* The Committee for Science, Technology and Environment was assigned by the National Assembly to supervise the enforcement of environmental laws at industrial and economic zones in the central coastal provinces, including operations at Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co. Ltd. As chairman of the committee, what could you say about the task?
A lot of lessons have been drawn from the environmental [pollution] incident caused by Formosa. The serious consequence on the environment were attributed to the country’s low science and technological level and loose management. This is the biggest lesson.
If technological supervision of projects, particularly foreign invested ones, had been tighter and the import of backward technology had been prevented, the environment would not have been affected.
* What’s your comment on Vietnam’s technological level?
First, Vietnam’s scientific and technological development does not keep up with the world and the country’s global integration.
Vietnam has signed new-generation free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreements, Europe-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. However, no positive move in the field of science and technology have been included in this process.
Second, the technological renovation among Vietnamese enterprises hasn’t met the desired target of 10% a year. Out of date technology is still used in a number of plants producing cement, sugar and sugar cane factories and mining exploitation. This directly affects the efficiency and competitiveness of the country’s economy.
Third, Vietnam is facing the risk of becoming a technological waste dump, reducing the economy’s competitiveness and limiting its development as the import of technology and equipment is not well managed.
* The National Assembly is revising the Law on Technology Transfer to create a positive change in environmental protection. In your opinion, which articles of the law should be amended?
One of the tasks mentioned in the Resolution No. 20-NQ/TW dated 31 October 2012 of the 6th Plenum of Party Central Committee was a mechanism to promote technology innovation, providing support to the import of high technology and employing foreign and domestic experts in priority fields.
The Resolution also dealt with the prevention of the import of out-of-date technologies as well as those which may pose a danger to people’s health, natural resource, environment, socio-economy, defence and security.
Many opinions have been raised at conferences and meetings organized by the NA Committee for Science, Technology and Environment. Most of them focused on the adjustment of most articles of the Law.
The draft law should be amended based on an evaluation of technology transfer activities in each field and weakness of state management of technology transfer to ensure that technology, machinery and equipment imported into the country are well managed, the opinions say.
It was necessary for the Law on Technology Transfer to be revised completely to create an adequate and a compatible legal corridor as well as put an end to the import of out-of-date technology and equipment.
* What’s your opinion about the country’s legal system in environment supervision and protection?
In general, Vietnam has sufficient laws on environmental supervision and protection. A number of laws in this field have been enacted by the National Assembly namely Law on Environment Protection, Law on Water Resources, Land Law and Law on Biology. The most important thing is that these laws be implemented effectively.