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Vietnamese Embassy in Italy supports settlement of suspected cashew nut export scam

Vietnamese Embassy in Italy supports settlement of suspected cashew nut export scam The Vietnamese Embassy in Italy is actively seeking ways to support the settlement of a suspected scam related to 100 containers of cashew nuts exported the European country.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Nguyen Thi Bich Hue said after receiving official information from the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas), the embassy got in touch with ship owners, verified information, and contacted banks to find ways to protect the legitimate interests of Vietnamese exporters.

According to the latest news from Vinacas, only 34 containers of five businesses have not been able to verify the original documents, she said, adding it will continue to coordinate with the Vietnamese Trade Office in Italy to assist these enterprises.

Vietnamese Trade Counselor in Italy Nguyen Duc Thanh said upon receiving the requests from companies and Vinacas, the Vietnam Trade Office asked relevant agencies to contact the International Economic Court and the International Commercial Arbitration Centre in Vietnam to talk with  shipping lines so that they do not deliver the goods to consignees with original bills of lading in Italy. 

On March 8, the representative of the office visited the COSCO shipping company in the port city of Genoa, western Italy. COSCO agreed not to deliver the shipments to the buyer in the suspect scam, even though they have the original bills of lading and have paid the port fee. The company has given the Vietnamese side several days to solve the incident, Thanh said.

He suggested that similar actions should be done with shipping lines in Vietnam, adding that it’s the only way to minimise the damage for Vietnamese enterprises.

Thanh also said that the Vietnamese Embassy in Italy has sent a diplomatic note to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Development, relevant agencies, as well as chambers of commerce, banks, and partners who can assist in the case that might have a big impact on many Vietnamese enterprises.

Meanwhile, Bach Khanh Nhut, vice president of Vinacas said at a press conference on March 9 that Vietnamese sellers noticed signs of fraud and immediately stopped shipping in Vietnam when the first container arrived in Italy and someone came to carry out the procedures to receive the goods, but they have not received the payment. They also intervened to keep the other containers in transit in Singapore.

All Vietnamese enterprises involved in the incident have signed contracts to export cashew nuts to customers in Italy through Kim Hanh Viet company and by documents against payment method.

As of March 9, Vietnamese firms have lost control bills of lading for 36 containers valued at 162 billion VND (7.1 million USD).

Vinacas have contacted the COSCO shipping company headquartered in China, requesting it to temporarily hold all the containers of Vietnamese cashews at the port while waiting for confirmation from the Vietnamese sellers. It is also seeking legal support from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the International Commercial Arbitration Centre.

Italy is the 11th largest cashew nut import market in the world. Vietnam's cashew nut export turnover to Italy reached 45 million USD in 2020, accounting for 59 percent of this country's import turnover./.