Scrap imports into Vietnam surge

In 2016, Vietnam had imported more than 4.8 million tons of scrap, including iron, steel, plastic and paper. The volume had increased to more than 6.5 million tons last year, reaching over 4 million tons in the first half of this year. In the January-June period, plastic waste imports amounted to 277,700 tons, well above 245,800 tons imported in 2016. As of July 25, nearly 3,600 waste containers had been left at Cat Lai Port and some 1,500 scrap containers had been left at Haiphong Port.

Customs officials attributed the backlog to China’s suspension of 24 types of scrap imports. Many waste importers have yet to complete customs clearance procedures. Shipping companies and port service providers have proactively stopped accepting waste shipments.

One of the difficulties is the falsification of required documents by importers. It is difficult to detect those without certificates of eligibility for environmental protection on scrap imports granted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment as the list of all eligible waste importers has yet to be publicized on the national single window portal. Another hindrance is that the customs officials are required to take 4 to 5 waste samples per container, which means they need to open all the containers, but the available space at the ports to carry out this exercise is limited.