The effect of China's drastic import policy shift for waste continues to ripple throughout Asia. Vietnam's prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said last week that his government would not be issuing new licences for waste imports. In Malaysia, minister of housing and local government Zuraida Kamaruddin announced last week that the government had revoked plastics waste import licences from 114 factories.
German exporters of waste plastics reported at the end of July that no shipments could be sent to Malaysia at all. By contrast, the state news agency Bernama reported that production facilities with valid "approved permits" (APs) could continue to import material under HS Code 3915 (plastic waste). The factories which had had permits revoked should reapply within the next three months, with new criteria to be observed to ensure "no power abuse and breach of standards and regulations", Zuraida Kamaruddin said according to the news agency.
To be allowed to resume imports, factory operators would need to obtain compliance letters from the Department of Environment, premise licences from local authorities, a recommendation from the waste authority SWCorp (Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation) and proof that their import of plastic waste is clean and not "scheduled waste", Zuraida Kamaruddin said. The ministry's National Solid Waste Management Department was to form a task force to review the procedures and policy on the importation of Code 3915 plastic waste, Bernama reported.
Malaysian plastic waste imports have soared since China began announcing plans to clamp down on secondary raw materials imports. The waste plastics imported from the EU between January and the end of April this year stood at 185,000 tonnes, and with that had nearly quadrupled compared to the same period in 2017.
Vietnam wants to remove ownerless waste containers from ports
Vietnam's seaports "have become overwhelmed with scrap imports", according to the government online publication VGP News. It reported that prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also requested that the Ministries of Transport and Finance cooperate with local authorities to investigate ownerless containers of waste materials and to destroy or remove them. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment was to "clarify negative impacts of each type of waste and and work out a short list of waste imports", according to the government publication.