Established Vietnamese brands are being exploited by Thai and Chinese firms who are stealing their names to export their products to the United States and Europe, confusing both enterprises and consumers.
During overseas trips, the owner of an agricultural export company was surprised to see Phu Quoc fish sauce labeled as ‘made in Thailand’, and this is not the first time foreign products have stolen Vietnamese brands.
Director of Vietnam's Trade Promotion Agency Bui Huy Son told VnExpress that some foreign firms are also passing off products produced in their countries as Vietnamese, such as mangoes from Hoa Loc, pomeloes from Nam Roi and Hue's famous 'bun bo Hue' (beef noodles).
Bui said that Phu Quoc's fish sauce has been recognized by 28 E.U. members with 450,000 liters already sold to the market. Before products can be protected by their geographical status, they must undergo a strict examination process that looks at input materials, techniques, tools and equipment.
Bui underlined that Vietnamese products do not receive adequate protection. Even in the domestic market, only 11 enterprises have certificates of origin to label their fish sauce 'Phu Quoc', but countless companies do so anyway.
Pham Ngoc Thanh, director of fish sauce distributor Lam C&C JSC, said that foreign products that use registered Vietnamese brands have a direct impact on protected Phu Quoc fish sauce products, damaging the reputation of the genuine product. “Most customers are buying unqualified products,” the director concluded.
Bui Huy Son underscored that: “Vietnamese enterprises need to strengthen PR and marketing activities, improve product quality and get involved in distribution systems in rigorous markets like the E.U. to dislodge counterfeit products from foreign markets.”