The ceramic buffaloes lesson of Vietnam’s craft villages

10:27 | 25/08/2019 Industry

(VEN) - Several years ago, a small firm in one of Vietnam’s craft village signed a contract to export 1 million ceramic buffaloes to Japan for a USD1 each. However, the shipment was returned because the products were not identical in shape and size. Eventually, the enterprise had to sell the goods for only 1/10 of the price.

the ceramic buffaloes lesson of vietnams craft villages

To improve export opportunities, handicraft businesses need to improve their knowledge of legal issues

The incident, as recounted by Vi Van Khai, Vice Chairman of the Advisory Council for the Vietnam Association of Craft Villages (VICRAFTS), illustrates the many pitfalls that craft villages face and the resulting consequences to their livelihoods. Lack of basic knowledge regarding business practices, legal regulations and export rules is also hampering these enterprises’ access to export markets.

Khai said the ceramic buffaloes incident was not rare in craft villages. Recently, handicraft exports to Japan of an enterprise in Bac Ninh Province were returned due to impurities. Another enterprise in Hai Duong Province exporting bamboo and rattan products to the US was even sued for imitating products from other enterprises.

The An Duong Handicraft Cooperative in Hai Duong is one of the first 100 companies selected and trained by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to sell goods on the Amazon Global Store distribution system. Despite the support, the cooperative encountered many difficulties. It had to re-submit dossiers and documents due to lack of knowledge of legal policies and also violated legal regulations for import and export procedures.

Bach Quoc Khang, Vice Chairman of the Advisory Council for the Vietnam Association of Craft Villages said there are still many shortcomings in the policies that govern craft village operations. Issuing decrees was not enough to create an overall impact on this sector, Khang said.

In addition, the enterprises or production facilities in craft villages themselves are not very active in seeking consultations with legal organizations or training human resources adequately. Moreover, enterprises often misunderstand the two concepts of product ownership and product model ownership, leading to imitation of product models, which must be avoided in exporting handicrafts.

To solve this problem, craft village enterprises need to study relevant legal documents and those seeking to export their goods must comply with contracts, improve production capacity, and seek assistance from legal organizations.

“Enterprises need to research carefully the legal system of the importing country, and fully prepare certificates issued by recognized units before signing contracts,” said Ha Thi Vinh, General Director of the Quang Vinh Company Ltd.

However, Vinh said not all handicraft enterprises can afford to hire legal consultants and therefore, the VICRAFTS needs to establish a legal consultancy center to support enterprises, especially household businesses.

From a macro perspective, Bach Quoc Khang suggested that the VICRAFTS propose a draft law to boost the development of craft villages in line with development trends in the world.

Hai Linh