International Dioxin Developments

December 20, 2016 | Complex Torts & Product Liability

Vietnam’s Environmental Standards Under Review

Regulators in Vietnam are examining the country’s environmental standards and expect to complete their review by the end of 2017, according to published reports.

Background

Dr. Tran The Loan, the former head of the pollution control agency under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources’ General Department of Environment, told Troi Tre News that environmental standards in Vietnam were prepared “with little respect to the ‘resilience’ of the environment.” He said that some rivers in the country were becoming “increasingly polluted” due to factory discharges.

“Imagine an area with a number of plants, all discharging treated wastewater into one same river,” he was quoted as saying. “Even when each of the facilities meets the environmental standards, the river will soon fail to endure.”

Regulatory Review

Hoang Duong Tung, the deputy head of the General Department of Environment, told Troi Tre News that regulatory bodies could impose strict standards but that doing so “would discourage production.” He added that, “[too high environmental standards] are not suitable for the current development of our country.”

He said that the government was reviewing existing regulations and that it should complete the review “by the end of next year.”

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Companies Challenge Hong Kong’s Hairy Crab Ban

Hong Kong-based Tin Lung Trading Company is challenging a decision by regulators to suspend the import of hairy crabs from a province in China.

Background

The Centre for Food Safety (“CFS”) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department in Hong Kong, in response to what the CFS determined was higher-than-permitted levels of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs of two hairy crab samples, suspended the import into and sale within Hong Kong of hairy crabs raised at two aquaculture farms in Jiangsu Province as of November 1.

Court Challenge

Now, the Hong Kong trader has challenged the suspension in the Hong Kong High Court, alleging that the ban was “unfair,” “unreasonable,” and a “de facto food safety order of an unlimited duration.”

According to an article in the South China Morning Post, the trader asserted that it would lose up to HK$3 million during the hairy crab season. Tin Lung Trading, together with Hong Kong Hairy Crab I&E, contended that the CFS had issued its order “without consulting them or any other hairy crab traders first.”

The Post said that the companies argued that the CFS “had acted in excess of its powers and committed serious procedural impropriety” The decision, in their view, was “so unfair as to amount to an abuse of power, and unlawful.”

For further information, please contact James V. Aiosa, Paul V. Majkowski, Lawrence S. Han, or your regular Rivkin Radler attorney.

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