On December 12, 2013, the Ministry of Industry and Trade issued the Circular No. 37/2013/TT-BCT providing the import of cigarettes and cigar and decides from February 20, 2014 that only Vietnam National Tobacco Corporation (VINATABA) is allowed to import cigarettes and cigars according to the mechanism of state trading. Three years after the effective date of this Circular, the Ministry of Industry and Trade shall review the implementation of this Circular so as to re-consider the designation of traders importing cigarettes and cigars under the mechanism of state trading.
Within that cigarettes and cigars imported and circulated in the market must be registered for protection of trademark use rights in Vietnam and affixed with imported-cigarette stamps as prescribed by the Ministry of Finance. Cigarettes and cigars imported for sale in the domestic market must comply with current regulations on purchase and sale of tobacco products. Imported cigarettes and cigars must comply with current regulations on standard conformity and regulation conformity announcement or food safety-regulation conformity announcement; and on inspection of quality, hygiene, safety and toxic ingredient content like domestically produced cigarettes and cigars.
For a cigarette or cigar brand imported into Vietnam for the first time, before carrying out import procedures, the trader shall send its samples to a testing laboratory designated by a competent state agency for analysis according to current technical regulations, standards or regulations on food safety of Vietnam. And imported cigarettes and cigars must comply with current regulations on goods labeling, labeling of tobacco products for sale in Vietnam and printing of health warnings on packages.
Within the first 15 days of every quarter, the trader importing cigarettes and cigars shall send to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Import-Export Administration Department a report on the automatic import of cigarettes and cigars in the preceding quarter, clearly stating the categories, quantity, import value, sale prices, and the tentative import plan for the subsequent period. Annually, before October 15, the trader importing cigarettes and cigars shall send to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Import-Export Administration Department a report on the import of cigarettes and cigars in 3 quarters (in replacement of the report for the 3rd quarter) and the import plan for the subsequent year.
This Circular takes effect on February 20, 2014