Imported steel poses a threat

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 08:12

Workers load imported steel at Hai Phong Port in the northern city of Hai Phong. About 13.7 million tonnes of steel products were imported in 2015, up 23 per cent year-on-year. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hung

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — Viet Nam risks being flooded by imported steel products, warned Nguyen Van Sua, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA), at a meeting in Ha Noi on Wednesday to review the association's performance in 2015.

Sua cited the increasing volume of rolled steel, steel bars and galvanised steel products imported from foreign countries.

Statistics released by the VSA showed that about 13.7 million tonnes of steel products were imported in 2015, up 23 per cent year-on-year, and more than 1.8 million tonnes of steel billets, up 198 per cent from the previous year's figure.

Steel prices fall to VND10 million per tonne

On Wednesday, the retail price for construction steel fetch between VND9.79 million and VND9.9 million ($435-$440) per tonne for rolled steel or a reduction of VND400,000 per tonne against previous week.

This is the second consecutive decrease from the beginning this year, bringing the total reduction to nearly VND800,000 per tones since December 2015.

The reduction is attributed to low demand in the domestic market as Tet approaches.

According to the Viet Nam Steel Association (VSA), the price of iron ore and scrap and pig iron are going down.

The association reports that the global steel market this year will continue to be sluggish. This will make a big influence on the Viet Nam steel market.

Over 1.6 million tonnes of rolled steel and steel wire were imported last year while the country was able to produce only 1.1 million tonnes of rolled steel.

According to the VSA Vice Chairman, steel from China amounted to more than 8.4 million tonnes, worth over US$3.7 billion, and accounting for 60 per cent of Viet Nam's imported steel.

The figures represent year-on-year increases of 57 per cent in volume, and 13.6 per cent in value, he said.

Japan, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan (China) are the other major steel exporters to Viet Nam, making up 35 per cent of the country's total imported steel.

Meanwhile, Viet Nam exported approximately 2.8 million tonnes of steel of different types, a rise just short of 3 per cent, to traditional ASEAN markets, Sua said.

According to him, strong rises in imports are hindering the growth of domestic producers.

He added, however, that Viet Nam's steel industry is still expected to experience at a 15 per cent growth rate this year, thanks to the country's engagement in many free trade agreements.

The official noted that his association will propose to the State measures to provide local businesses with integration information, implement trade defence measures, and manage the quality of imported steel products, especially those from China.

Nguyen Phuong Nam, deputy head of the Competition Management Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said without appropriate defence measures, more imports, especially from China, will pose difficulties to domestic steel businesses.

Against this backdrop, he called on domestic businesses to cooperate with each other and prepare thoroughly for trade protection measures. — VNS

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