Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) – A seminar took place in Ho Chi Minh City on January 7 to discuss risks in international trade and foreign debt recovery following the recent fraud faced by several seafood exporters.

Three weeks ago, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) issued a warning to its members against fraud in seafood export. Specifically, a number of seafood exporters lost hundreds of thousands USD worth of goods to ECHOPACK INC, represented by a person named Jason Brown, residing in Quebec, Canada.

ECHOPACK alledgedly deceived domestic exporters when it used two different signatures on a contract signed between the two sides to open a letter of credit (L/C), which included a clause that the signature on the contract sent to General Equity bank must match the one in the payment documents.

Though General Equity Bank knew that the documents were invalid, it allowed ECHOPACK to receive the goods. Finally, it refused payment to Vietnamese exporters, reasoning that the L/C was invalid.

At the event, VASEP Vice Secretary Nguyen Hoai Nam warned that amid extensive global integration, such incidents may occur often unless enterprises are equipped with necessary knowledge and experience in transactions.

According to experts, the biggest risk faced by Vietnamese businesses involves credit, which puts them in difficult situations to reclaim debt or makes them face fraud.

Keith Stillings, Chief Executive Officer of the US’s Assurance Global Financial, said Vietnamese exporters lost nearly 8 billion USD to foreign partners in 2015 alone due to swindles.

Lawyer Ngo Khac Le from the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre attributed the incidents to loose contracts and limited information about partners.

He advised domestic firms to work closely with trade associations, consultants and embassies to screen partners, and be cautious of bargain offers.

Experts suggested thoroughly examining the track record of partners and contract terms before reaching any deal.-VNA