Vietnam company cleared of forgery allegations

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Authorities have cleared a local company of charges that it forged documents to import dairy products made by US company Abbott.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade's Market Surveillance Agency said it had asked Song Nam Investment and Development Limited Company to produce the documents related to the imports of Ensure milk products and the company had done so.

The General Department of Vietnam Customs said Song Nam had bought dairy products sold legally in the US and imported them by completing due procedures.

The Vietnam Food Administration said Song Nam had produced documents to prove that Ensure milk products met food safety requirements.

In a bizarre twist, in August Abbott's representative office in Ho Chi Minh City had lodged a complaint with the Market Surveillance Agency and the Vietnam Food Administration accusing Song Nam of using fake documents to import Ensure products.

It claimed to have received a copy of a letter from East West Trading Partners based in Illinois, the US, confirming that the HCMC-based Song Nam is an authorized distributor of Abbott's Ensure products in Vietnam.

But it alleged that the letter was fake as was the Abbot seal on it.

Tom Evers, director at Abbott Laboratories, told the Vietnamese embassy in the US that the name of the notary officer on the letter is not in the Illinois list of notary officers, and the address of the notary office is also wrong.

Abbott said it has no business relations with East West Trading Partners.

In its complaint, Abbott had also expressed concern about the quality of the products that Song Nam imported, and asked the authorities to investigate this, claiming they were of unknown origin.

3A Nutrition is the official distributor of its dairy products in Vietnam, it said.

Song Nam had repeatedly denied any links with East West Trading Partners.

Song Nam sells its products at much lower prices than Abbott's official distributors.

Normally in Vietnam it is the other way around, with dairy products carrying foreign labels costing more than locally made foreign products.

The last has clearly not been heard on this issue.

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