Vietnam plans to raise tax on plastic bags and packaging

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 8, 2023
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HANOI, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam's Ministry of Justice has put forward a plan to increase tax rates on non-biodegradable plastic bags and packaging, as well as impose new excise taxes on single-use food and drink containers made from polystyrene foam, local newspaper Vietnam News reported on Wednesday.

A draft proposal, to be submitted to the National Assembly, is aimed to reduce the proliferation of the environmentally harmful products, discourage use, cut waste and tackle pollution issues in the country.

Vietnam has instituted a tax on plastic bags and packaging since 2012 with the tax rate currently levied at 50,000 Vietnamese dong (2 U.S. dollars) per kilogram.

Lawmakers argued that such a small levy has not effectively restricted the usage of disposable plastic items including food containers, bags, cutlery, cups, drink stirrers, and straws.

Statistics from the Ministry of Finance showed that tax revenues collected from plastic bags and packaging were small compared to the overall imports. In 2016, Vietnam imported 65.6 million dollars worth of plastic bags and collected about 840,000 dollars in plastic taxes.

Audit authorities said the tonnage of taxable plastic bags has been on a decline over the years, dropping 23 percent between 2014 and 2017, while import volumes kept heading in the opposite direction, jumping 250 percent in the same period.

Vietnam's plastic pollution is increasing with little sign of slowing down as with rapid economic growth and changing urban lifestyles. Though the country has been trying to tackle its plastic habits for more than a decade, the result has fallen short.

According to a World Bank report released last year, the Southeast Asian country discharges an estimated 3.1 million metric tons of plastic waste on land annually with at least 10 percent of this leaking into the waterway.

Since 1999, the annual usage has increased from 3.8 kilograms to 63 kilograms per person in 2017, according to data released by the Vietnam Plastics Association.

One survey conducted by World Wildlife Fund in 2019 in the capital of Hanoi and the southern business hub of Ho Chi Minh City found that only 31 percent of households sort waste at the source, and 55 percent of waste collectors classify waste. Meanwhile, 77 percent of people had limited knowledge, or absolutely no information, about the nature and origin of plastics as a material.

In addition to increased tax rates, the Vietnamese government is striving to combat the growing problem through strengthening legal framework interventions and applying more practical measures with a focus on stricter waste management and tighter imports of waste into the country.

Vietnam has aimed for zero disposable plastic use in urban stores, markets and supermarkets by 2025, and by 2030 the whole country will stop the production and use of single-use plastic products and non-biodegradable packaging. Enditem

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