Science, Technology Ministry not assess Formosa technologies: official

The Ministry of Science and Technology has not assessed technologies used by Taiwanese Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Company at Vung Ang Economic Zone, Ha Tinh province, said head of the ministry’s Department of Technology Evaluation and Assessment Do Hoai Nam yesterday.

The wastewater treatment system at Formosa steel mill in Vung Ang Economic zone (Photo: SGGP)

He made the statement at a regular press conference hosted by the ministry in Hanoi. The matter most interested at the event is the unusual fish death in four north central provinces of Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Quang Binh and Quang Tri.

At the time when Taiwanese Formosa Group invested in its steel mill in Vung Ang, the Ha Tinh province People’s Committee was responsible for considering and approving the project, he said.

In 2008, the committee sent a document enclosed with a pre-feasibility report of the steel mill project to the ministry to ask advices in accordance with regulations.

Basing the preliminary report, the ministry responded that blast-furnace was a traditional and popular technology used by steel plants in the world and it is not a new technology.

Following process including design and construction of Formosa steel plant in the economic zone was assessed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade not the Ministry of Science and Technology. So the Ministry of Industry and Trade bears responsibility for that and Formosa’s technology changes afterwards, said Mr. Nam.

According to the Investment Law 2005, investors are responsible for their technologies. When merging domestic and foreign investment laws into the Investment Law, the item of technology explanation in investment certificate application has been simplified into a prefeasibility report, he added.

Answering reporters’ queries on why the Ministry of Planning and Investment does not have any role in detailed design of such a large project as Formosa, Mr. Nam said it accorded with the law.

Citing the Technology Transfer Law, he said legal documents contain many loopholes and technologies transferred into Vietnam has almost unregulated for a long time. The ministry has many times commented about that without result.

At the conference, associate professor Vu Duc Loi, deputy head of the Chemistry Institute under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology answered questions about solutions to repair environmental consequences in the north central region after Formosa wastewater discharge, how long they will take and how much they will cost.

The Government has assigned the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to build measures to settle the consequences, he said.

A council has been established for the purpose with the attendance of the four north central provinces and representatives from the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The council’s chairman is deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan and deputy chairman is head of the Vietnam Environment Administration Nguyen Van Tai.

By Tran Binh – Translated by Hai Mien

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