The new regulation, effective June 1, means importers are no longer allowed to bring these products into Vietnam by air or land. The ministry said the move is part of efforts to fight trade fraud and protect local consumers from counterfeits.

News website VnExpress Thursday cited importers as saying that most of the products are now imported by air because it's more convenient, compared to sea shipments. They said the new rule will be a major barrier, making it difficult to import the goods.

An unnamed importer said it would take 30-45 days for a container ship to arrive while transporting goods by air takes no more than a week. Besides, it would be a waste of money if importers cannot fill up a whole container on a ship, he added.

Cell phones, wines and beauty products, along with tobacco and cars, are placed on a restricted list. Imports of this group alone, between January and April, surged 17.4 percent from a year ago to $2.03 billion, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Thanh Nien News - May 17, 2011