HCMC – Country of origin fraud cases, wherein Chinese products bear Made-in-Vietnam labels, are on the rise, with Vietnam’s customs authority recently inspecting 76 cases and finding 24 of them violating rules of origin for exported goods to enjoy tariff incentives.
The customs sector also teamed up with the Ministry of Public Security to probe into one suspected case of falsified certificate of origin (C/O).
These figures were revealed at a press briefing to review activities to monitor and prevent country of origin fraud, which was held on July 6 by the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
In addition, the customs force confiscated 3,590 bicycles, over 4,000 sets of bicycle parts and over 12,000 sets of kitchen cabinet parts as proof of origin violations and seized over VND33 billion, including administrative fines and a sum of money earned from illegal sales.
After the authority conducted post-clearance inspections, all four companies that assembled bicycles and electric bikes to be exported to the United States, all five exporters of solar panels and all 12 wood and wooden furniture exporters were found violating product origin rules.
The Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department under the General Department of Vietnam Customs also discovered that two seafood companies had incorrectly declared the origin of their products for export.
A company based in HCMC called itself a member of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and issued fake C/Os for the exported products of some 30 enterprises in various localities nationwide, with the total value of the items exceeding VND600 billion, noted Nguyen Hung Anh, head of the department.
As per regulations, only VCCI and the Ministry of Industry and Trade have the authority to grant the C/O for exported items. Accordingly, the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department has cooperated with the Ministry of Public Security to probe into the case, as well as expand the investigation to tackle similar cases, Anh added.
According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, as the United States imposed additional import duties on Chinese products, there is a disparity in import tariffs between Vietnamese and Chinese products shipped to the US.
Among the groups of products that China has had to face extra import tariffs on, Vietnam recorded surging outbound sales of electronic goods, textiles-garments, footwear, bicycles, wood and wooden products, steel and solar panels.
Several companies took advantage of this opportunity to commit trade origin fraud, including shipping their products to Vietnam for minor processing, changing the packaging and finally exporting them to the US.