Last updated: Thursday, February 21, 2019


Ban on Scrap Import into Vietnam: Troubles on the Way

Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2018

Before the complicatedly rising scrap import and trading in Vietnam that risks environmental pollution and living environment, the General Department of Vietnam Customs specifically informed this reality at a press conference on July 30.

Legally, scrap import is governed in Law on Customs 54/2014/QH13 dated June 23, 2014; Decree 59/2018/ND-CP dated April 20, 2018 on amendments to the Government's Decree 08/2015/ND-CP of January 21, 2015 on guidance on the enforcement of the Law on Customs on customs procedures, inspection and control; Circular 39/2018/TT-BTC dated April 20, 20118 on amendments to Circular 38/2015/TT-BTC dated March 25, 2015 on regulations on customs procedures; customs inspection and supervision; export-import tax and tax administration promulgated by the Minister of Finance. And, the most recent is the message from the Prime Minister on tightening scrap import into Vietnam.

The General Department of Customs said Vietnam imported about 4 million tonnes of scrap in the first half of 2018, with thousands of containers docking at Vietnamese ports. A lot of containers cannot be cleared after more than 90 days, giving rise to the risk of causing pollution to the surrounding environment.

Scrap import into Vietnam has increased dramatically after China banned the import of 24 types of scrap. Statistical data showed that scrap import more than doubled in 2017. Japan, the United States and Thailand are top sources of scrap imported into Vietnam in early 2018 with three main items: plastic, paper and iron scrap.

Data from the General Department of Customs showed that scrap in Cat Lai Port - Ho Chi Minh City was packed in 3,579 containers as of July 25, 2018, with 2,423 overdue containers (more than 90 days) and 594 containers (30-90 days). As of July 5, Hai Phong Port had 1,485 scrap containers, including 1,342 containers of plastic waste, an increase of 228 containers.

Currently, the Department of Investigation against Smuggling under the General Department of Vietnam Customs is carrying out the plan of “investigation, verification and handling of violations in scrap import”. Accordingly, the department introduced methods to investigate and verify suspected cases in scrap import and handle violations in accordance with the law. At the same time, the department strived to illuminate violations like falsifying the certificate of scrap export, fixing the time of execution, volume and type of scraps certified for import, forging and fixing scrap import notices of competent agencies, forging and modifying certificates of deposit for scrap import.

In the past time, the General Department of Customs only handled violations committed by just one company. Investigations unveiled infringements committed by Duc Dat Trade Services Import Export Company. This company used fake documents, including the certificate of eligibility for scrap import and notification documents for imported scrap inspection and clearance. Meanwhile, a lot of other companies have not yet probed.

Mr Nguyen Khanh Quang, Deputy Director of the Department of Investigation against Smuggling, said, the list of certified importers of scraps for domestic production was adopted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Meanwhile, this list has never been made public on the National Single Window. Consequently, customs authorities and seaport operators are unlikely to know which businesses are licensed and which are not. In the meantime, a lot of loopholes have been found in customs clearance procedures. Even, some can completely forge documents. Let alone, Departments of Natural Resources and Environment are also competent to issue scrap import permits. As a result, port operators and smuggling watchdogs will find it hard to seek out importers of scrap stockpiled at ports. By doing this, scrap import prohibition will be more effective, and Vietnam will not become a dumping site of the world and the region.

Le Hien

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