Vietnam: certification required for glass imports

Construction glass importers must now provide Vietnamese customs officials with a quality certificate of proving that the glass meets the technical standards of the ministry of constructions before th…

Construction glass importers must now provide Vietnamese customs officials with a quality certificate of proving that the glass meets the technical standards of the ministry of constructions before the goods enter the country. According to Pham Van Bac, deputy director of the ministry“s construction materials department, as per circular no. 11/2009/tt-bxd, upon initial import, all types of glass products are listed as hazardous goods and must comply strictly with quality regulations. Certification can be obtained from the Construction and Environment Control Laboratory of the Construction Technology and Equipment Consultancy and Inspection Joint Stock Co. or the Construction Materials Control Centre under the ministry“s Construction Materials Institute. Bac added that the regulation would play an important role in cutting the heavy flow of sub-standard products into the country, noting that the new circular was related to enforcing quality standards and did not violate Vietnam s WTO commitments against erecting trade barriers. Viglacera general director Le Minh Tuan, who is also general secretary of the Vietnam Glass Association said that these technical barriers are significant under the present circumstances, with domestic glass consumption declining due to the recession and glass imports easily entering the market without inspection. Tuan continued saying that technical barriers help prevent unlawful imports and also protect consumer rights, keep construction work safe and boost domestic glass production. He added that glass importers often declare false prices and types of products to customs officials to take advantage of low import tariffs, then sell the products on the domestic market at prices undercutting domestic manufacturers, resulting in unhealthy competition, harmful to domestic producers who have had to sell at prices 30-35% higher than some imported products. Since it is difficult to distinguish the qualities of glass, many sub-standard products have been sold on the local market, putting construction projects and investments at risk. The new regulations were therefore necessary to tighten controls on the quality of imported glass, and these technical barriers were consistent with what other countries have long done, according to Tuan.