Chinese exporters evade new U.S. tariffs with fake product origin certificates from agriculture to steel trans shipping through Vietnam

According to a Bloomberg news report, Vietnam said on Sunday that it found dozens of fake product-origin certificates and illegal transfers by companies evading U.S. tariffs on everything from agriculture to textiles and steel. It was the first time an Asian government has publicly said this was happening since the trade war between the U.S. and China started.

Vietnam pledged to increase penalties on trade-related fraud. U.S. trading partners including Vietnam are being asked to stop on illicit exports.

Vietnam is concerned it may be punished by the U.S. for allowing mislabeled Chinese products to flow to America, Do Van Sinh, a standing member of the National Assembly’s economic committee, was quoted as saying in the government’s statement.

The Southeast Asian country’s reported shipments to the U.S. have jumped this year as China’s have slumped. While there’s evidence that some of those gains are due to shifting supply chains, analysts have questioned how much of the recent surge is legitimate.

Fraudulent cases discovered by Vietnam’s government include packaging on Chinese goods being changed to say “Made in Vietnam” before certificates of origin are processed. The government cited an example of U.S. customs officials uncovering Chinese plywood being shipped to America through a Vietnamese company.

Vietnam already faces scrutiny from the U.S. after the Treasury Department added the country to a watchlist for currency manipulation last month.