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Imported hazardous scrap needs to be more closely controlled

19:51 | 25/10/2016

VCN-  Hundreds of tons of lead batteries, aluminum, copper scrap, second hand electronic devices, etc have been seized by Customs on road, sea and air routes from 2010 up to now.             

imported hazardous scrap needs to be more closely controlled
Scrap copper seized by Customs (Photo provided by the Anti-smuggling Enforcement Team of central region)

Vietnam is integrating deeply in the world economy, thus the demand for importing machinery, technology and manufacturing material is very large, especially the import of scrap to meet the demand of goods manufacturing. However, there have been a lot of scrap not eligible to import, they have not been cleaned and impurity or the goods are hidden in the name of machines and equipment but they are out of date, old, waste energy, and no longer able to be used by industrial countries. Besides, hazardous scrap has also been transported into the territory of Vietnam such as: lead batteries, used electronic spare part and devices…

According to the Anti Smuggling and Investigation Department (under the General Department of Customs), the illegal transportation of all types of hazardous scrap in and out of country is implemented with sophisticated and close methods. In order to successfully implement these activities, the perpetrators often take advantage of Customs procedures, the policies of commodity management and select the areas which have a huge flow of goods.

In parallel with the inspection, Customs has also amended the policies of the law on environmental protection and reorganized the operational apparatus of the leading agencies. Besides, Customs enhances collecting information in accordance with the requirement on risk analysis for channel classification, Customs inspection; boost international cooperation on exchanging Customs intelligence. According to the preliminary statistics of the Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Department, from 2010, Customs collaborated to handle dozens of cases related to import of banned goods. Most of the goods are scrap, electronic components, spare parts, health devices, second-hand lead batteries. The banned goods are put in containers which are transported from abroad to Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh city. Thus, to unmask the enterprises’s violations, besides using the professional measures, Customs use the scanner system for physical inspection. Not only at border gates, in some cases Customs coordinated with the Environmental Police to seize violated goods which were transported inland.

A typical incident in Hai Phong Customs, the Hai Phong Sea port Customs Branch of zone II made Customs procedures for 4 containers of Duc Phuc Import Export and Trade Company with temporary import for re-export . The shipments were declared as “84 tons of rubber materials new 100%”. While the shipments were being inspected by the scanner, Customs detected the goods inside the containers were 142.8 tons of Lead batteries (including in the cover of the container). The Import/Export Cargo Customs procedures Team made the report of administrative violation with the Duc Phuc Company on importing goods which were on the List of banned goods that cause environmental pollution. Then the Customs Enforcement Team coordinated with the Hai Phong Sea port Customs Branch of zone I and the Division of Risk Management in a inspection with the shipment including 8 containers of Golden Mile Ltd.,Co and detected 490 second hand lead batteries mixed with all kinds of iron and steel scrap .

imported hazardous scrap needs to be more closely controlled Can export processing enterprises liquidate assets in the form of scrap metal?

According to the Police Department of Crime Prevention of Environment (the Ministry of Public Security) due to the high profit from business scrap and hazardous waste, so many organizations of transnational crime in the field of environment were established. In the process of economic development, the demand for using scrap for manufacturing materials and second hand machines is very high. Currently, import-export activities are adjusted in many documents: Law on Environmental protection, Law on Trade, Customs Law, Maritime Law,… but they have no connection to regulation of responsibility of the units that participate in import export activities. The collaboration among State authorities in the filed of import-export such as: Customs, Industry and Trade, Market Management, Environmental Police is not close, with no effective collaboration or rules of exchanging information in the professional work…

In order to met the requirements on prevention and combat of crime and violation in environmental protection in the field of import export , the Police Department of Crime Prevention of Environment proposed to issue the policies of law on environmental protection, especially the document on managing and handling violations, preventing and combating crime, violations on environmental protection, and standards on the environment with some categories of imported/exported goods. Customs and the Border Guard need to strengthen collaboration of information exchanging, investigating, identifying, and handling violations; and need to focus on intelligence measures in collection of related information aiming at warning, predicting and applying prevention measures in advance, fighting feasibly and effectively.

By Quang Hung/Ngoc Loan