Updates from the General Department of Customs showed that Vietnam spent more than US$30.6 billion on importing machinery and equipment from January–November, nearly 40% of which was from China.
On average, Vietnam spent US$1 billion per month on machinery and equipment from China.
At the same time, Vietnam’s machinery and equipment imports from the Republic of Korea ranked second with a value of US$5.6 billion, followed by Japan with US$4 billion.
Imports from China rose 9.5% during the period, while imports from other countries in the top five did not see any significant increases.
China was in a race with the US and EU in the developing Industry 4.0, so a huge volume of outdated machinery and equipment must be eliminated during the process, according to experts.
This had caused concerns about China dumping outdated machinery and equipment in Vietnam, economist Nguyen Tri Hieu told Dien Dan Doanh Nghiep (Business Forum) online newspaper.
According to Vo Dai Luoc, former Director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics, regulations are needed for the import of second-hand machinery and equipment.
Otherwise, the environment issue will be really alarming, Luoc said.
He added high import taxes on second-hand machinery and equipment should be considered.
In addition, supervision of second-hand machinery and equipment imports is needed, especially in technology transfer, to ensure compliance with regulations.
Luoc said the long-term solution is for Vietnam to renovate its industrial development strategy and focus on advanced technologies in manufacturing.
Vietnam has set a target for hi-tech products to account for at least 45% of the value of the manufacturing and processing industry by 2030.
A draft decision by the Prime Minister regulating the import of second-hand machinery and equipment has been posted for feedback on the Ministry of Science and Technology’s website.
According to the draft, Vietnam would not allow the import of second-hand machinery and equipment from other countries if it was deemed outdated, poor quality or could cause pollution.
Only second-hand machinery and equipment which meet safety, energy and environmental standards in accordance with the law will be allowed in.
The ministry is also studying amendments to Circular 23/2015/TT-BKHCN about imports of second-hand machinery and equipment which took effect on July 1, 2016.