Vietnam Vietnam unveils proposed amendments to Law on Chemicals: Part 1

Major revisions made to the controlled chemicals

Vietnam unveils proposed amendments to Law on Chemicals: Part 1

On March 13, 2024, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) of Vietnam released a draft amendment to the Law on Chemicals (hereinafter the “Draft”). The revising work of the Law was initiated by the Vietnam Chemicals Agency (Vinachemia) of MOIT in January 2023. Following a number of reviews and discussions across the Agency and Ministry, the Draft has finally been published and is currently open for public consultation. The Draft, which is a comprehensive revision of the current Law on Chemicals (06/2007/QH12), consists of 95 articles in 11 chapters. The main revisions made include: introduction of “Specially Controlled Chemicals,” which will replace “Restricted Chemicals” under the current system; changes to chemical substances as classified for different control measures, including “Declared Chemicals”; introduction of the idea of and rules for “New Chemicals”; clarification of rules for chemicals contained in products; introduction of concepts of different industrial chemicals; introduction of Green Credit System; and revision of rules for chemical accident prevention and response plans.

 

The following section describes revisions made for different types of chemicals.

 

The classification of controlled chemicals has been partially changed in this Draft, as shown in the table below. It should be noted that this Draft does not specify specific lists of chemical substances, and the current lists of chemical substances controlled under the Law on Chemicals are mainly specified in Decree 113/2017/ND-CP.

Types of regulated chemicals under current system Revisions made in the Draft
Conditional Chemicals No changes made
Restricted Chemicals Will be replaced by “Specially Controlled Chemicals.”
Prohibited Chemicals No changes made
Target chemicals for which a Chemical Accident Prevention and Response Plan must be developed No changes made
Declared Chemicals Will be replaced by “Hazardous but Non-Listed Chemicals.”

 

Introduction of the idea of and rules for “Specially Controlled Chemicals”

This Draft introduces a new concept of “Specially Controlled Chemicals“, which will replace the “Restricted Chemicals,” namely industrial chemicals restricted from manufacturing and trading, under the current system. Just like Restricted Chemicals, Specially Controlled Chemicals are chemical substances that are regulated by international treaties ratified by Vietnam, including the Rotterdam Convention, the Minamata Convention, and the Stockholm Convention.

 

The rules for Specially Controlled Chemicals do not differ significantly from the existing rules for Restricted Chemicals; however, the following revisions are of note.

  • In order to manufacture and/or trade Specially Controlled Chemicals, a manufacturing and/or trading permit (license) will be required from MOIT, as is the case for current Restricted Chemicals. However, the validity period is proposed to be 5 years for the manufacturing license and 3 years for the trading license.

*For manufacturing and trading licenses for Conditional Chemicals, a five-year validity period is proposed. (Currently, there is no validity period for both licenses.)

  • For imports of Specially Controlled Chemicals, one of the following two procedures will be required depending on the type of chemical: (1) obtaining an import permit, or (2) making a declaration on the National Window System (https://vnsw.gov.vn/) (the specific method for determining which is required will be specific method of determining which one is required will be determined later).
  • Business operators have been and will be allowed to import Specially Controlled Chemicals for their own use without obtaining an import license. However, they will be newly required to declare the Specially Controlled Chemicals in the National Chemicals Database (https://chemicaldata.gov.vn/) before using them.
  • When purchasing or selling any Specially Controlled Chemicals, preparation of and mutual approval by both the seller and buyer over a Sales Management Sheet” will be required. This sheet replaces the current Sales Management Sheet for Toxic Chemicals. This revision seems to be made with an intention for narrowing down the scope of the paperwork only to Specially Controlled Chemicals, rather than a wide range of toxic chemicals. It is also expected that the burden on business operators will be reduced.
  • When using any Specially Controlled Chemicals, it will be required to disclose information on the type of chemical and the purpose of its use on the National Chemicals Database.

 

Renewal of Different Regulated Substances, including Declared Chemicals

Under the current regulations, a specific list of Declared Chemicals is provided (Annex V of Decree 113/2017/ND-CP, partially amended by Decree 82/2022/ND-CP). Imports of such controlled chemicals (including mixtures) must be declared through the National Single Window (https://vnsw.gov.vn/) prior to the customs clearance. Therefore, according to authorities, it has been difficult to control new hazardous chemicals that are imported into Vietnam for the first time because the only chemicals that require import declarations are substances and mixtures that fall under this list.

Therefore, the Draft abolishes the term “Declared Chemicals” and introduces a new concept of “Hazardous but Non-Listed Chemicals.” In other words, there will be specific lists of substances for “Conditional Chemicals,” “Specially Controlled Chemicals,” “Prohibited Chemicals,” and “Chemicals for which a Chemical Accident Prevention and Response Plan must be Prepared” made, and other hazardous substances, including mixtures, that are not included in any of these lists must be declared at the time of importation.

 

Development of rules for new chemicals

For new chemicals, the current provisions of the Law on Chemicals are basically maintained in the Draft. A “New Chemical” is defined as a substance that is not listed in the National Chemicals Inventory or the List of Foreign Chemicals approved by Vietnamese government. Registration of New Chemicals will be done on the National Chemicals Database (https://chemicaldata.gov.vn/) based on the following documents and information

  • New Chemical Registration Application Form
  • Substance name according to the IUPAC rules
  • Information on physical and chemical properties and hazards issued by chemical evaluation institutions

 

The Draft also states that the procedures and protocols for the registration of New Chemicals will be determined separately by the government, so it is expected that new regulations for controlling New Chemicals will be fully developed after the amendment of the Chemicals Law.

 

Clarification of rules for chemicals in products

With respect to chemicals contained in products, the existing Law on Chemicals does not provide any specific rules, but the Draft clearly defines them. Basically, there are two categories of cases: (1) cases where a national technical standard (QCVN) applicable to the subject product has been established; and (2) cases where no QCVN has been established. In both cases, business operators will be mandated to disclose information on hazardous chemicals contained in their products on the National Chemicals Database before marketing the subject products.

Furthermore, for chemicals in products for which any QCVN has not been formulated, business operators must take measures/procedures to control hazardous chemicals (if any) in the manufacturing process of such products. The Ministry of Science and Technology plans to formulate detailed rules for laboratories tasked to measure content of hazardous chemicals in products in the future.

 

 

The original text of the Draft can be downloaded from the following URL:
https://moit.gov.vn/tin-tuc/thong-bao/du-thao-to-trinh-chinh-phu-va-du-thao-luat-hoa-chat-sua-doi-.html

 

NOTE:
As to the Green Credit System and other amendments of the draft, see the page below:
Vietnam unveils proposed amendments to Law on Chemical: Part 2 – Introduction of Green Credit System

Author / Responsibility

AOKI Kenji

Senior Consultant, EnviX Ltd.
General Director, E&H Consulting Co., Ltd.

Business Performance

Expertise in EHS (environment, health and safety) consulting in ASEAN region.
- Environmental regulations updating
- Chemical regulations consulting

Background

MSc in Earth Science, The University of Tokyo

AOKI Kenji