Thirty businesses from the Vietnamese Defence Ministry on May 22 attended the France-Vietnam Business Forum in Paris ’s outskirts city of Neuilly-sur-Seine to seek potential partners in their fields.
Officials double-check smuggled goods at Huu Nghi border gate with China in northern Lang Son Province. Authorities at border gates are tightening controls to prevent smuggling and fake goods during the lead-up to Lunar New Year. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
HA NOI — A 24-hour watch is being kept on smuggling hot spots along borders with neighbouring countries to limit the arrival of smuggled and fake goods during the lead-up to Lunar New Year.
Last year, customs officers seized smuggled or imitation products worth more than VND 436 billion (US$22.3 million). They consisted mainly of fertilisers, medicines, food and highly-taxed products such as wine, beer and cigarettes.
Nguyen Hung Dung, head of the Market Management Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said the work would be difficult because there were insufficient border guards and customs staff.
Last week, Ha Noi police found thousands of bottles of wines being produced under false labels by Zuso International Joint Stock Co in Chuong My District's Ngoc Son Industrial Zone.
Two days later, hundreds of fake monosodium glutamate (MSG) packets labelled Ajinomoto or Miwon plus 40kg of MSG from China were found in Dan Phuong District.
Some fakes are made so well that buyers cannot distinguish them from the real.
Chairman of the Association for Anti-fake Production and Trademark Protection, Le The Bao said violations were increasing. "Fake production block firms from fully expanding their markets and promoting their trademarks," he said.
Nguyen Quang Thiep, a member of Viet Nam Standard and Consumers Association's Anti-Counterfeiting Club, said that retailers paid little attention to the fight against fakes because of the large profits that could be made.
Last year, more than 150,000 trade name violations were reported and there were more than 73,000 prosecutions.
Animal quarantine departments have been told to conduct inspections for illegal meat imports, including low-quality chicken, to ensure that hygiene standards are met for the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Thousands of batches of chickens have been illegally imported through Lang Son City's Tan Thanh and Cao Loc border gates and over dirt paths in Lao Cai City, local authorities have said.
Although Viet Nam has banned the illegal import of chicken, the meat is being sold in abundance in northern and central markets.
Hoang Van Nam, head of the Animal Health Department, said there was a high risk of the low-quality imported chickens contaminating domestic poultry and affecting consumers' health.
A woman named Hong from Ha Noi said the chicken she bought was tough as rubber and had a bad smell from antibiotics.
The chicken had been imported from Ha Noi's wholesale Long Bien Market and distributed to the retail markets.
According to an investigation, the chickens were carried by porters from China and transported by motorbike to Lang Son. There, the chickens were raised and fed for two weeks at local households.
After that, the chickens were transported to Bac Giang City to be fed for more than one to two weeks.
They were then sold as chickens raised in Viet Nam, not China, to the Ha Vy poultry market in Ha Noi, the biggest poultry market in the northern region. From there, thousands of these chickens were distributed and sold to other markets throughout the country.
Do Van Hoc, a chicken breeder in Ha Noi's Duong Lam Village in Ha Noi, said consumers could not distinguish the Chinese chickens from domestic ones since they looked nearly the same.
Currently, the Chinese chickens are selling for VND20,000-25,000 (US$1-1.2) per kilo in China.
But the price is VND40,000 per kilo in Lang Son and VND60,000-65,000 per kilo in Ha Noi, and sometimes up to VND85,000-90,000.
Many restaurants buy the cheaper Chinese chickens, according to the local authorities.
Nam said that Chinese chickens had flooded the market because demand for poultry had been great at year-end, especially when the volume of pork began to fall.
The price of pork and chicken in markets rose sharply at the end of last year, increasing the number of illegal imports.
He added that local authorities needed to tightly control illegal imports via border gates, and that animal health sub-departments should confiscate and destroy disease-infected or low-quality chickens. —VNS