VietNamNet Bridge - The urgent task for Vietnam now is to settle 5,000 ownerless containers of goods left at seaports, while over the long term, a measure to prevent the world’s industrial waste from entering the country is needed.
Current laws allow import of scrap materials and prohibit import of industrial waste. However, state management agencies are confused because they cannot determine if imports are “scrap materials” which can be imported for domestic production, or “industrial waste”, which must not be imported.
There is a fine line between “scrap materials” and “industrial waste”, because it is unclear how much “waste” can exist in “scrap materials”, and how much waste should be in “industrial waste”.
That is why a big volume of industrial waste has been brought to Vietnam as scrap to serve domestic production.
The period from 2006 to 2011 is considered the golden age of the traders who imported scrap material temporarily for export later.
The business was so lucrative because traders did not need to have initial capital, while they even were paid by the sellers, who tried to take waste out of their territories.
Analysts said that during that years Vietnam imported a big volume of industrial waste, including hazardous industrial waste such as lead batteries and used electronics.
Nguyen Hai, head of the Vietnam Maritime Bureau, warned that if iron discipline cannot be imposed, Vietnam would become the world’s dumping ground because once the 5,000 containers are cleared, more containers of waste will arrive.
A customs officer said that loosened control over temporary imports for re-export later paves the way for businesses to bring industrial waste to Vietnam for re-export to China.
As China recently tightened control over imports, thousands of containers of goods for re-export cannot enter China.