sell imported liquors only to enterprises licensed to trade in liquors as specified in Section IV of this Circular.
- They shall have to make monthly reports on the situation of liquor import and sale of imported liquors to the Ministry of Trade and the Trade Services of the provinces and cities where the enterprises are headquartered.
1.5. Foreign-invested enterprises under the Law on Foreign Investment in Vietnam specializing in hotels, restaurants and tourist resorts may import liquors and sell them to customers only for use within their hotels, restaurants and tourist resorts, they shall not be allowed to sell imported liquors into the market. The liquor import by these enterprises shall comply with the provisions of the legislation on export and import activities of foreign-invested enterprises.
2. Import of and trading in liquors imported in form of quintessence and auxiliary materials for bottling in Vietnam:
2.1. Enterprises that fully meet the following conditions shall be considered and granted permits for import of liquors in form of quintessence and auxiliary materials for bottling in Vietnam by the Ministry of Trade on the basis of their own production and business plans (particularly for liquors of alcoholic strength of over 30o, the Ministry of Trade shall prescribe the category(ies) and value of liquors to be imported in the import permits):
- Having liquor production licenses granted by competent agency(ies);
- Having license contracts with foreign liquor producers and strictly complying with provisions of the legislation on industrial property rights and trademark registration;
- Having appropriate equipment capable of ensuring the foodstuff hygiene and safety according to the Ministry of Health’s regulations.
2.2. The dossier to be submitted to the Ministry of Trade (the Domestic Market Policy Department) shall include:
- An official dispatch of application for permit to import liquors in form of quintessence and auxiliary materials for bottling in Vietnam.
- The valid copy of the liquor production license.
- The license contract with a foreign liquor producer, enclosed with the list of categories and labels of liquors to be produced and sold in Vietnam.
- The documents on equipment for bottling imported liquors.
- The concerned enterprise’s plan for the production and sale of imported liquors.
2.3. The enterprises having been granted permits to import and trade in liquors in this form shall have to comply with the following regulations:
- They shall import liquors for production according to their own plans, but must not conduct entrusted import for other enterprises in any forms.
- Raw materials and auxiliary materials imported for bottling imported liquors, which have not been used up, shall be re-exported and must not be sold to other enterprises.
- They shall have to organize the network for sale of liquors they have produced on the market, and shall be allowed to sell their liquors only to enterprises licensed to trade in liquors as specified in Section IV of this Circular.
- They shall have to make monthly reports on the situation of liquor import, production, and sale of imported liquors to the Ministry of Trade and the Trade Services of the provinces and cities where the enterprises are headquartered.
3. The food production and/or processing enterprises that wish to import several kinds of liquors (already bottled liquors or liquor quintessence) for use as raw materials in food production and/or processing and not for market sale, shall not have to apply for liquor import permits, and shall be allowed to import liquors according to their production and processing demand after the Trade Services of the provinces and cities where the enterprises are headquartered approve their annual liquor import plans and shall be held responsible before law if they use imported liquors for wrong purposes.
IV. REGARDING THE LIQUOR TRADING ON THE MARKET
1. Traders shall be permitted to purchase, sell liquors or act as agents for purchase and sale of liquors of various kinds on the market only after they make business registration and are granted liquor trading licenses by provincial/municipal Trade Services in accordance with the provisions of this Circular.
2. To effect the liquor business restrictions, the provincial/municipal Trade Services shall base themselves on the local liquor market and socio-economic situation to set the number of traders and number of liquor sale places in each locality (city, provincial capital or urban/rural district) that shall be granted liquor trading licenses according to the provisions of this Circular, and notify such traders thereof before organizing the license granting. Annually, when necessary, the provincial/municipal Trade Services shall consider and readjust the above-said numbers, announce the readjustment and organize the additional granting.
3. Traders that fully meet the following conditions shall be considered and granted liquor trading licenses by the provincial/municipal Trade Services within the announced quantity:
3.1. Having business registration certificates (clearly stating goods range and business lines and trades that cover liquor items).
3.2. Having fixed trading places and definite addresses.
3.3. Ensuring the environmental hygiene at the liquor trading places.
4. The order and procedures for granting liquor trading licenses are stipulated as follows:
4.1. The dossiers of application for liquor trading licenses shall be submitted to the Ministry of Trade, each comprises:
- An application for liquor trading license.
- The valid copy of the business registration certificate.
- The documents on liquor trading places and environmental hygiene.
- The list of liquors to be traded and sources from which such liquors can be purchased.
Dossiers of traders being individuals, cooperatives or family households shall be received and examined by district-level agencies with the trade management function, which shall request the provincial/municipal Trade Services to grant the liquor trading licenses.
4.2. Within 15 days after receiving complete and valid dossiers, the provincial/municipal Trade Services shall base themselves on the number of traders and liquor trading places already announced to decide the granting or non-granting of liquor trading licenses to such traders.
4.3. A trader being an enterprise that has many places eligible for liquor trading shall be granted one liquor trading license clearly stating such eligible liquor trading places.
4.4. For traders being individuals, cooperatives or family households, each shall be allowed to trade in liquors at only one place and granted only one liquor trading license.
4.5. Traders granted the liquor trading licenses shall have to pay the licensing fee as prescribed by the Ministry of Finance.
5. Traders shall have to strictly abide by the following regulations in their liquor trading activities:
5.1. At each liquor trading place, they shall have to post up an easily spotted valid copy of the liquor trading license as well as the categories and prices of the liquors on sale.
5.2. They shall have to abide by the prescribed regime of invoices, vouchers and accounting books.
5.3. Irrespective of whether they use liquor sale and/or purchase agents or act as liquor sale and/or purchase agents, they shall have to comply with the regulations on goods sale and purchase agency in Section 6, Chapter II of the May 10, 1997 Commercial Law.
5.4. Prohibitions:
- Trading in liquors without liquor trading licenses or at variance with the trading places and contents stated in the granted liquor trading licenses.
- Selling smuggled liquors or liquors without import liquor stamps; selling liquors without production licenses, product quality registration, goods labels or not up to the prescribed food hygiene and safety standards.
- Selling liquors at the following places: hospitals, schools, public offices, seaports and river ports, car terminals, railway stations, airports, stadiums, cultural houses, houses for sport competitions and art performances (except for the sale of liquors at duty-free shops).
- Selling liquors by slot-machines.
- Selling liquors to under-16 children and pupils of the general education level.
- Advertising liquors in contravention with the provisions of law.
- Using liquors for trade promotion purpose or as prizes for competitions.
V. HANDLING OF VIOLATIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION PROVISIONS
1. Liquor traders that violate provisions of this Circular shall, depending on the seriousness of their violations, be administratively sanctioned or examined for penal liability according to the provisions of law.
2. The State officials and employees who commit acts of abusing their positions and powers to act in contravention of the provisions of this Circular shall, depending on the seriousness of their violations, be disciplined, administratively handled or examined for penal liability as prescribed by law.
3. This Circular takes effect as from July 1st, 1999 and replaces Circular No.06/1998/TT-BTM of March 26, 1998 temporarily stipulating the 1998 liquor import and the previous documents of the Ministry of Trade on liquor trading.
4. The ministries, ministerial-level agencies and the People’s Committees of all levels shall have to implement this Circular.
The provincial/municipal Trade Services shall organize and complete the granting of liquor trading licenses before September 1st, 1999; conduct inspection and handling of violations in order to ensure the strict observance of the provisions of Decree No.11/1999/ND-CP and the provisions of this Circular; regularly report to the Ministry of Trade on the implementation result as well as difficulties and problems for timely supplements and readjustments.
 

 

 
THE MINISTRY OF TRADE

Le Danh Vinh