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Vietnam: Better control on COs needed to avoid trade frauds

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Vietnamese customs officials check the origin of goods. The state should improve the management efficiency in granting certificates of origin for enterprises, Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung has said. PHAP LUAT/VIET NAM NEWS

Vietnam: Better control on COs needed to avoid trade frauds

Vietnam's management efficiency in granting certificates of origin for enterprises needs to be improved to reduce trade frauds, Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung has said.

The state should continue to create favourable conditions for enterprises in the production and export of goods in accordance with international commitments in free trade agreements (FTAs), he said.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said to deal with fraud, the state should promote and improve awareness of enterprise regulations related to certificates of origin (COs).

Speaking during a meeting at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) late last week, Khanh said joining the FTAs will help reduce cases of origin fraud.

This often occurs for goods exported to markets applying self-verification of origin such as US, EU and Canada because these markets do not require enterprises to present certificates of origin.

Relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the Ministry of Finance, VCCI, the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the General Department of Customs should strengthen cooperation to solve problems relating to COs, Khanh said.

The MoIT also needs to authorise VCCI to issue more CO types under the FTAs so that the MoIT can reduce its workload related to granting COs and strengthen state management in the matter.

At a working day between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s working team, the VCCI and relevant ministries and agencies on CO and trade fraud of goods origin in Hanoi on Friday, Dung said there was a sudden increase in some goods items exported to the US market and some items imported from China to Vietnam, a report from the General Department of Customs said.

Therefore, the state should have warnings about fraud, counterfeiting and evasion of trade remedies and strengthen close supervision to ensure the economic stability.

Tran Thi Thu Huong, director of VCCI’s Centre for Commercial Document Certification, said they issued more than 472,000 certificates of origin in the first nine months of this year, an increase of 2.4 per cent year-on-year.

Inspections in HCMC

Ho Chi Minh City market management authorities have stepped up efforts to combat contraband, counterfeit goods and trade fraud.

Authorities said smuggling of fake garments, footwear, liquor and beer, and sugar would increase by the end of the year for the festival season.

Relevant city agencies have begun inspections and seized large volumes of contraband items, mainly consumer goods.

Last week, the General Department of Market Management and the city’s authorities inspected 29 shops selling fashion goods at Ben Thanh Market and Saigon Square Trade Centre in District 1.

At 10 shops in Ben Thanh Market, they seized more than 800 items that were suspected of being counterfeit, which carried labels such as Rolex, Dior, Hermes, Gucci, LV and Tag Heuer, as well as 49 bags smuggled into the country.

At Saigon Square, they seized more than 1,000 bags, wallets, watches, scarves, belts and footwear purporting to be Rolex, Hublot, Tag Heuer, Gucci, Chanel, LV and Hermes products for trade fraud. More than 500 watches and belts had been illegally imported.

The inspections are part of a campaign launched by the market management force to prevent the distribution of illegal imports and counterfeits.

A spokesperson for French personal care company L’Oreal recently warned buyers of counterfeit skincare products being sold as L’Oreal.

Counterfeit L’Oreal hair care products are also sold at traditional markets.

Smuggling, illegal imports and trade fraud are rife around the country. In the first ten months of this year, there have been 1,262 violations of customs regulations, mainly fraud trade and smuggling, involving goods worth more than 1.5 trillion dong ($65 million), data from Ho Chi Minh City Customs shows.

Inspections by customs officers after clearance have uncovered tax evasion and collect taxes of more than 149.4 billion dong this year.

The National Customs Bureau has instructed its city office to inspect the origins of goods carefully, and this has helped discover a number of trade frauds.

Last week, customs officers at Cat Lai Port in the city’s District 9 searched and seized four containers destined for South Korea containing aluminium (22 per cent tax rate) which had been declared as steel pipes, which are exempt from tariffs.

To prevent fraudulent declarations of goods origins, the municipal Customs Department has asked its various divisions to draft plans for combating contraband and carrying out inspections after customs clearance.

Customs agencies have also organised training courses in goods origin and brand name frauds for enterprises in the city.



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