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Concern mounts as fake goods flood struggling market

Update: July, 22/2013 - 11:20
HCM CITY (VNS)— The production and distribution of fake goods is becoming increasingly dire, affecting people's health and the country's economy, a conference heard in HCM City last week.

Delegates told the conference on fighting knockoffs and fake goods to protect businesses and consumers that such products are widely available everywhere – from rural areas to markets and even supermarkets in big cities.

According to the Market Watch Department, more than 13,100 cases of counterfeit goods and other infringements of intellectual property rights were uncovered last year.

Market watch teams found 3,115 cases in the first quarter of the year, and collected fines of VND13.5 billion (US$636,790).

Fake goods are both manufactured domestically and smuggled into the country, mainly foodstuffs, garments, household appliances, and consumer goods, delegates said.

In HCM City, the department inspected a warehouse belonging to an import-export company containing over 50,000 items and found 21,000 of them had been produced in China but had Vietnamese labels.

Fertilisers are among the most faked products, badly affecting agricultural production.

Recently a market watch team caught the Viet-Phap Science, Technology and Investment Corporation in Ha Noi's Thanh Tri District producing around 60 tonnes of fake fertilisers made mainly using limestone powder.

Duong Hung Do, general director of the Southern Construction and Mineral Exploitation Joint Stock Company, said his company sells the Dia Long brand of fertilisers, which is popular with farmers, but recently discovered many fake Dia Long fertilisers in the market.

Huynh Van Hoang, editor-in-chief of Thuong hieu Viet magazine, which organised the conference, said unscrupulous elements take advantage of the fact that consumers are reluctant to claim compensation when they buy fake goods.

Do agreed, saying that when his company knew farmers' crops had been damaged by fake fertilisers it urged them to seek compensation, but they kept finding reasons not to do it.

Manufacturers too hesitated to inform authorities when their goods were fake because they were afraid of losing consumers, delegates said.

Le Xuan Dai of the Market Watch Department said official agencies, consumers, manufacturers, and the entire community need to co-operate in the fight against fake products.

Business associations, enterprises, and the media should also co-operate to improve consumers' knowledge about their rights and responsibilities, he said.

Manufacturers should register new products for intellectual property rights to prevent knockoffs, he added.

Participants called on businesses to improve their public communication to help people identify fake and substandard goods.

The conference was organised in association with the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations. — VNS

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