Customs force cracks down on origin fraud targeting Vietnamese products hinh anh 1A pair of TOPPER shoe seized by customs personnel in the northern port city of Hai Phong. The product was imported from China for export to the third country but was labeled Made in Vietnam (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) - The General Department of Vietnam Customs has intensified a drive to crack down on the fraudulent practice of giving foreign goods a fake Vietnam origin in an illegal attempt to take advantage of export tax incentives that the country enjoys under free trade agreements.

Progressing toward global integration, Vietnam has so far signed many free trade agreements (FTA) with other nations, earning itself preferential tariff policies. And emerging fraud practices discovered recently have targeted to exploit such advantage.

Protecting reputation of the national brand

General Director of the General Department of Vietnam Customs Nguyen Van Can said the origin fraud is a pressing issue that can negatively affect the Vietnam – US trade and worsen domestic companies’ competitiveness as well as Vietnam’s national brand and export activities.

Vietnam’s drastic actions to address the issue have contributed to change the US’s view regarding trade protection measures towards Vietnamese products, he stated.

The drive to crack down on origin fraud also aims to preserve and affirm Vietnam’s national brand and reputation in international economic relations. This is the responsibility of not only the customs sector but also the Government in implementing FTA commitments, thereby confirming the prestige and quality of Vietnamese exports and helping the country make the most of the advantages of FTA membership.

Products with foreign components labelled Made-in-Vietnam goods

According to Tran Manh Cuong, Deputy Director of the Post-Clearance Inspection Department under the General Department of Vietnam Customs, his department inspected four companies exporting bikes and electric bikes to the US this year and found that all of them violated the law on origin.

They imported all separated bike components then simply assembled them to produce the final products, which were labeled as made in Vietnam.

Customs force cracks down on origin fraud targeting Vietnamese products hinh anh 2All parts of a made-in-Vietnam labeled bicycle are imported from China (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Similar violations were found during inspections of exporters of solar panels and woodwork products. Enterprises purchased semi-finished products and only do simple fix and assembly and claimed them as locally made.

There were also two fishery firms that delivered fail statement on the origins of their exports, while an unauthorised company deliberately issued certificates of origin for many companies from different provinces and cities.

Creating a fair competition environment

Can highlighted that effective prevention of origin fraud practices will encourage the growth of local enterprises and generate a fair competition environment.

Information on the examination and punishment of violations have spread across the business community and helped enhance their awareness on legal abidance, he said, adding that a number of violators, after being detected, have corrected their mistakes by investing in production equipment for meeting Vietnam’s origin standard.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs has also proposed amendmentand supplements to many legal documents on origin.

Can said without real-life inspections and handling of violations, it will be hard to identify loopholes in the content of these documents for prompt amending and supplementing.

Vice Minister of Finance Vu Thi Mai lauded the customs sector’s success in fighting origin fraud and illegal transshipment, saying it is meaningful amid the country’s signing of several FTAs and expanding its trade with the US./.

Customs force cracks down on origin fraud targeting Vietnamese products hinh anh 3Mobile phone recharging cables imported from China but labelled “Made in Vietnam” are seized by customs personnel in the northern port city of Hai Phong in July 2019. (Photo: VietnamPlus)