Malaysia and Vietnam follow China’s lead with waste import restrictions

Both Vietnam and Malaysia have introduced import restrictions in response to the increased volumes of waste entering the countries in the months since China’s ban on 24 grades of solid waste – casting further doubt on the ability of other South-East Asian economies to absorb China’s lost capacity.

Last week, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announced that the country would not be issuing any new import licenses. Vietnam is set to follow up its new restrictions with a crackdown on smuggled waste as more than 6,000 containers of paper, plastic and metal scrap remain in limbo at Vietnamese customs points awaiting processing, according to reporting by Reuters.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Minister of Housing and Local Government Zuralda Kamaruddin said that Malaysia has revoked licences for 114 factories around the country, although state news agency Bernama has reported that facilities with approved permits may continue to import material and those which have seen their permits revoked should re-apply within three months.