Monday, 14 Oct 2019

Customs agency to tackle US-bound foreign goods forging Vietnam’s origin

Updated at Monday, 10 Jun 2019, 11:46
The Hanoitimes - Such trend is putting Vietnamese brands and also the customers at risks, while countries may reconsider importing Vietnamese goods .
Vietnam’s customs agencies would step up efforts in preventing foreign goods from forging Vietnamese origin and later being exported to the US, Europe or Japan, according to Nguyen Van Can, director general of the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC). 

Can made the statement amid the escalation of the US – China trade war and experts expressing concern over the growing trend of foreign goods finding ways to secure Vietnam’s certificate of origin (C/O) in a bid to enjoy preferential treatments from the participation of Vietnam in free trade agreements and evade trade barriers from import markets.  

According to the GDVC, goods prone to origin certificate fraud are mostly textile, fishery, agricultural products, steel, aluminum, processed wooden products, among others. 

Can referred to the case of Chinese goods which were first imported to Vietnam, and later changed the packages labelling “Made in Vietnam”. Those goods would later be exported to US, Europe or Japan. 

In this context, the GDVC is expected to tighten its monitoring and checking procedures to identify goods violating rules of origins, aiming to protect domestic production. 

Hoang Thi Thuy, head of Custom Control and Supervision Department under the GDVC, said custom agencies have identified dozens of cases of origin certificate fraud. In 2017, Haiphong’s Custom Department found company named INTERWYSE importing 600 speakers and phone chargers from China but with the “Made in Vietnam” printed in their packages. 

The US Custom Department has also fined FINEWOOD Vietnam company for exporting wood products forging Vietnamese origin to the US. 

An analysis conducted by Nikkei earlier this month showed that while Chinese exports of machinery, electrical equipment and some other products to the US have shown particularly sharp declines, shipments of such goods from China to the US via Vietnam, Taiwan and Mexico rose during the same period.

In January-March 2019, exports of the five items from China to Vietnam, including machinery and parts, electrical equipment and parts, furniture, toys, and automotive equipment and parts, rose by US$1.5 billion, or 20% year-on-year, while exports of the five items from Vietnam to the US surged by US$2.7 billion, or 58%.

Nikkei also noted the items exported from Vietnam to the US that have increased sharply since the introduction of punitive tariffs to items including timber, textiles and a raft of other upstream goods. While this involves the shipment of raw materials, the place of origin can be more easily disguised on upstream items as they are less recognizable than finished products.

Vietnamese brands and customers at risks

Do Van Sinh, member of the Economic Committee under the National Assembly, warned Vietnam could be targeted by US sanctions for faked made-in-Vietnam products. 

Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh said at a hearing held by the National Assembly last week such trend is putting Vietnamese brands and also the customers at risks, as most goods with unclear origin come with questionable quality. 

Additionally, countries may reconsider importing Vietnamese goods, causing negative impacts on the economy, Minh added. 

The Deputy PM said the Ministry of Industry and Trade is responsible for tackling origin certificate fraud and expected to draft new regulation with stricter penalty for such violations. 

Currently, Vietnam does not have specific regulations and criteria for products to be certified as made-in-Vietnam, and customers do not have appropriate measures to verify the products. 

Existing requirements are mainly related to label, geographical indications and brands, while there are no standards to determine whether a product is considered to be made-in-Vietnam. 

As of present, made-in-Vietnam products must be partly or wholly produced in Vietnam. 
Ngoc Thuy
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