Imports of used materials to be tightened

July, 13/2018 - 15:30

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) will ask the Government to restrict the import of recyclable and used materials to Việt Nam.

Thousands of containers with used materials pile up at Cát Lái Port. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Hải
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) will ask the Government to restrict the import of recyclable and used materials to Việt Nam.

The statement was made by Minister Trần Hồng Hà at a conference on Thursday dealing with stagnant containers at the country’s seaports.

Speaking at the event, the minister stressed the significance of MoNRE’s collaboration with related agencies including ministries of finance, industry and trade, security and transportation, as well as local authorities and military in tightening the management of used goods coming into Việt Nam.

A shipment cannot be received at a port if its owner is unable to show necessary documents. According to Hà, this is an essential measure to protect the country from turning into a new global landfill.

Hoàng Văn Thức, deputy head of the Việt Nam Environment Authority, said that many loopholes existed in the management of used goods imported to the country.

 “We have yet to issue regulations on the responsibilities and punishment of container owners and heads of shipping companies. As an import licence for used materials has not been indicated as a compulsory document in shipping contracts, in cases of violations relating to that type of goods, it is impossible to handle those companies,” he said.

Trần Đức Phương, deputy head of the Department of Smuggling Investigation under the Ministry of Security, said that the majority of those goods were for temporary import and re-export.

“This activity brings huge profits for localities and logistics enterprises. However, we need to issue regulations based on market demands to prevent containers from piling up at our ports,” he said.

“Shipping companies need to ensure their goods comply with Việt Nam’s regulations and have their offices in the country. Provincial People’s Committees overseeing ports need to ensure the collaboration of shipping companies and port authorities in handling imported goods,” he added. 

According to the Vietnam News Agency, since the end of 2017, China stopped importing 24 types of recyclable and used materials.

This action forced used material exporters including the US, Japan, South Korea, Canada and other European countries to seek new markets such as Việt Nam, Thailand and Malaysia. A huge amount of used goods, therefore, have poured into Southeast Asia, causing container stagnation at seaports.

Meanwhile, a huge volume of used materials are on their way to Việt Nam.

Thức said that the total amount of used materials imported into the country in 2017 increased two-fold compared to 2016. Iron, steel, plastic, paper and granular materials are those witnessing a significant rise in imported volumes, doubling or tripling in some cases.

The amount of used plastic imported in the five first months of 2018 was double that of the total amount in 2017.

Thousands of containers containing recyclable and used materials are currently piling up at seaports in Hải Phòng, HCM City and Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province.

Up until June 16, there were nearly 4,500 containers stuck at Tân Cảng Sài Gòn Port and about 3,500 at Cát Lái Port in HCM City, containing mainly paper and plastic.

The stagnation is a threat to the local environment, reduces the productivity of ports and negatively impacts the import-export activities of domestic enterprises. — VNS