VCN- The investigation and specification of violations related to the scrap imports is not only conducted by anti-smuggling units under the General Department of Vietnam Customs, but also implemented by the Customs units at all levels by taking measures to strengthen the inspection and control to detect violations on environmental protection and Customs law.
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Difficulty in managing the license
At the press conference on Customs management for the scrap imports (afternoon 30th July) in Ha Noi) held by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Deputy Director General Mai Xuan Thanh and representatives of Departments under the General Department of Vietnam Customs provided information and answered questions of reporters about the management of scrap, and solutions implemented over the past time as well as difficulties in implementing polices on environmental protection.
The reporter from People’s Television asked about the legal loophole in the imported scrap management and difficulties in detecting violations related to this item.
Deputy Director General Mai Xuan Thanh said that, “Scrap is a specialized imported item under the regulations of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The sampling of scrap for inspection in accordance with provisions in Circular 43/2010/TT-BTNMT dated 29th December 2010 of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment must meet requirements on sampling at least in 5 different positions of the consignment with a large quantity of samples: for scrap iron and steel is minimum of 100 kg, paper and plastic scrap is minimum of 10kg per container.”
This means that the Customs authorities, as well as organizations designated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, are required to participate in certification of environmental standards for import scraps as production materials and must open all the goods in containers, wasting a lot of time for inspection and causing difficulties in the arrangement of warehouses and increasing warehouse fees.
Also, the Customs authority has faced difficulties because it can not immediately determine enterprises that were granted certificates of eligibility for environmental protection by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in scrap imports as raw material for production. Currently, this information has not been updated on National Single Window, so that the Customs authority does not have a basis to check when enterprises are submitting documents to carry out procedures.
According to Deputy Director General Mai Xuan Thanh, the solution to remove difficulties is that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment must provide the list of enterprises which are granted certificates of eligibility for environmental protection in scrap imports as raw materials for production and the notification on imported scrap shipments, so that the Customs authority has a basis to check and prevent fraud, revisions and erasure of contents.
Answering the question about violations of Duc Dat Import-Export Trading Services Co., Ltd., and the responsibility of management agencies when this problem occurred, the representatives of the Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department said that the Department was assigned by the General Department of Vietnam Customs to directly investigate and prosecute the case. For this case, the Customs authority detected abnormal signs of this company since December 2017, when this company carried out procedures at the same time in three different Customs departments.
The Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department has directly withdrawn the dossier on import-export activities of this Company to thoroughly study, and have implemented operational measures to verify at the relevant units and localities. After gathering evidence to prove violations by this company of using fake documents, including certificate of eligibility for scrap imports 1094/GCN-STNMT dated 14th September 2015, and Notification on imported scrap shipments for inspection and clearance to import goods through Sai Gon Port Zone 1, Zone 3 - Ho Chi Minh City and Cai Mep port in Ba Ria-Vung tau Province for 635 declarations with volume of 13,046.252 kg, total declared value of VND 35,533,993,380. The Department issued Decision 07/QD-DTCBL and Decision 08/QĐ-ĐTCBL dated 17th July 2018 on criminal prosecution for Duc Dat Import-Export Trading Services Company on illegal transport of goods across border gate, and transferred the case to the Police office for further verification.
Regarding to the reporter's question about whether there have been signs of collusion of Customs officers or not? The representative of the Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department said that in the short time, the Customs authority investigated the company’s violations. Currently, the investigating agency was investigating relevant violations. The General Department of Vietnam Customs directed the Customs units to fulfill their responsibilities in carrying out Customs procedures for import and export goods in general and scrap in particular, if detecting violations, the Customs will strictly handle these violations in accordance with regulations.
The Customs implements drastic measures
At the press conference, Acting Director of Customs Control and Supervision Department, Au Anh Tuan said that recently, the mass media reflected that the imports and trading of scrap in the country tended to sharply increase and complexly take place with the risk of pollution and impact on the environment, causing major concerns to society.
Many consignments of imported scrap do not meet requirements on environmental protection for scrap imported as raw materials for production, so enterprises did not carry out Customs procedures, or these consignments were not cleared by the Customs authority, leading to the situation that a huge volume of imported scraps were backlogged at Vietnam’s seaports.
In order to ensure the management and control for imported scraps for compliance with provisions of the law on Customs and environmental protection, implementing the directions of the Prime Minister in Official Dispatch 5290/VPCP-KTTH dated 5th June 2018 on closely managing scrap imports into Vietnam, the General Department of Vietnam Customs has requested local Customs authorities and operational Customs units to intensify the inspection and examination for compliance with the provisions on environmental protection in the scrap imports, and strictly handle cases of fraud and importing scraps that do not meet standards and requirements on environmental protection in accordance with the law. Taking the initiative in developing and deploying plans on risk control, anti-smuggling, post-clearance audit, supervision and management for imported scraps.
At the same time, the Ministry of Finance (the General Department of Vietnam Customs) issued Official Letter 4202/TCHQ-PC dated 17th July 2018, directing and guiding local Customs authorities to take measures to closely control scrap imports, including applying measures for prevention, since goods are still in ships and have not yet been unloaded at ports. For waste, scrap which fails to meet conditions and standards on environmental protection when imported into Vietnam, it is to be dealt with on the basis of review and analysis of goods information declared on the manifest before arrival. The General Department of Vietnam Customs (the Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department) has chaired and deployed the plan of investigation, verification and handling for violations in the scrap imports, investigated and verified cases with suspicious signs in the scrap imports from January 2016 to May 2018, and handled violations in accordance with the law; focused on specifying violations such as making fake certificates of scrap import, revising the time of import, volume, description of scrap certified for the imports; making fake certificates of deposit and revising the announcement on scrap imports; providing illegal documents certifying conformity with technical standards on environment for imported scrap shipments.