WASHINGTON DC —
Vietnamese businesses have called for a boycott of low quality and unsafe Chinese products amid rising anti-China sentiment in the country.
The campaign, led by Vu Tien Loc, President of the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, encourages consumers to use Made-in-Vietnam goods as a way to show their national loyalty in the face of China’s assertive behavior in the South China Sea.
However, Loc told VOA’s Vietnamese Service that he is not asking people to boycott all Chinese merchandise, but rather to prioritize homemade, fairly priced and safe products.
“We only encourage [people] not to buy smuggled and unsafe Made-in-China products, and to prioritize using Vietnamese ones with competitive prices instead," said Loc. "
Priority should be put on Vietnamese goods, but not at all cost.”
Hanoi has been urged by many, including Communist Party members, to lessen Vietnam's economic dependence on China following Beijing's controversial placement of an oil rig in the disputed waters in the South China Sea.
Loc said Vietnamese businesses could express their patriotism by producing competitive Made-in-Vietnam products that could compete not only in Vietnam but also in foreign markets.
According to Vietnamese media reports, 63 percent of the country's consumers have chosen local products over imported ones in the last five years. It is unclear how the survey was conducted.
China was Vietnam's largest trading partner with total two-way trade reaching over $50 billion in 2013; Beijing retained its position in the first nine months of 2014, despite lingering tension over the South China Sea.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.