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Pre Shipment Inspection of waste material, compulsory in Vietnam

In 2012 the Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, in coalition with the Ministry of  International Trade, published directives for the importation of the waste material such as paper, plastic scrap, rubber waste and scrap metal.  In these directives it is stipulated that each consignment of recyclable paper, plastic, rubber or metal, imported into Vietnam should undergo a pre shipment inspection prior to the loading of the consignment.

Although the directives stated pre shipment inspections are compulsorily as from January 1st 2013, actual verification of PSI’s proves still to be a gap in the system.

Pre Shipment Inspection regulation in Vietnam

The rules and regulations were designed by the Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, but verification if a shipment of waste material entering Vietnam complied with the mandatory pre shipment inspection, lies with customs. The bottleneck in the system was that customs are not required by law to report if shipments met with the pre shipment inspection regulations and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment was not permitted to verify and ensure the exporter met the mandatory pre shipment inspection. This caused quite some confusion with exporters as previously not pre shipment inspection was required and customs were confronted with shipments of waste materials that did not meet this compulsory inspection and post shipment inspections needed to be conducted.


Vietnamese customs prove to be difficult

Since March of this year, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment reports that customs now have everything under control and that there are little to no incidents were shipments of waste material do not meet pre shipment inspection regulations.

Importers in Vietnam however speak differently, they state customs still prove to be difficult  as they still struggle with the verification of pre shipment inspection compliances, which cause tedious delays and unnecessary bureaucracy.

This may be the cause that despite the pre shipment inspection regulations, post shipment inspections are still being conducted.  Nearly all consignments of scrap metal and plastics are post inspected, and shipments of waste paper when customs are ‘suspicious’ about the consignment.


Vietnamese discourage import of waste material

To be noted that the Vietnamese government discourages the import of waste materials and that the importation of tires has been totally banned, for environmental reasons. We were told there is a cottage industry in Vietnam that burns tires to extract oils, which are used for the production of sunglasses. Such practices have a negative impact on the environment, thus the ban.

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