“With rapid global economic integration, the need for cultural and economic intersections among countries is increasing. This facilitated import of goods into the domestic market. One development in the recent past is more and more imported goods from abroad appearing in Vietnamese market. Several laws, including regulations on Vietnamese sub-labels, control the import of goods from abroad to protect the rights of Vietnamese consumers,. This article will provide you with some current legal provisions on Vietnamese sub-labels of imported goods. This may help companies in getting a general overview before deciding to participate in relevant business activities.”
Affixing sub-labels is one of the mandatory provisions for imported and exported goods, as specified in ‘Decree No. 43/2017/ND – CP’ and detailed in ‘Circular No. 05/2019/TT-BKHCN’. Accordingly, the sub-labels are labels written in Vietnamese attached to packaging of goods. Sub-labels must clearly state certain mandatory contents as on the original label. The first label attached on the packaging specifies the goods by the manufacturer(s). In case the original label lacks the content(s) as prescribed by Vietnamese law, the sub-label must supplement the said content(s) (Clause 4, Article 3 of Decree No. 43/2017/ND-CP).
The law does not specify who is responsible for sub-labeling imported goods for circulation in Vietnam. This obligation may be discussed between overseas manufacturers/sellers and importers in Vietnam and stipulated in contracts. However, in case the original label of imported goods is not in accordance with the provisions of law, the importer(s) shall be responsible for ensuring that the sub-label is in accordance with the regulations before the product is released into the market.
The label in general and the sub-label in specific must be shown on the packaging of the goods in such a way that prescribed contents of the label can be easily and fully recognized without having to remove any parts of the goods or its packaging.
The design of the goods label includes the size, style, number, color, symbol, and some other details.
Compulsory contents include the name of the goods, the name and address of the organization or individual responsible for the goods, the origin of the goods, and other content(s) according to the nature of each type of goods.
For some special goods such as imported alcohol and tobacco, in addition to labeling products with Vietnamese sub-labels, from 01 July 2022, companies must also put electronic stamps on each product in accordance with Circular No. 23/2021/TT-BTC. Previously, imported alcohol was required to have paper stamps as prescribed in Circular 15/2020 / TT-BTC.
In practice, there are many importing companies falling into detention during circulation on the market because the sub-label of the imported goods does not meet the conditions prescribed by law. This will also lead to unanticipated difficulties for such companies such as warehousing costs, remedial costs, penalties for violations and other risks as stated in the contracts between the companies and their customer(s).
To reduce these risks, companies should pay special attention to the agreement on labeling and packaging of products with the suppliers or service providers who perform the import services on behalf of company. A detailed provision in the contract will hold the suppliers responsible to compensate any damages or penalties that may arise as a result of violation of the related provisions.
Writing period: 15/07/2021.
The article is based on applicable law at the time noted above and may no longer be relevant at the time the reader approaches this article due to the change in applicable law and the specific case in which the reader wishes to apply. Therefore, the article has only reference values.