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 user 2010-10-19 at 8:08:49 am Views: 47
  • #24136
    Enforcement bodies hamstrung by fuzzy laws and thin resources
    market watchdog official seizes fake HP ink cartridges in Ho Chi Minh
    City. A recent report says Vietnamese officials are incapable of
    staunching the rapid growth of the counterfeit trade.Customs officials
    and anti-counterfeit units are understaffed and lack regulatory
    backbone, according to a report issued by the Central Counterfeit
    Production and Distribution Fighting Board last week.

    The board
    was joined by the ministries of Industry and Trade, Finance, and Science
    and Technology, all of whom claimed that despite their efforts,
    Vietnamese officials are incapable of staunching the rapid growth of the
    counterfeit trade.The report’s authors described Vietnam’s regulatory
    force as small and strained – about 5,000 market monitoring officials
    have been scattered across 63 provinces and cities to fight an untold
    force of fake goods producers.They also claimed that legislators have,
    so far, failed to establish specific penalties for intellectual property
    violations. Instead, a vague net of rules has been cast wide over a
    range of unrelated industries.The Ministry of Industry and Trade has
    announced that it is preparing a proposal that will establish specific
    penalties for fake goods and is in the process of submitting the
    recommendations for approval. The proposal will carry a maximum
    financial penalty of VND50 million (US$2,566) per violation.

    the meantime, the authors said, Vietnamese enforcement agents face a
    growing opponent.More people in local and neighboring markets are
    joining the trade that traffics fake goods in and out of Vietnam through
    the country’s porous, rugged border.Tran Viet Hung, head of the
    National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam, said 60 percent of
    fake and counterfeit products were imported into the country through
    these weak spots.Hung said his team was responsible for keeping an eye
    on a large range of products like cosmetics, medicines, clothes, bags
    and documents for tax purposes.

    He said the majority of the
    products originated in China, which the European Union recently dubbed
    the world’s “factory” for fast and easy knockoffs.Hung claimed that the
    bootleggers are plaguing domestic and international manufacturers
    alike.The report said that 100,000 cases of fake goods or intellectual
    property violations had been discovered in the last ten years. The
    report excluded an estimated 200 cases handled by investigators working
    for the nation’s customs officials.

    Nguyen Phi Hung, deputy head
    of the Smuggling Investigations Department under the General Department
    of Vietnam Customs, said the figure did not begin to describe the
    reality of the situation.The customs official further claimed that his
    department is only empowered to investigate or refuse clearance for
    shipments of products that businesses suspect of violating intellectual
    properties.In this way, he alleged, the customs enforcers were somewhat
    hamstrung by regulations.According to Hung, customs officials are not
    allowed to undertake any long-term seizures or initiate investigations
    unless they receive requests to do so from businesses or individuals.He
    says the rule creates a “loophole” for imported fake goods and that the
    law has turned Vietnam into a “transit” hub for fake goods destined for
    other markets.