Customs watchdog to focus on origin frauds, illegal transshipment

The General Department of Customs will focus on cracking down origin frauds and illegal transshipment as violations are becoming more rampant and complex as Vietnam integrates more deeply into the global economy.

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Cracking down on origin faking is the focus of the customs watchdog this year. (Photo customs.gov.vn)

Nguyen Tien Loc, Director of the General Department of Customs’ Post-Clearance Inspection Department, made the statement at a recent conference about the fight against origin fraud in Hanoi.

Loc said origin fraud and illegal transshipment were being committed to avoid the US’s tariffs on Chinese products and enjoy preferential tariffs on products from Vietnam.

With the escalating US-China trade war, tariffs on products originating in China and exported to the US rose by about 7.5% to 285%, a huge difference with tariffs on products originating in Vietnam, Loc said.

Loc said the customs watchdog found a number of cases of origin faking and illegal transshipment, adding that origin faking happened most often in the sectors of electronics, garments, footwear, bicycles, wood, iron and steel and solar panel products.

Products were imported from China for minor processing in Vietnam then exported to the US to avoid the tariffs, he said.   

The department’s statistics showed the customs watchdog found 24 cases of origin faking out of 76 cases investigated, confiscating 3,590 bicycles, more than 4,000 sets of bicycle components and 12,000 sets of kitchen cabinet accessories.

Of note, a firm established in 2018 in Ho Chi Minh City was found to provide fake certificates of origin to about 30 enterprises with a total exported goods value of more than VND600 billion (US$25.8 million).

Currently, only the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Industry and Trade are authorised to provide certification of origin.

Investigations into the case were still ongoing, said Nguyen Hung Anh, Director of the Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department.

Regarding the alleged origin faking of Global Vietnam Aluminum Company Limited with a goods value of more than US$4.3 billion, Loc said the inter-sectoral investigation on the case was completed but did not found sufficient grounds to conclude the company violated established regulations.

The customs watchdog asked Ba Ria – Vung Tau province’s customs department to closely watch the company’s aluminum storage in the southern province with a weekly report to ensure these products would not be sold in the domestic market or would ensure origin rules when shipped out of Vietnam.

Loc said the customs department would enhance inspection to prevent origin faking, especially when the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement comes into force at the beginning of next month.

VNS/VNA