October 18, 2019 06:07

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Controlling the scrap import situation

10:42 | 02/06/2019

VCN - After a time of massive scrap imports, including illegal acts to bring waste and banned goods into Vietnam, the situation of importing scrap has stabilized gradually and the amount of residual scrap at seaports is decreasing. This shows the timely guidance of the Government, the Prime Minister and the active and proactive participation of ministries and agencies, including the Ministry of Finance (the General Department of Customs).

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Imported scrap at Hai Phong port. Photo: N.Linh

Control the situation

Back in 2018, the situation of imported scrap increased dramatically due to the impact of China's trade policy as well as the abuse of a policy mechanism from some enterprises. The amount of imported scrap more than doubled in 2017 compared with the volume of imported scrap in 2016. In particular, the volume of iron, steel, plastic, paper and small grain of cinder are the types of scrap with volume increases between 200% and 400% compared to 2016. Particularly, in only the first 5 months of 2018, the volume of imported scrap plastic surged nearly 200% compared to the whole of 2017.

The General Department of Customs has urgently implemented many measures to strengthen control within the scope of assigned functions and tasks as well as advising the Ministry of Finance and the Government on some important policies (Directive No. 27/CT-TTg dated September 17, 2018, Official Dispatch No. 13151/BTC-TCHQ, 12736/BTC-TCHQ, 12735/BTC-TCHQ, 12957/BTC-TCHQ) aimed at not letting Vietnam become the "landfill" of the world.

By the measures of strong control, key focus, ensure compliance with the law (in which to focus on preventing goods arriving in the territory of Vietnam in combination with measures to strengthen inspection during customs clearance, investigation and prosecution of key cases), over time, the smuggling of waste, scrap and goods characterized as waste materials that are not eligible for environmental protection has been effectively prevented; at the same time, creating favorable conditions for enterprises to do business in importing reprocessed scrap materials to serve as raw materials for production.

Faced with the strict control of the Customs authorities, many enterprises showed signs of evading or not carrying out customs procedures, resulting in about 19,000 containers still being stored at seaports by the end of 2018, of which more than 9,000 containers have been stored for over 90 days. The General Department of Customs advises the Ministry of Finance in coordinating with relevant ministries to solve the backlog of goods and release space for the ports.

According to the statistics of the General Department of Customs, the amount of scrap stored in some Vietnamese seaports is decreasing. At the end of February 2019, the number of containers declared on E-manifest as scrap was about 21,600 units (a reduction of 2,600 units over the previous month), of which the number of containers kept at ports less than 30 days was about 6,200 units; backlog (stored for more than 90 days) was about 9,600 units (200 units more compared to the previous month), at the end of March 2019, the number of backlog containers declared on the E-manifest as scrap was about 17,200 units (about 4,400 units down from the previous month); the backlog amount (kept over 90 days) was 9,500 units

By the end of April 2019, the amount of containers declared on the E-manifest was about 14,500 units (currently about 2,700 units over the previous month), of which the backlog amount (stored over 90 days) was about 8,900 units (reducing 600 containers compared to the previous month. After ministries, agencies and the Customs agencies promptly remove problems, the backlog of goods will tend to decrease.

Facilitate the approved enterprises

In order to continue to facilitate approved enterprises importing scrap as production materials, at the same time preventing fraudulent importing of scrap to bring waste into Vietnam, the General Department of Customs issued Official Letter No. 2188/TCHQ-GSQL on April 16, 2019 on guiding the Customs Departments of provinces and cities to uniformly implement. In particular, instructing the units to apply remote preventive measures so that when scrap goods which do not meet the conditions of import are still onboard the goods are not discharged into Vietnamese territory; based on the inspection and assessment results of the independent inspection unit appointed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to assess the quality of imported scrap to carry out customs clearance of imported scrap goods according to regulations. Customs declarants can choose the location to check imported scrap and carry out the customs procedures at the import border gate or the Customs office where the imported scrap factory is located.

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In addition, the Ministry of Finance (General Department of Customs) is coordinating with ministries, branches and People's Committees of provinces and cities to build a regulation on coordination to control imported scrap to report to the Prime Minister for approval. This will be an important legal basis in cementing and personalizing the responsibilities of ministries and branches, contributing to improving the efficiency of scrap management and control. In addition, the General Department of Customs is cooperating with ministries, branches and People's Committees of provinces and cities to develop plans to handle backlog goods declared on the manifest as scrap at seaports.

By N.Linh/ Binh Minh