Companies play an important role in the fight against counterfeit goods, Le The Bao, chairman of the Viet Nam Association for Anti-Counterfeiting and Trademark Protection, told Tin tuc (News).
Can you tell us about the counterfeit goods trade in Viet Nam?
All kinds of counterfeit goods are available across Viet Nam. The most popular are cosmetics, watches, pesticides and alcohol.
According to reports from the World Customs Organisation, one out of every 10 items available in the market is fake. The US loses about $250 billion on fake goods every year, and Germany loses $25 billion.
Trade fraud is rampant in Viet Nam, and it has seriously affected consumers, producers and the national economy as a whole.
Why are fake goods so popular here?
One of the reasons leading to the wide spread of fake goods in Viet Nam is the big price gap between genuine and fake goods. Meanwhile, some sellers mix fake goods with genuine ones to make earn extra profits. Selling fake goods can earn people two or three times as much money as real ones.
We are often informed of the presence of fake goods in the market, but when we ask manufacturers to co-operate with us so we can investigate, our requests are rejected. Of course, there are various reasons for them to turn down our request. One is that they don't want their reputation tarnished.
In addition, many Vietnamese producers don't show any interest in the fight against trade fraud because their businesses are small and their financial capacities are weak. This has affected the association's fight against counterfeit goods.
In my opinion, Vietnamese enterprises themselves have to join in the fight against counterfeiting and to protect trademark rights in our domestic market and in foreign markets.
So, what can Vietnamese enterprises do to help?
First of all, enterprises should try to cut down production costs so they can compete with fake goods' low prices.
Another important element is the co-operation between producers and buyers in the fight against counterfeiting.
According to our surveys, most consumers are willing to join the fight. But they want the manufactures to produce high-quality goods at reasonable prices. I understand that when we talk about price, our Vietnamese-made goods have trouble competing with those made in other ASEAN countries. The same goes for competing in quality with European or American products. But Vietnamese producers have an advantage over foreign manufacturers: They know the Vietnamese market and the needs of Vietnamese consumers.
That's why I think Vietnamese enterprises should make the best use of their comparative advantages. They need to register their logos or trademarks as soon as possible, or risk letting them fall into the hands of foreign companies.
In the meantime, business owners should be pro-active with agencies and the media in the fight against fraudulent trading.
In the past few years, the company Diago Viet Nam has been working to suppress this kind of fraud. Other firms can learn from the good example it is setting.
As Tet draws near, counterfeit goods are becoming more and more abundant. What should Vietnamese producers and management agencies do to protect consumers?
When supply cannot meet demand, low-quality and fake goods usually surface. I think urban markets, wholesale markets, supermarkets and trade centres will be hot spots for these problems. We, at the Viet Nam Association for Anti-Counterfeiting and Trademark Protection have developed a plan to co-ordinate various agencies during and after Tet. We're determined to protect consumers' rights and create a healthy business environment.
Meanwhile, the Government, ministries and sectors have voiced their willingness to join hands in the fight against counterfeiting and trademark infringement, particularly during Tet. — VNS