Hurdles for textile and garment firms removed

The Ministry of Industry and Trade decided to withdraw Circular 37 on inspecting formaldehyde content in apparel material for local production.

The decision was made on October 11 in response to complaints from domestic textile and garment companies that the regulation was creating hurdles for them.

The ministry issued Circular 37 on October 30, 2015 to regulate acceptable levels of formaldehyde content and inspect the content of formaldehyde and aromatic amines derived from azo dyes in apparel material imported for local production.

hurdles for textile and garment firms removed hinh 0
Workers of Nha Be Garment Corporation produce tuxedos for export. (Photo:

Under the circular, which came into effect on December 15, 2015, formaldehyde levels in textile materials must not exceed 30mg/kg with regard to textile products for children less than 36 months of age, 75mg/kg for textile products in direct contact with human skin and 300mg/kg for textile products not in direct contact with human skin.

The Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) said the requirement was very time-consuming and costly for enterprises.

A formaldehyde content check usually takes 3-7 days and the examination fee for one sample is some VND2 million (US$90).

The prolonged customs clearance time interrupts production and, in some cases, results in firms failing to meet product delivery deadlines, and therefore being unable to compete with foreign rivals.

VITAS complained that the percentage of non-compliance cases had never reached one percent, but products had undergone exhaustive examinations for years since the inspection was first made mandatory under a circular issued in 2009.

Besides this, experts felt the issuance of Circular 37 was baseless and contrary to the current Law on Product and Goods Quality (Article 70 Clause 2).

The abolishment of Circular 37 will come into force on November 26 this year.


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