Vi Van Khai, Vice Chairman of the Advisory Council for Vietnam Craft Village Association (VCVA) recently recounted how a craft village enterprise signed a contract to export 1 million ceramic buffaloes to Japan for 1 USD each. However, the shipment was returned because the products were not identical in shape and size. Finally, the enterprise had to sell the goods for only 1/10 of the price.
Most recently, handicraft products of an enterprise in Bac Ninh were returned from Japan due to impurities. Another enterprise in Hai Duong exporting bamboo and rattan products to the US market was even sued for imitating products from other enterprises.
Bach Quoc Khang, Deputy Director of the VCVA Legal Consultation Center said there are still many shortcomings in the policies governing craft village operations while production facilities in craft villages themselves are not very active in studying relevant legal documents or seeking consultations with legal organizations.
In recent years, a series of free trade agreements has come into effect, opening up opportunities to increase Vietnam’s handicraft exports. However, the handicraft industry must comply fully with legal obligations such as technical standards, source of origin, social responsibility and environment. If the local handicraft industry cannot overcome these barriers, handicraft villages will not survive.
The General Director of the Quang Vinh Company Limited Ha Thi Vinh said, “Enterprises need to research carefully the legal system of the importing country, and fully prepare certificates issued by recognized units before signing contracts”. Nevertheless, not all handicraft enterprises can afford to hire consultants for legal issues. Therefore, the VCVA needs to open a legal consulting center to support businesses, especially household businesses.
From a macro perspective, Bach Quoc Khang suggested that the VCVA propose a draft law on craft villages, which will provide specific legal documents and guidelines and more importantly, strengthen the connection between ministries, sectors and organizations to boost the development of craft villages in line with global development trends.
The VCVA is collecting opinions to propose a draft legal document for craft villages in order to introduce the best
support policies for the development of craft villages.