August 25, 2019

SURPRISING NO ONE PAYING ATTENTION: Vietnam says that China is mislabeling products as Vietnamese to avoid U.S. tariffs.

“Dozens” of products have been identified, Hoang Thi Thuy, a Vietnamese Customs Department official, told state-run media, and goods like textiles, fishery products, agricultural products, steel, aluminum, and processed wooden products were most vulnerable to the fraud.

Vietnamese state media noted that in 2017, the Customs Department exposed a company called INTERWYSE for trying to rebrand 600 Chinese-made speakers and phone chargers with a “Made in Vietnam” label.

“It will sabotage Vietnamese brands and products and it will also affect consumers. We could even get tariff retribution from other countries, and if that happens, it will hurt our economy,” Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh told the Vietnamese National Assembly last week.

Vietnam does not have any legal requirements for certification of the “Made in Vietnam” label. The country’s current regulations require that goods be produced partly or completely in Vietnam, but does not provide a mechanism for determining the veracity of the label.

This would be a great area for the US and Vietnam to work together, and strengthen ties against a common competitor.

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