Beverage firms protest validation stamps on beers

HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Industry and Trade's proposal to stick stamps on beer products to deter fake products has not been welcomed by the industry. Similar stamps are already placed on tobacco products.

If the beer proposal comes into force, market-watch inspectors will be equipped with a machine to distinguish real from fake stamps.

The latest proposal was made in a draft decree on beer manufacture, sale and management.

At a meeting on Tuesday, brewing representatives were invited to contribute ideas for the draft decree.

Nguyen Van Viet, chairman of the Vietnam Beer Alcohol Beverage Association, said that the country produced more than 3 billion litres of beer a year, enough cans and bottles for about 10 billion beer stamps.

"Sticking the stamps on the cans and bottles would be costly, so this idea should not be included in the draft decree," he said.

Agreeing with Viet, representatives from beer companies expressed their worry about the new regulations.

Vu Xuan Dung, deputy director of the Ha Noi Beer, Alcohol and Beverages Corporation, called for more detailed research on the suggestion.

Dung calculated that each stamp would cost about VND160-170, thus 10 billion stamps would cost VND1.6-1.7 trillion (US$76.1-80.9 million) a year.

"Different plants use different technology, so the way to put the stamps on the bottles should be researched. Different products will need different techniques," he said.

Nguyen Tien Sy, deputy head of the marketing division of Saigon Beer, Alcohol, Beverage Joint Stock Corporation, said that if the new regulation was applied, the company would have to spend about VND800 billion ($38 million) a year on attaching the stamps.

It also would need to spend more on workers to supervise the procedure, he said.

Beer industry representatives suggested putting the stamps on imported beer only.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Ho Thi Kim Thoa, said that four billion tobacco products a year had stamps attached. She asked why beer products were any different.

Thoa said the ministry would do more research on the new regulation to make sure it did not create too many difficulties for companies. 


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