Under Directive 20/CT-TTg issued late last week, the PM asked the chairpersons of coastal provinces and cities with large seafood production and trading activities, such as Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang and Kien Giang, to increase the supervision and inspection of seafood production, processing and trade to prevent the contamination of the products with banned chemical residues.
Those violating the rules will be strictly punished in accordance with Decree 178/2013/ND-CP, under which the production and business licences can be withdrawn and the cases can be made public through mass media, reports VNS.
The PM also entrusted the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the ministers of Public Security, Industry and Trade and Finance to draft and submit quickly a project to improve control over and prevent the use of banned chemicals in shrimp production and trade.
Stricter punishment might be imposed on such illegal activities as the PM has asked the relevant ministries to study whether the use of banned chemicals in shrimp production and trade could be added to the list of new crimes in the Penal Code.
The Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers has also been instructed to spread awareness among enterprises and shrimp farmers, and to ask them to make a commitment on not using banned chemicals in shrimp production and trade.
Shrimp is the key export product of the country's seafood industry. The seafood export value in the first half of this year grew strongly due to a sharp increase in shrimp and prawn exports. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the country's seafood export revenue rose 24.2 per cent to touch $3.45 billion, of which 48 to 49 per cent came from shrimp and prawn exports.
The Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers said there was a strong demand for shrimps and prawns in the US, the EU, Japan, South Korea and China.
The total export value of seafood this year is expected to reach $6.9 billion, which includes $3.5 billion from shrimp and prawn exports, similar to that of 2013.