New regulations on importing non-biodegradable substances: Enterprises need to be well-equipped to avoid fines

VCN - Talking to Customs Magazine, Mr. Le Hoai Nam, Director of the Environmental Quality Management Department, General Department of Environment (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment), said: The General Department of Environment and the General Department of Customs have strengthened coordination with enterprises via sharing information related to regulations on import and use of persistent pollutants and raw materials, fuels, materials, products, goods and equipment containing such decomposers (also known as POPs). The problem is that to implement the regulations from January 1, 2023, businesses need to understand the regulations to avoid penalties
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New regulations on importing non-biodegradable substances: Enterprises need to be well-equipped to avoid fines
Mr. Le Hoai Nam, Director of the Environmental Quality Management Department, Vietnam Environment Administration (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment).

Could you tell me some information related to the management of POPs that will be implemented early next year as specified in Decree 08/2022/ND-CP detailing several articles of the Law on Environmental Protection?

To fulfil Vietnam's commitment to the Stockholm Convention and in the context of international trends in strict management and control of POPs and other persistent pollutants, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has codified the provisions of the Stockholm Convention in legal documents. These contents are detailed in the Law on Environmental Protection 2020 with the requirement of environmental protection in the management of POPs.

In addition, the Government's Decree No. 08/2022/ND-CP dated January 10, 2022, detailing several articles of the Law on Environmental Protection 2020 has also legislated many new points such as: label and publishing information on substances containing persistent pollutants (Article 39); responsibilities of organizations, individuals, businesses, and users of persistent pollutants (Article 41); responsibilities of ministries and provincial-level People's Committees in controlling generation sources, fulfilling requirements on environmental protection, identifying and warning risks, handling and recovering (Article 42). In addition, according to Article 38 of Decree No. 08/2022/ND-CP, POPs must be registered for exemption under the provisions of the Stockholm Convention and this list of persistent organic substances is issued in the Appendix. XVII was issued together with this Decree. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is responsible for registering the POP exemption with the Stockholm Convention Secretariat as required by the Stockholm Convention.

Therefore, organizations and individuals that import, produce and use POPs listed in Appendix XVII as raw production materials must directly register for POP exemption and send POP exemption registration dossiers to the Ministry of Finance resources and environment for treatment.

With these regulations, from January 1, 2023, businesses importing POPs register for exemptions for each shipment with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. After approval, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment sends information and notifies the Customs to carry out customs clearance for the registered shipments. Therefore, to help facilitate businesses and create smooth coordination between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Customs, we plan to put information and announcements on the portal website to facilitate Customs clearance.

Obviously, this is a new regulation in the import activities of enterprises. So how did the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment agencies and the General Department of Customs cooperate to inform businesses widely, sir?

Previously, the Law on Environmental Protection 2014 did not have detailed regulations on the management of the import and use of POPs, so businesses are using and importing quite freely. In contrast, the persistent pollutant is a highly toxic one that is difficult to decompose, able to, bioaccumulate and spread in the environment, adversely affecting the environment and human health. Therefore, the new regulation is extremely necessary to raise the roles and responsibilities of the POPs management agency and the compliance of businesses.

To ensure and strengthen regulatory compliance, over the past time, the Vietnam Environment Administration has had several working sessions with the General Department of Customs to exchange and provide information on how to manage POPs according to regulations as well as discuss how to coordinate when the legal documents take effect. On the business side, to strengthen the provision of information exchange, the two sides have also coordinated and organized seminars to disseminate and equip knowledge for businesses, customs departments, and sub-departments in localities. With this approach, we hope that when the regulations come into effect at the beginning of next year, businesses and Customs offices are convenient in customs clearance and goods management.

With such above efforts of management agencies, can you reveal what sanctions are for businesses that intentionally violate them?

According to the Government's Decree No. 45/2022/ND-CP stipulating penalties for administrative violations in the field of environmental protection, violations in the field of POP importation have also been regulated very carefully, especially acts of importing POPs without the approval of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment or importing without notice. Therefore, these acts will be fined with a relatively high fine and additional penalties, including the requirement to re-export, destroy products.

Such strict sanctions will enhance the law compliance of businesses and enable them to control the import of POPs into Vietnam as well as manage put those who use POPs under control and minimize the negative impact on the environment and human health.

Thank you very much!

Hương Dịu (recorded)/ Thu Phuong

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