Sep 23, 2019 / 17:00

Vietnam trade ministry proposes not labeling Vietnamese origin on products

There has been growing trend of companies abusing the Vietnamese origin for unfair gains, causing mistrust from customers and unfair competition among enterprises.

Local products would not be labelled as “Vietnamese origin”, according to Tran Thanh Hai, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Import and Export Department. 
Illustrative photo.
Illustrative photo.
Such requirement is stipulated in a draft circular providing guidance on the identification of Vietnamese products or products made in Vietnam, Hai said at a conference held on September 21. 

Deputy Minsiter of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said 10 years ago, a product labeled as made-in-Vietnam would not bring any additional value in terms of marketing, or even causing negative responses from customers. 

However, in recent years, products with the “made-in-Vietnam” tag have brought in good marketing value, while companies are eager to label products as of Vietnam, or even fake Vietnamese origin for foreign products to increase chance of selling. 

The result was due to significant improvements in the quality of Vietnamese products, which help build trust among customers, Khanh added. This, however, led to some cases of products faking Vietnamese origin, he stated, adding customers have the right to know exactly about the product they are purchasing.

Under this circumstance, it is essential for the MoIT to provide regulations differentiating between Vietnamese products from foreign ones, Khanh asserted. 

The draft circular would protect the credibility of Vietnamese products, particularly made-in-Vietnam products with high quality, while ensuring customers are provided with exact information of the items. 

Moreover, it is expected to maintain a healthy business environment by protecting credible enterprises from unfair competition. 

Deputy Director of Import and Export Department Tran Thanh Hai noted there has been growing trend of companies abusing the Vietnamese origin for unfair gains, causing mistrust from customers and unfair competition among enterprises. 

Ly Kim Chi, chairwoman of the Food and Foodstuff Association of Ho Chi Minh City (FFA), said the issuance of such circular would have positive impacts on Vietnamese enterprises, especially those with recognized brand and transparent business operation. 

However, Chi noted the circular should not incur additional costs and administrative procedures by government agencies, even the costs of investigation.  

The draft circular also stipulates that Vietnamese products for domestic use would no longer be labeled “Made in Vietnam” or “Product of Vietnam” in English, but in Vietnamese. 

Companies, therefore, are not permitted to label their products as “assembled in Vietnam”, “designed by Vietnam” or “processed in Vietnam”. They have to chose one among the labels “products of Vietnam”, “Vietnamese products”, “produced in Vietnam”, “Vietnam produces”, among others.

In case of imported products stating its origin as from Vietnam, custom authorities would require importers for evidence of such declaration before clearance. 

The draft circular regulates that made-in-Vietnam products should be originated or wholly produced in Vietnam, including agricultural products or natural resources. Otherwise, products should undergo final processing or manufacturing in Vietnam to fundamentally change the essential qualities of the products to be labeled as such.