Foreign-made items ‘mistakenly’ labeled Vietnam-made deceive consumers
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) has warned about trade fraud in recent months. Foreign-made products are mislabeled as Vietnamese products to enjoy preferential tariffs granted to Vietnam as a member of FTAs (free trade agreements).
Nguyen Quoc Anh, chair of the HCM City Rubber & Plastics Association, complained that China-made products were being sold under the mask of Vietnam’s products.
Chinese sourced goods are no longer favored by Vietnamese consumers despite the low prices, because they have no clear origin and contain toxic chemicals. Therefore, distributors are giving Vietnamese brands to Chinese-made products to deceive consumers.
“Chinese sourced goods are no longer favored by Vietnamese consumers despite the low prices, because they have no clear origin and contain toxic chemicals. Therefore, distributors are giving Vietnamese brands to Chinese-made products to deceive consumers,” he explained.
“The trade fraud has hadan impact on the sale of genuine Vietnamese products,” he said.
The businessman said that Chinese goods can only be labeled ‘made in Vietnam’ with the help of Vietnamese traders. In many cases, goods are packed and labeled ‘made in Vietnam’ in China before they are shipped to Vietnam.
The Vietnam Leather and Footwear Association (Lefaso) has also warned of the possibility of Chinese producers ‘borrowing’ Vietnam’s origin for their exports to the US. If the trade fraud is discovered, Vietnam could face problems.
Nguyen Tri Hieu, a respected finance expert, said Chinese businesses attempt to commit trade fraud since Vietnam’s the geographical position makes it easy to transport goods.
Vietnam’s exports of textiles & garments, footwear and household-use products have also been increasing rapidly, so Vietnam origin forging can fool importers’ customs agencies.
However, Vietnam has not set criteria for Vietnam-made products, i.e what they must satisfy to be recognized as ‘made in Vietnam’. As a result, it is difficult to tell the difference between foreign-made and Vietnam-made products.
The other problem lies in the legal framework. The light sanctions stipulated in legal documents do not deter violators.
Hieu suggested that forging Vietnam origin must be subject to criminal prosecution.
Anh from the HCM City Rubber and Plastics Association also proposed imposing heavier punishments on violators, citing Italian laws that fine individuals (up to 100,000 euros) “who forge ‘made in Italy’ on leather products that do not meet requirements.
Meanwhile, Ly Truong Chien, a branding expert, said that the best solution is preventing ‘mislabeled’ products from entering Vietnam. Once the products enter Vietnam, it is difficult to discover them.