MoIT has said while it is important to ensure compliance with the World Trade Organisation’s regulations and international practices, the developing trade relations between the two countries should not be affected.
The proposal was made after US Secretary Wilbur Ross released on February 16 reports of the US Department of Commerce’s investigations into the impact on national security from the import of steel mill products and wrought and unwrought aluminium from Vietnam.
MoIT said Vietnamese imports accounted for a negligible share of the total US steel and aluminium imports.
In the reports, Ross recommended to US President Donald Trump a global tariff of at least 24 per cent on steel imports from all countries and territories, or a tariff of at least 53 per cent on steel imports from 12 countries (Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam), with a quota on steel imports from all other countries equalling 100 per cent of their 2017 exports to the United States, or a quota on steel products from all countries equalling 63 per cent of each country’s 2017 exports to the United States.
Ross recommended to President Donald Trump three alternative remedies for dealing with the excessive import of aluminium: a tariff of at least 7.7 per cent on all aluminium exports from all countries and territories, or a tariff of 23.6 per cent on all products from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam. These would cover both aluminium ingots and a wide variety of aluminium products.
All the other countries and territories would be subject to quotas equal to 100 per cent of their 2017 exports to the United States, or a quota on all imports from all countries and territories equal to a maximum of 86.7 per cent of their 2017 exports to the United States.
The reports are currently under consideration of the US President, and no final decisions have been made yet. The President may take a range of actions, or no action, based on the analysis and recommendations provided in the reports. Action could include making modifications to the recommendations, such as adjusting percentages.
The US President needs to decide on the steel recommendations by April 11 and on the aluminium recommendations by April 19.
MoIT said it would keep following the progress of the case and is considering all solutions to ensure the justifiable rights and interests of Vietnamese businesses.
According to reports of the Vietnam Steel Association, Vietnam’s steel sector exported more than 5.5 million tonnes of steel worth US$3.64 billion in 2017, marking an increase of 28.5 per cent in volume and 45.4 per cent in value compared to 2016.
Of the exports, ASEAN countries imported 59.3 per cent of Vietnam’s steel, while the United States imported 11.1 per cent.
The association has predicted a year-on-year increase of 20-22 per cent in steel production this year.