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Chinese products dominating Vietnamese traditional craft villages   2012-07-18 - NLD

Bat Trang pottery, Ha Dong silk craft villages have been flooded with Chinese goods. Meanwhile, the Dong Ho painting village not only has lost its traditional career, but lost its name as well.

The banderole reminds local people of the pride of the career of making potteries descended by their ancestors to the next generations.
Part 1: Vietnamese Bat Trang potteries surrender to Chinese products?

A banderole is hung over the entrance to the Bat Trang pottery craft village “Thuong hieu cho gom lang co Bat Trang thuoc ve nhan dan lang Bat Trang” (the Bat Trang pottery market and ancient village brand belong to Bat Trang village’s residents).



The banderole reminds local people of the pride of the career of making potteries descended by their ancestors to the next generations. This also shows the determination of Bat Trang people to retain the career and the brand.



Local dwellers and Vietnamese people need to be reminded of their task of protecting the Bat Trang brand now, when Chinese pottery products have been flooding the domestic market.



Le Van Cam, 83, the oldest craftsman in Bat Trang pottery village affirmed that Bat Trang potteries have their specific characteristics which can be considered their “identity card” when available on the market. The enamel color of Bat Trang products cannot be mistaken for other products from other sources



Cam, who spent 60 years in his life on making potteries, takes pride of the 800-year history of the pottery village. After a lot of ups and downs in the history, Bat Trang products still cement their position in the domestic market.



However, Cam has been hauntingly worried about the risk of being “crushed” by Chinese products.



Le Van Thu, a craftsman, the eldest son of Cam, said a lot of pottery workshops in Bat Trang have shut down, while others have been working at a moderate level and laid off most of their workers.



“We also have fewer orders,” Thu said.



He went on to say that the biggest threat for Bat Trang potteries is the presence of low cost and low quality products on the domestic market, mostly sourced from China.



Right in the Bat Trang village, people import potteries from China, then label the products with Bat Trang brand and sell as Bat Trang’s products. The trade frauds have step by step killed the traditional career.



Pham Van May, Deputy Chair of the Bat Trang commune People’s Committee, has confirmed that up to 95 percent of counterfeit goods, bearing Bat Trang brand, are sourced from China.



Why have Chinese potteries been flooding the domestic market, where Vietnamese people have called on by the Communist Party to “buy Vietnamese?”



The key lies in the hands of the traders--right in the Bat Trang pottery village. They prefer selling Chinese products which have the prices just equal to a half of the real Bat Trang’s products. It is very easy to import products from China and then sell as Bat Trang products to make fat profit.



Thu said that Chinese merchants have been present regularly in the village. “Some Chinese merchants have warned that many Chinese workshops want to counterfeit Bat Trang products. If Vietnam does not take action right now to protect Bat Trang brand, it would lose the long lasting brand one day,” Thu said.



“It’s necessary to pay a special attention to protecting Vietnamese traditional brands. Vietnam has learnt lessons from the cases of losing well known brands into the hands of Chinese businesses,” he added.



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