Vietnam faces growing pressure in tackling origin certificate fraud, as a single case concerning Vietnam would drag the country into trade conflicts, according to Tran Tuan Anh, minister of Industry and Trade.
The Import-Export Agency is tasked with verifying the origin and report to the government result of investigation on the origin of goods bound to export, Anh said at a meeting on August 7 discussing the outlook of Vietnam’s trade performance in the remaining months of 2019.
The process is particularly important for export goods requiring strict origin criteria, or those under the anti-dumping and subsidy watchlist by other countries, Anh added.
Tran Huu Linh, director general of the Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance, said agricultural products are not required to have origin information on each product, leading to the confusion for both consumers and government agencies in identifying which one is local or imported products.
Linh referred to a major wholesale market in Ho Chi Minh City, which takes in 80 tons of agricultural products per day, including 20% of imported ones. As those from Australia and Japan have their own stamps for identification, products from other countries, especially of China, are without stamps.
Linh also stated there have been cases of local enterprises assembling basic products, which are not qualified for Vietnamese certificate of origin (C/O), but still applying for the document.
The consequence would be low quality products being exported to the European and American markets, Linh said, adding drastic measures are needed to tighten the process of C/O issuance, especially for products and goods prone to trade fraud, such as shrimp, steel, electric bicycle, solar battery, among others.
Director of the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam Le Trieu Dung stated in the first seven months of 2019, some countries have been rising trade safeguard measures against Vietnamese products, averaging one case per month.
In a meeting on July 9, Minister Tran Tuan Anh said goods and products prone to origin certificate fraud such as fisheries, agricultural products, textile, footwear, and electronic devices would be put into watchlist for close supervision.
Most recently, the US Commerce Department decided to imposed import duties of more than 400% on US-bound corrosion-resistant steel products and cold-rolled steel that were actually produced in South Korea and Taiwan before being shipped to Vietnam for minor processing.
In a regular press meeting held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 8, Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said Vietnam remains steadfast on preventing trade fraud activities both in the local market and for export activities, ensuring the lawful rights of Vietnamese enterprises and customers.
Recently, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved proposal enhancing state supervision against trade fraud activities, requesting joint efforts from government agencies to deal with such violations, Hang added.