The Market Surveillance Agency (MSA) of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, one of the bodies enforcing intellectual property and compliance laws in Vietnamese market, has been very active in the course of 2016. Since the beginning of this year it has made nearly 150,000 inspections and found evidence of up to 88,000 violations, most of which are mislabeling, selling expired products, selling counterfeits and smuggled products (mostly unauthorized pesticides and cigarettes).
These numbers show not only activity of the MSA, but also attest the increase of illicit trade on the market, including counterfeited goods. To that end, the MSA has announced its intention to enhance coordination with other law enforcement authorities as well as the implementation of awareness-raising programs in order to fight the ever growing counterfeiting and smuggling business. One of the measures planned is increasing manpower before of the end of the year.
The authorities will have to focus their efforts because despite these increased efforts, combating counterfeiting and smuggling proves a very demanding task, and especially as such illicit importation has been on the rise in the recent period, while extensive and diverse border areas on the West and North of Vietnam are lacking personnel. In addition, the Agency has also declared that the leaders of local authorities in regions where counterfeiting and smuggling is thriving will be held accountable for absence of results in the fight against illicit trade. In this context, it is important that IP rights owners do not remain passive, and complement the authorities’ efforts by gaining a solid knowledge of the market and monitoring possible infringements of their brands.