Ministry imposes safeguard duties on steel imports

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has conducted a review and is making preparations for imposing safeguard duties on steel imports, after 18 domestic steel manufacturers called for assistance.

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MoIT has worked with 20 steel manufacturers and importers regarding the sharp increase in the volume on steel imports coded HS7213.91.90 after imposing safeguard duties on steel imports coded HS7227.90.00 in April.

Mr. Nguyen Van Sua, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA), said that Vietnam’s steel industry hasn’t focused on producing steel wire as domestic demand for the products is low. However, since duties were imposed on products coded HS7227.90.00, domestic manufacturers have moved to produce the products.

According to Mr. Nguyen Phuong Nam, Deputy Head of the Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA) under MoIT, trade defense measures are an effective tool in protecting domestic manufacturers in any country. If they are not used in this case then the domestic industry may go bankrupt and steel imported from China could then manipulate the market. He added that imposing trade defense measure must comply with procedures. “Trade defense is the last tool to protect domestic industry, not just any individual company,” he said. The VCA will continue to collect opinions from domestic steel enterprises until December 31 and will then submit a proposal to the Office of the Government.

The management agency also said that steel production in Vietnam has recovered thanks to the imposition of temporary safeguard measures. The volume of imports has fallen while steel production in the country has grown.

Earlier, 18 domestic steel manufacturers, including Hoa Phat, the Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel JSC, Pomina, Vina Kyoei, VSC-Posco, the Vietnam Germany Steel JSC, the Vietnam Italy Steel JSC, and Southern Steel Company, sent complaints and proposals to MoIT on handling the importation of rolled steel into Vietnam.

MoIT decided to impose temporary safeguard measures on steel billets and long steel bar imports, with rates of 23.3% and 15.4%, respectively. Domestic enterprises then said that steel importers had declared another HS code for rolled steel to avoid being subject to the safeguard duties.

The importers declared rolled steel imports under code 7227.90.00 to enjoy zero tariffs. After duties were imposed, import volumes of the code fell 15.4%. In the first ten months of this year, volumes were equal to 58% of those in 2015 as a whole.


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