Authorities should closely monitor the import and export of goods including goods origin to prevent customs declaration fraud
With the US-China trade war escalating, Chinese firms could ship their unfinished products to Vietnam and then export them to the US through a Vietnam-based firm as an intermediary to avoid tariffs, Ngo Vo Minh Hung, business director of VIFON, warned.
This would affect Vietnam, as evidenced by the case of steel originating in China but exported from Vietnam, he said, noting that the US Department of Commerce had decided to slap tariffs on steel produced in Vietnam using Chinese-origin materials.
With the trade war causing difficulties for Chinese firms in exporting to the US, they would increase exports to other countries, including Vietnam, putting big pressure on local producers, he said.
Hung called on related agencies to better monitor imports and exports to prevent the import of poor quality products and customs fraud.
Bui Quang Tin, CEO of BizLight Business School, said Vietnam was the only market among the US’s five trade partners with which it had a high trade deficit but had not imposed tariffs yet. But that could still happen, he warned.
If the US imposed punitive tariffs, the impact on the Vietnamese economy would be huge since the country had an “open” economy, he said.
Su Ngoc Khuong, investment director of Savills Vietnam, said the trade dispute between the US and China, two of Vietnam’s top trading partners, could have both positive and negative impacts on the country.
When Chinese products are hit with US tariffs, Vietnam can serve as an alternative supplier of several goods to the US, he said, adding that other countries such as Thailand with similar products as Vietnam also see it as an export opportunity, leading to an intense competition to sell to the US.
Vietnam’s seafood industry can achieve higher growth if it grabs the opportunities that might open up when the US switches from China to other sellers, he said.
The seminar also provided some useful tips for Vietnamese companies to help them avoid risks in international trading and suggested measures to boost exports to the US and China like carefully studying the markets, working with retailers and distributors there and others.