Vietnam opens probe into cheap steel imports

29 December 2015

Vietnam’s trade ministry Saturday announced the start of an investigation into steel imports following complaints by local producers that imports are jeopardizing domestic production.

The ministry’s competition management department said four Vietnamese companies have proposed a 45 percent tariff on imported steel billets and 33 percent on steel rods.

Hoa Phat, Southern Steel, Thai Nguyen, and Vietnam-Italy Steel, which produce nearly 40 percent of the billets made in Vietnam and more than 34 percent of rods, said the foreign products have undermined their local market in recent years.

They said imports of billets have increased from 468,000 tons in 2012 to 1.5 million tons now and of rods from 389,000 tons to 1.21 million tons.

Billet imports increased by around 160 percent this year while sales of local product only increased by 5-10 percent, they said.
The ministry said the investigation would last up to eight months, looking into possible damage caused by imports to the local industry between the beginning of 2012 until the end of September this year.

Temporary remedies can be imposed before the investigation ends to protect local producers from “serious or irreparable damage,” it said.

Vietnam took trade remedies in September last year, imposing an anti-dumping tax of 3.07-39.29 percent against stainless steel from China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan.

The action was requested by Posco VST and Inox Hoa Binh, which have a combined stainless steel market share of 80 percent.

Local importers strongly objected the move, suggesting that it could create an unfair competition.