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Authority warns of foreign goods carrying “Made in Vietnam” labels
Tuesday,  2/12/2019, 17:17 

Authority warns of foreign goods carrying “Made in Vietnam” labels

By Le Hoang

Workers put the finishing touches on their wooden furniture – PHOTO: LE HOANG

HCMC – Some foreign entities have falsely labeled their goods as originating in Vietnam to illegally benefit from the free trade agreements that Vietnam is a party to and avoid trade defense measures imposed by importing countries, according to the Export-Import Department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

However, Vietnam has yet to establish rules on the production labels of products made in Vietnam, making it hard for consumers to determine which products are truly made in Vietnam.

As the department said on its website on February 11, commercial fraud involving product labels are on the rise.

Among the improperly labeled goods is unintentional fraud. However, traders have a limited understanding of the issue, affecting consumers and domestic production.

According to the department, existing legal policies are mostly concerned with goods labels, geographical indication and brands. There is no set of criteria to determine which goods can use “Made in Vietnam” labels.

Therefore, Made-in-Vietnam goods can be understood as either goods of Vietnamese origin, enjoying tax incentives in accordance with economic integration commitments, or goods with certain production phases completed in Vietnam, or even goods bearing Vietnamese brands. These concepts are different but often create confusion.

Meanwhile, developed countries have regulations on labels identifying countries of production. Many countries have permitted voluntary labeling for domestically produced and consumed goods. Once goods carry the label of a certain country of production, they must meet the relevant requirements.

Specific regulations on origin labels are intended to protect the production activities of that country and its product brands. Origin labels can be written generically, such as “Made in …” or “Produced in …,” or more specifically, such as “Designed by/in …,” “Assembled in …,” “Processed in …,” “Packaged in …” and “Imported by/for ….”

Some countries have imposed strict sanctions on companies that deliberately mislabel products. For instance, adding a “Made in Italy” label to leather products that fail to meet “Made in Italy” standards is subject to a fine of up to 100,000 euros.

As a result, according to the department, it is essential to introduce regulations on the labeling of Made-in-Vietnam products to establish a legal corridor for the prevention of trade fraud and protection of consumers.

The ministries of industry and trade, science and technology and justice and the relevant units have discussed the issue and agreed that origin labeling can start off on a voluntary basis, according to the department.

Nonetheless, once individuals and organizations use labels indicating a Vietnamese origin, their goods must satisfy the related requirements. If labels indicate production phases were completed in Vietnam, proof must be provided.

After a certain period, the competent authorities will report to the Government to enforce origin labeling standards on specific products to protect consumers and production activities and build product brands.

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