Vietnam tightens imports scrutiny after nine-dash fiascos

By Anh Minh   November 6, 2019 | 03:21 am PT
Vietnam tightens imports scrutiny after nine-dash fiascos
The 2020 Volkswagen Touareg model with the controversial nine-dash line in its navigation map at the 2019 Vietnam Motor Show, Ho Chi Minh City on October 27, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Luong Dung.
Vietnamese authorities are tightening import inspections after several instances of China’s infamous and fraudulent nine-dash map sneaking through in various products.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has ordered its agencies to increase inspections of trade activities and imported goods.

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said at a National Assembly Q&A session Wednesday that the recent display of a Volkswagen SUV with the nine-dash line map exposed legal loopholes on sovereignty issues that ministries need to review to prevent similar violations in the future.

The ministry has demanded the importer of Chinese cars with the nine-dash line map recall the cars it has distributed, he added. "We have temporarily revoked the import license of this business and will reissue when it completes its duties."

Vietnam Customs and Vietnam Register will inspect all imported cars, especially their navigation software, for sovereignty violations.

The Government Office is advising Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on solutions to prevent the distribution of goods and products with the nine-dash line map, Office Chairman Mai Tien Dung told reporters Tuesday.

The tightening of imports comes after a Volkswagen SUV and four Chinese cars last month were discovered being displayed in the country with their navigation apps containing the internationally-rejected demarcation of territory in the East Sea.

The demarcation claims 90 percent of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer East Sea, known internationally as South China Sea.

The nine-dash unilateral demarcation has been strongly opposed by the international community. Apart from violating Vietnam’s sovereignty, it overlaps with claims by Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

In another instance, a textbook from a Chinese publisher which includes the line was recently discovered at a university in Hanoi. Top travel firm Saigontourist was fined VND50 million ($2,200) recently for inadvertently using brochures with the line at a tourism fair in September.

Vietnam demoted its director of the Cinema Department at the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism on October 28 for permitting screening of the Hollywood-produced animation movie Abominable, which carries the controversial 9-dash line.

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