The Ministry of Industry and Trade has been urged to retract a directive, which experts say creates unnecessary obstacles for textile and garment manufacturers. — Photo baohaiquan.vn
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Industry and Trade has been urged to retract a directive, which experts say creates unnecessary obstacles for textile and garment manufacturers.
The directive, which took effect in December 2015, regulates the acceptable levels of formaldehyde and aromatic amines derived from azo dyes in apparel materials imported for local production.
Under the circular, formaldehyde levels in textile materials must not exceed 30 mg/kg in textile products for children under 36 months of age; 75 mg/kg for textile products in direct contact with human skin; and 300 mg/kg for textile products not in direct contact with human skin.
The new circular sets the same limits as one from November 2009, which it replaces, but adds requirements for sampling methods to reflect updated test methods and relevant quality management requirements.
Nguyễn Minh Thảo, head of the CIEM’s Business Environment and Competitiveness Division, said the ministry’s requirement has forced enterprises to comply with a time-consuming and costly procedures for the past seven years.
After reviewing relevant legal documents, her research group found that the issuance of Circular 37 was contrary to the current Law on Product and Goods Quality, Thảo told Thời Báo Tài Chính (Việt Nam Financial Times) Online.
Under the law, the ministry is only allowed to issue regulations related to the inspection of formaldehyde content in textile products if the products are on the list of commodities under the ministry’s management.
However, textile products are not on the list of potentially unsafe goods under the ministry’s management.
On November 24, 2015, the ministry promulgated Circular 41 to supplement the textile products on the list as a “band-aid” solution.
Phạm Thanh Bình, former head of the General Department of Việt Nam Customs’ Post-Clearance Inspection Division, said “Circular 41 was issued and came into effect after Circular 37, thus Circular 37 is baseless.”
The Việt Nam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) complained that the requirement has cost garment enterprises much time and money. In particular, the long customs clearance time interrupts production and, in some cases, causes firms to miss delivery deadlines.
The complicated procedure will force enterprises to raise product costs, so their competitiveness will also be harmed, according to VITAS.
A formaldehyde content check usually takes three to seven days and the examination fee for one sample is approximately VNĐ2 million (US$90).
Statistics from Tân Sơn Nhất Airport Customs show that customs officers examine about 8,000 imported shipments of apparel per year for formaldehyde content, but just six cases of non-compliance have been found.
VITAS complained that the percentage of non-compliance never reached one per cent, but their products have undergone exhaustive examinations for years. – VNS