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How much is ‘Vietnamese content’ in ‘Vietnamese goods’?

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The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) says 70-90 percent of goods available at supermarkets are ‘Vietnamese’. But consumers say it is very difficult to find ‘Vietnamese goods’ at supermarkets.

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Deputy director of MOIT’s Domestic Market Department Le Viet Nga said at a recent workshop that the proportion of Vietnamese goods at supermarkets has reached 70 percent. At big supermarkets such as Co-op Mart and Big C, the figure is 90 percent.

Pham Phuong Thuy from Linh Dam residential quarter said she was surprised about the figures released by MOIT. 

“I went to a supermarket this morning to buy some kitchenware items. But I could not find any ‘Vietnamese goods’ there,” she said.

“You can find Vietnamese goods if you want vegetables, fruits, pork or fish sauce. And toilet paper as well. That’s all. There is nothing more ‘Vietnamese’,” she said.

“I looked for clothes-hangers and I found two products from two private Vietnamese workshops. There were tens of products sourced from China,” she said. 

Unlike Thuy, Le Minh Ngoc, an office worker, said she understands why MOIT says 70-90 percent of goods displayed at supermarkets are Vietnamese. 

“The ministry counts on products made by joint ventures. However, I don’t think the products can be listed as Vietnamese because there is very low ‘Vietnamese content’ in them,” she said.

When asked to name ‘non-food pure Vietnamese’ products, Ngoc cited Thorakao, a brand of cosmetics made of medicinal herbs.

“Thorakao’s products are displayed on the bottom shelf at the cosmetics counter. Only the buyers with keen eyes can find them,” she said.

Vu Vinh Phu, former deputy director of the Hanoi Trade Department, said a product can be listed as ‘Vietnamese’ only if there is at least 50 percent of ‘Vietnamese content’. 

Meanwhile, MOIT has been insisting on the view that all the products made in Vietnamese territory are ‘Vietnamese’. 

“It’s obvious that foreign products are dominating the domestic market. I am sure that 70 percent of home appliance products are from Thailand. As for fruits, many are imports,” Phu said.

The expert cited an example to prove the misconception about ‘Vietnamese goods’. Most of the products bearing K brand are imported from China. 

However, at supermarkets, they are advertised as ‘Vietnamese high-quality goods’. The products bear the bar code with prefix ‘893’ showing Vietnamese origin.

Opinions also vary about whether Samsung’s products are called ‘Vietnamese’. If referring to MOIT’s definition, Samsung’s products made in Vietnam would be called ‘Vietnamese’. 

However, Vo Thanh Thu, an economist, pointed out that they cannot be ‘Vietnamese’ because 80 percent of the product content is not Vietnamese. 

Source: VNN