Cracking down on Vietnamese Origin Illegally Labeled Products

11:34:29 AM | 7/17/2019

Origin fraudulence, illegal transfer and counterfeited labelling of Vietnamese goods not only affect true businesses and consumers, but also damage the national economy. In this situation, the General Department of Vietnam Customs and local customs authorities have developed a basic solution against origin fraudulence, illegal transfer and counterfeited goods labelling.

Raising vigilance

At provincial and municipal customs departments, plans to strengthen the origin management are deployed consistently, particularly in key areas like Lang Son, Hanoi, Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City.

Anticipating potential risks, the Lang Son Customs Department will focus on checking shippers’ customs declarations of names, trademarks, origin, quality, labels, expiry dates, packaging specifications of products and comparing them with actual inspection results in relevant customs documents. The department has directed border gate customs offices to strictly review and control border gate areas, and prevent faked consumer goods and fashion items along trails and shortcuts to take management measures; intensify inspection, examination and strict handling of violations such as smuggling, domestic circulation of foreign manufactured goods illegally labeled “made in Vietnam”.

In Hai Phong City - a major trade hub of the nation, the Hai Phong Customs Department has requested its affiliates to inspect and determine origins of goods suspected of origin fraudulence and label counterfeiting. Export and import inspection and identification will be done in line with the law. They collect information about goods, manufacturers suspected of committing origin fraudulence, illegal transfer and label counterfeiting. The department will promptly report on the discovery of origin fraudulence, illegal transfer and label counterfeiting to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

In addition, the department pays particular attention to coordinating and exchanging information with relevant units. Specifically, it joined hands with Steering Committee 389, the Market Management Bureau, and Hai Phong City Police to quickly detect and prevent counterfeited and illegally labelled goods to take measures under the law.

Gauging risks

Assessing the risk of origin infringements, the Hanoi Customs Department also increases vigilance and analyzes fraudulent tricks to apply strict management solutions. According to the department, violators tend not to declare trademarks, declare falsified origin and categories. For imported goods, they tend to mix counterfeited goods and genuine goods when they pack and ship to Vietnam. Violated brands and industrial designs are found most in clothes, bags, shoes, fashion accessories, household appliances, electronic devices, furniture, wrist watches, mobile phones, cosmetics, jewelries, traditional medicines, western medicines and functional foods.

For that reason, in addition to raising vigilance and analyzing risk factors to take administrative measures, the Hanoi Customs Department proposed many solutions to control origin, illegal transfer and label counterfeiting, including changes to implement regulations on intellectual property, origin, and labelling to improve coordinating mechanisms, strengthen market inspection and supervision, especially the issuance of certificates of Vietnamese origin for exports to avoid Vietnamese origin counterfeiting and ensure consistent implementation across the country to create a strong legal corridor for enforcement bodies to exercise their market control functions. Particularly for goods that need to be protected or built international brands, it is necessary to set specific product criteria, adopt sanctions that are sufficiently deterrent to individuals and organizations trying to deliberately make false origin and labels, the department proposed. At the same time, the General Department of Vietnam Customs builds a list of key items and key enterprises to set risk criteria for specific periods, taking into account evolution and alternation of tricks and behaviors. It also provides intensive training on intellectual property, counterfeiting and origin fraudulence.

In addition, customs units proposed many solutions to strengthen management. The Ministry of Industry and Trade should intensify preferential C/O granting for exports and connect data with customs authorities for post-customs clearance checks. The General Department of Vietnam Customs builds an information collecting system to raise warning to enterprises and goods carrying high risks of violation to at the time of declaring information; regularly updates signature sample information at C/O authorities; frequently exchanges information with domestic industry associations to gasp information about output and products (whether Vietnam can make or not) to better conduct inspection. The Hai Phong Customs Department said that, in addition to measures to strengthen inspection and control, it is necessary to make individuals and organizations know their rights and responsibilities in the protection of intellectual property rights, origin and labels.

Le Hien