Vietnam eases restriction on import of used machinery

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Customs officers check a container of used machinery at a seaport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Tho Customs officers check a container of used machinery at a seaport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Tho

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Vietnam has introduced a new policy that will allow local companies to bring in machinery that have been in use overseas for less than 10 years, effectively easing a restriction on machines older than five years. 
According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, the new rule will take effect on July 1 next year.
It is the second time since 2012 that the ministry has reviewed its policy on the import of used machinery, a practice that many have warned could put the country at risk of becoming an industrial dumping ground. 
In September last year, the ministry lifted its two-year ban on the practice, allowing businesses to bring in used machines which are less than five years old.
However, even with latest concession, the ministry still faced criticism from many businesses who dismissed the restriction as "unreasonable." 
The businesses argued that machines used in different sectors have different life expectancies, so they should not be subjected to a single age limit.
For instance, electronics and hi-tech equipment can become outdated in 10 years, but other machines can work well even after 20 years, they said.
They also argued that the ministry's restriction will continue to force many businesses to buy new machines from China which cannot outperform old machines from Japan and Germany.
Many foreign investors, on the other hand, expressed concerns that the restriction can create barriers for them moving their manufacturing facilities to Vietnam.

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