February 23, 2019 15:24

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A busy year against imported 'waste'

20:31 | 11/02/2019

VCN - If there is a word chosen to talk about the struggle to prevent imported “waste” in 2018, it will be "hot".

a busy year against imported waste
The plastic waste that is not eligible for import was discovered and arrested by Hai Phong Customs

Being hot from the National Assembly, interdisciplinary meetings, directing documents and instructions of the Prime Minister to reality at some seaports, the amount of waste and garbage "hiding" is sharply increasing. In this cycle, the Customs authorities have proposed the leaders as well as the related state management agencies on the situation and solutions, and have directed the industry to strengthen management measures. Preventing the risks of Vietnam becoming a destination for world waste is hard work, but is an urgent requirement to protect the environment and the health of people.

Stressfully prop up

The story of imported waste has become hot since early 2018 when China suddenly stopped importing 24 types of waste for recycling. The China's ban on imported waste means cutting off the main channel to remove waste from the countries, which previously exported solid waste and scrap to China (such as the US, Japan, South Korea, Canada, and countries of Northern Europe...). The traditional partners of China have been forced to find new partners and import markets, including Vietnam.

According to the statistics of the General Department of Customs, in recent years, the situation of importing scrap has tended to increase in both quantity and category. At the meeting in the middle of 2018 of the General Department of Customs, Mr. Au Anh Tuan, Acting Director of Customs Control and Supervision Department stated that only in the first 8 months of 2018, the amount of imported scrap was equal to the total import of both 2015 and 2016. Through the process of monitoring, investigation and verification, the General Department of Customs recognized that the number of goods declared as scrap and goods characterized by imported scrap and waste into Vietnam tended to increase. Many businesses continued taking advantage of the loose regulations of the law to bring scrap and waste that did not meet the regulations on environmental protection into Vietnamese territory...

Facing this situation, the General Department of Customs took the initiative and strengthened the inspection and control work; Strictly managed scrap and goods characterized by imported scrap; Early on it constructed and implemented the risk-control plans for importing waste in the whole country; constructed and implemented plans for investigation, verification and handling of violations in importing waste, and one of the timely and powerful "sticks" was that the General Department of Customs had issued Official Dispatch No. 4202/TCHQ-PC dated July 17, 2018 on management of scrap imports into Vietnam.

The plans have been deployed “aggressively”. On the one hand, the General Department of Customs has continuously reviewed and updated the statistics on imported scrap to assess the situation, make reports to the Ministry of Finance and the Government. On the other hand, it has proposed the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Transport to deal with shortcomings from policies and proposed solutions to strengthen management. At the same time, there was direct guidance in the industry to implement management and supervision measures for importing scrap, by widely informing the public about customs management for imported scrap, so that the people and businesses would understand, and join hands with Customs authorities in the fight against "waste". wide

Right after organizing the press conference to comprehensively inform the people and businesses (on July 30, 2018), on August 3, the mission of the General Department of Customs led by the Deputy General Director Mai Xuan Thanh, directly inspected and grasped the management and implementation of customs procedures for imported scrap in Hai Phong Customs Department.

Put waste management into order

After the actual work and situation assessment, the General Department of Customs advised the Ministry of Finance to issue Official Dispatch No. 12736/BTC-TCHQ dated October 17, 2018, to exchange with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment about problems related to updating the Certificate/Confirmation of eligibility for environmental protection only in the import of discarded materials as production raw materials; Notification about shipment of imported scrap; the results of certification in conformity with national technical standards on environment; handling of unsold goods at ports and some problems in Circular 08/2018/TT-BTNMT and Circular 09/2018/TT-BTNMT, issued an Official Letter No.12735/BTC-TCHQ dated October 17, 2018, requesting the Ministry of Transport to inform and ask shipping companies to transport goods that are polluting and causing environmental pollution according to regulations out of Vietnamese territory; Official Letter No. 12957 / BTC-TCHQ dated October 22, 2018, reporting to the Prime Minister on the plan of handling unsold goods as scrap, Official Letter No. 6644/TCHQ-GSQL dated November 13, 2018, guiding the management waste materials imported from abroad into Vietnam and guiding the implementation of imported scrap management software to apply remote preventive measures, not allowing unloading of waste and scrap that are not eligible for import.

Sharing about the efforts of the Customs sector in managing imported waste, Mr. Au Anh Tuan, Acting Director of Customs Control and Supervision Department stated: The drastic solutions of the General Department of Customs managing the imported scrap recently have created a high consensus in society; clearly defined the responsibilities of management agencies and affirmed the role of the Ministry of Finance (the General Department of Customs) in controlling and preventing the import of wastes and discarded materials that do not meet the environmental conditions. The contents in Official Dispatch 4202/TCHQ-PC and recommendations of the Ministry of Finance have been recognized and included in the Directive 27/ CT-TTg by the Prime Minister.

At the end of October 2018, when there were only 3 days left before the Circular 08/2018/TT-BTNMT and 09/2018/TT-BTNMT of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on the National Technical Regulations on environment for imported scraps, including iron and steel, plastic, paper, glass, non-ferrous metals and granulated slag came into effect (on October 29). Being "impatient" when there was only a short time to implement the Circular of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, while these problems had not been answered, the General Department of Customs convened an urgent meeting with a number of local customs units to assess the implementation of Directive 27/CT-TTg of the Prime Minister, at the same time, made recommendations and solutions to continuously and closely manage imported scrap, ensuring that no pollution-causing goods are imported into the inland.

Preventing imported waste – Customs sector contributes to environmental protection and public health

In fact, along with directing the local customs units to implement the procedures quickly and in accordance with the regulations for customs clearance of scrap batches, ensuring the provisions of customs law and environmental law, the customs authorities through inspection and supervision measures, have discovered many scrap samples that do not meet the national technical standards on environmental protection for imported scrap as production materials, with harmful impurities to the environment.

In addition, the General Department of Customs in coordination with the Investigation Police Department of the Ministry of Public Security conducted a review, detection and investigation of units and individuals who have committed violations in importing waste materials into Vietnam, prosecuted 7 enterprises relating to acts of counterfeiting, erasing, modifying documents of state agencies to legalize the import documents for scrap; Enterprises importing scrap exceeding the limit granted according to the granted notices of imported scrap goods for inspection and clearance by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, or the Department of Natural Resources and Environment... Through the inspection process, the Customs authorities discovered a series of frauds, smuggling, especially the hiding of prohibited goods in imported scrap shipments.

With the determination to vigorously participate by all leadership levels and sectors, including the Customs sector, in 2018 the management of imported waste materials has gradually been put into order; scrap materials must have a certificate of sufficient conditions for environmental protection in scrap import, Certificate of importing scrap, certificate of deposit... and be shared, managed through electronic data system. However, the issue of imported scrap management continues to be a concern of the people not only in 2018 and for 2019, but also in the following years. This requires industries and levels to continuously promote solutions to manage and prevent the risks that Vietnam becomes the destination of world’s waste, and the Customs will continue to do a good job of guarding the gate to protect community health and environment.

By Ngoc Linh/ Ha Thanh