Counterfeiting and violations of intellectual property rights IPR were still rampant with the perpetrators operating outside and within the country employing advanced technologies and running sophisticated schemes
A market watch official inspect cosmetics at the Dong Xuan market in Ha Noi.
In addition, fraud, unfair competition, counterfeiting and violations of IPRs had gone almost unchecked on the internet due to a lack of legal mechanisms to regulate online trading.
The country’s market watch force, under the management of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, had conducted more than 140,000 investigations, among which more than 82,000 resulted in violations.
It had confiscated goods with a total value of 150 billion VND (6.5 million USD), and provided support for the police to prosecute 107 cases.
During the last ten months, the forces had handled more than 6,500 cases related to counterfeiting and IPR violations alone.
A major hurdle was difficulty tracking the origin of goods, according to the deputy head.
Contraband is typically smuggled into the country through hidden trails along its thousands-of-kilometres long borders its shares with Cambodia, China and Laos, and had proven to be extremely difficult to stop.
Once brought in, they are often mixed with other goods making it tricky market watch officials to detect. Even when they are found, it’s nearly impossible to track their origin as information labels are fabricated.
Duong called for a complete revamp of the country’s market force's approach to fighting fraud and counterfeiting and the development of direct communication channels between consumers and market watch forces for the early detection of contraband and fraudulent activities.
He also stressed the need to advise the public to only purchase from online platforms that had been licensed and registered by trade authorities.
A lot of progress had been made in Vietnam’s efforts to combat counterfeiting and violations of IPRs, said Phan Ngan Son, Deputy Director of the IPR Department under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
However, more resources must be committed to improving the quality of the country’s market watch force with additional training and modern equipment, especially in the field of IPR.
Nguyen Ngoc Tuyet Trinh, PR Director of L'Oréal Vietnam, said perpetrators moving their illicit trade online had made market watch officials’ jobs even more difficult as contraband was often stored in residential homes, making it nearly impossible to find.
According to L'Oréal Vietnam, counterfeit and smuggled cosmetic products accounted for more than 60 percent of sales of L'Oréal products through both online and offline channels.
The French cosmetics company has made numerous pleas to the Government to clamp down on sales of fake cosmetics and to implement legal mechanisms to protect enterprises’ IPRs online.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) placed Vietnam on its watch list for infringements of IPRs in 2019.