Chinese products, with no labels or origin, are selling well at the wholesale markets in HCMC, while the current fight against low-quality goods imported from China is being lost.
Importers said cheap Chinese goods with good designs were well consumed in Vietnam and generated enough profits for them to survive the current tough times.
Many items that can be produced at home are imported because of low import costs. As a result, several consumer goods producers have switched to importing Chinese goods.
“Even when minimizing all costs, local producers can have a profit margin of only 10% at present. Meanwhile, if they import the same items from China for sale in the domestic market, the average profit margin will be 30%,” said the director of a company specializing in import of sanitary wares and detergents from China.
Vietnam still imports a lot of vegetables from China, the U.S. and Thailand, with imports from China accounting for over 50% of the total turnover.
Recently, vegetables imported from China such as cabbage, grapes, apples and pears have been found containing plant protection drug residues far exceeding permissible levels. Although the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development imposes a stringent control on vegetable imports, it is helpless against hundreds of tons of vegetables originated from China penetrating Vietnam daily through the northern border gates.
Vietnam has an increasingly high trade deficit with China. In 2012, Vietnam exported US$12.2 billion worth of products to China but imported as much as US$28.9 billion.
Experts said the State should develop a set of quality standards for locally-made products as well as imported goods. In other countries, there are always technical barriers against low-quality products to protect consumers.
The State should warn small traders at border markets about the hazards of poor-quality Chinese products. However, many importers despite knowing about the inferior quality of certain products still import them for sale to local consumers.
Regulations on trade defense instruments have been issued. Management agencies, including the Vietnam Competition Authority, have been trying to raise awareness of the business community.
However, the results so far have not met the requirements. Vietnamese enterprises and associations still have limited knowledge of when and how to use trade defense instruments, so Chinese goods keep penetrating the local market.
The Saigon Times Daily