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Fakes flood market as Vietnam struggles to combat counterfeit products

By Bui Hong Nhung   June 14, 2016 | 01:51 am PT
Each year, Vietnam’s market management authorities detect about 10,000 cases related to counterfeiting and piracy, but only 14 percent are ever brought to court.

Le The Bao, chairman of the Vietnam Association for Anti-Counterfeiting and Trademark Protection, said that counterfeit products are on display in many markets, supermarkets and shopping malls. Even anti-counterfeiting stamps, which are used to protect trademarks, are being faked.

The chairman added that 60 percent of imported wine into Vietnam has fake stamps while many meat traders have copied the government’s seals of approval and attached them on their products regardless of quality.

Last year, the Market Surveillance Agency detected about 25,000 cases of counterfeiting worth $24 million, but only collected $3 million in fines.

The fight against fake goods isn’t easy as some products are imported to the local market in the form of spare parts rather than finished products, making it difficult for police to identify. In addition, many enterprises offer fake items that are 90 percent genuine, making it difficult for authorities to detect.

Hoang Van Truc, deputy director of the Investigation Bureau of Economic Crimes, said that only one in seven cases related to fake goods is prosecuted, while the rest receive administrative fines.

The deputy director added that there’s a lack of cooperation between authorities, especially in bordering provinces, to prevent fake products from entering the local market. Many legal documents about counterfeiting and piracy overlap while the penalties aren’t enough of a deterrent.

Truc said that even local companies, for fear of losing customers, are reluctant to admit their products have been faked. He called on these firms to work with authorities to find counterfeit products and play their part in the fierce battle against economic crime.

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