Vietnam scraps new specs on used factory equipment

Thanh Nien News

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Industrial machinery being presented at a fair in Vietnam. Photo: Hung Le/TBKTSG Industrial machinery being presented at a fair in Vietnam. Photo: Hung Le/TBKTSG


Vietnam has scrapped new regulations on the importation of used machinery days before they were set to go into effect.
On August 29, the Ministry of Science and Technology cancelled the regulations which sought to protect Vietnam's environment, news website Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon (Saigon Times) Online reported.
Introduced nearly two months ago, the rules required machines to have been in use for a maximum of five years.
The rules also required each imported machine to be "at least 80 percent new" --a figure that members of the domestic and foreign business community said would be impossible to calculate.
These individuals also raised objections to the law, which they called too strict to enforce.
Others objected on the grounds that many industrial machines still run properly after 10 or even 15-years.
Officials at a government meeting last month concluded that although the restrictions aimed for a good cause--namely, to protect the country from wasteful industrial equipment--they were impractical.
The restrictions, they said, would require customs officers to inspect every part of every used piece of equipment coming into the country.
But a statement by the Ministry of Science and Technology suggested that the restrictions could be brought back at a time in the future when businesses and related government agencies are better prepared to enforce them.
Technology and electronics giants who are shifting production to Vietnam were highly pleased with the cancellation.
Microsoft, for example, had been appealing to the ministry to let it import whole assembly lines from Nokia cell phone factories it planned to shut down in China, Mexico and Hungary.
Nokia’s plant in the northern province of Bac Ninh, which began operating last June, is scheduled to cover all global production.
Microsoft developed the business strategy after it bought out the Finns phone maker in a US$7.2 billion deal last April.
The technology transfer will take until next February and expand the Bac Ninh plant from 6 assembly lines to 39.
The $300 million factory produced 10.8 million cell phone products valued at an estimated $193 million last year.
Microsoft's plan will raise the Bac Ninh plant’s annual output threefold and expand its portfolio of products to include more complicated devices.
Microsoft says the expanded factory will require a larger workforce before it can meet its annual export target of 76.4 million products worth $1.86 billion.

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