Vietnam Economic Times and VINASTAS conference hears of prevalence of counterfeit and poor quality steel around the country.
Vietnam Economic Times and the Vietnam Standards and Consumers Association (VINASTAS) held a conference on counterfeit and poor quality sheet steel on November 27 in Hanoi.
Opening the conference, Mr. Vu Dinh Hoe, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Vietnam Economic Times, said that commercial fraud in the industry has become more widespread and complex, especially pre-coated galvanized steel, which is a key material in the industry and an important part of the national economy.
“With the aim of preventing the appearance of counterfeit steel, protect consumers, and celebrate Anti-Counterfeiting Day on November 29, Vietnam Economic Times and VINASTAS are pleased to hold this workshop,” Mr. Hoe told the gathering.
The conference was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Market Surveillance Agency, the Vietnam Steel Association, and nearly 100 steel enterprises, as well as economists and the media.
There were three sessions, including a demonstration on visually identifying counterfeit or poor quality sheet steel, the market situation regarding such steel and possible solutions, and the release of results from the Quality Assurance and Testing Center (Quatest) on such steel.
“Indications of commercial fraud and counterfeit sheet steel include false labeling of products with those of prestigious steel producers, steel lacking thickness, imported Chinese steel being relabeled as another product, and the absence of invoices accompanying sales,” according to Mr. Nguyen Van Sua, Vice President of the Vietnam Steel Association.
Mr. Nguyen Manh Hung, Deputy President and Secretary of VINASTAS, expressed his concern over counterfeit sheet steel and violations of intellectual property rights. “The situation affects not only enterprises but also consumer rights,” he said. What could happen, he asked, if buildings were constructed using counterfeit or poor quality sheet steel?
Moreover, only specialized facilities can examine thickness and quality, he added. “It’s very difficult to determine the quality of sheet steel with the naked eye,” he said. “In 2015 counterfeit steel and steel without a clear origin appeared in all corners of the country.” Despite the State’s intervention a year ago, not much improvement has been made, he complained.
From an enterprise perspective, Mr. Vu Van Thanh, Vice Chairman of the Hoa Sen Group, recommended possible solutions for the State, enterprises, and consumers to adopt. “In the short term, strong measures are needed to control the appearance of counterfeit and poor quality sheet steel, and in the long term Vietnam should have its own national standards on quality.”
His advice to other steel enterprises is to be active in introducing their products to customers and where they can be purchased. For consumers, he advised they be smart and recognize that cheap steel is likely to be counterfeit.
The conference also heard of the determination from authorities to fight the trade of counterfeit and poor quality sheet steel. The Ministry of Industry and Trade, for example, have strengthened their cooperation with related agencies and associations to prevent the appearance and trade of sub-standard products.