|Containers at Hải Phòng Port. Customs officials at the port said prior to October 29, 2018, many batches of imported scrap had not been cleared because there were no national technical standards on the environment issued by the Ministry of National Resources and Environment. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Ngọc Ngọc - TTXVN|
HÀ NỘI – Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s working group visited Hải Phòng Port on Tuesday to inspect some of the huge number of containers of scrap materials and waste which are building up at major seaports in Việt Nam.
It is estimated that as of January 25, more than 24,000 containers had been piled up at Việt Nam’s seaports for more than 90 days.
The problem has been partly blamed on the lack of co-operation between governmental agencies when tightening rules on imports of environmentally harmful scrap and waste, which has caused problems for even honest businesses.
The prolonged congestion has forced many businesses to suspend their operations or even close due to a shortage of necessary scrap materials.
Custom units at the Hải Phòng Port said prior to October 29, 2018, many batches of imported scrap had not been cleared because when there were not any national technical standards on the environment by the Ministry of National Resources and Environment (MONRE) yet.
But even after the MONRE’s Circulars 8 and 9 promulgating technical standards for scrap took effect on October 29, 2018, many customs agencies were still not able to clear the scrap batches which have satisfied technical standards because there was no guidance from the General Department of Viet Nam Customs.
Another problem raised by enterprises is the specialised inspection sequence and procedures on scrap batches.
“The scrap batches were examined by legitimate independent institutions, why do we need local departments of environment to conduct another examination?,” said Mai Tiến Dũng, Minister – Chairman of the Government Office.
Võ Tuấn Nhân, deputy minister of MONRE, said while the regulations are stated by the ministry, it’s up to the customs agency to make case-by-case decisions.
Dũng asked concerned authorities not to blame one another but to focus their efforts on dealing with the difficulties to quickly clear eligible containers.
At the same time, the Ministry of Finance is tasked with directing customs to work with port operators and shipping lines to reduce warehouse costs for enterprises.
For shipments of scrap materials claimed by no one or those containing only waste, Chairman Dũng suggested the Government assign Hải Phòng to dispose of the waste and reuse the scrap materials.
In addition, the involvement of officials of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment in inspecting the quality of scrap batches as at present will no longer be needed. Instead, an independent unit, appointed by the MONRE, will join customs agencies to perform the inspections.
Dũng added that in the time ahead, the Government Office and the PM’s working group will report to the Government and the PM on the adjustment of four decrees so MONRE can make needed amendments within its jurisdiction.--VNS