Vietnam to suffer from “technology rubbish”

If Vietnam does not set a bar to prevent old machines and equipment from entering the country, it will turn into the world’s technology rubbish dump, scientists have warned.

Though the Ministry of Science and Technology has loosened requirements on used machine imports, it still cannot satisfy businesses. 

Businessmen, while complaining that there are too many unreasonable provisions in the draft circular on used-technology import management, have been insisting on removing the requirements.

They believe that it would be better to let businesses determine what to import, because they know what they need to optimize their production. 

They argue that the watchdog agency should not set the same requirements on the technologies and machines in many different manufacturing sectors. 

Meanwhile, Vietnamese businesses, which are small with limited financial capability, should “cut their coats to suit their cloth” instead of wasting money on modern unnecessary technologies.

It is still unclear about the MST’s response to the businesses’ proposal. The ministry once had to yield to businesses by canceling the enforcement of the Circular No 20 when enterprises complained about the problems in the legal document.

MST has been warned that Vietnam would suffer heavily under the circular.

Professor Pham Ngoc Dang, Member of the National Committee for Sustainable Development, and Chairman of the Vietnam Building Environment Association, said he advocates the draft circular compiled by MST.

Dang commented that the businesses’ extreme reaction to the draft circular was expected. 

“Businesses have become used to make claims and they always expect to see their demands satisfied,” he said.

Dang noted that businesses want to import used machines instead of brand-new ones because they only consider short-term benefits, while they do not have long-term development plans.

“Old equipment will surely generate bigger waste than brand-new ones, while the energy-use efficiency will also be lower,” he said.

Dang, who was once a state official, said that when he and his colleagues discussed the 2005 Environment Law, they tried to set up provisions to prevent old technologies from entering Vietnam. However, businesses usually can find the legal loopholes to bring old machines to Vietnam, which will surely cause serious environmental pollution.

“MST needs to act for the sake of the whole nation, not just for businesses’ benefits,” he said.

Nguyen Khac Kinh, former senior official of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, noted that Vietnam needs to learn the lesson from the import of old technologies for cement production, and that the same mistake must not be repeated.

Kinh warned that if Vietnam does not have “a security guard” to prevent old technologies, it would be flooded with outdated Chinese technologies as the Chinese government is determined to eliminate old technologies from its factories.