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Steel assoc urges lawsuit against U.S. at WTO over planned steel taxes

The Saigon Times Daily
Tuesday,  Jan 9,2018,20:31 (GMT+7)
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Steel assoc urges lawsuit against U.S. at WTO over planned steel taxes

The Saigon Times Daily

HCMC – The Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) has proposed the Department of Trade Defense under the Ministry of Industry and Trade support Vietnamese steel producers in the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations stateside into steel imports from Vietnam, and suggested a lawsuit against the U.S. side if punitive measures are taken against Vietnam-made steel products.

According to news website Vietnamplus, VSA proposed the ministry take measures to back steel firms by objecting to the U.S. actions deemed as inconsistent with international law. The ministry should also ask the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) to comply with regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the U.S. law in making official decisions on anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into Vietnamese corrosion-resistant steel and cold-rolled steel products.

If the U.S. does not change its decisions, the ministry should seek the Government’s approval to sue the U.S. at the WTO. The lawsuit, said VSA, is aimed at not only protecting local steel producers but also sending out a message that Vietnam will continue its fight against violations of international commitments in trade defense investigations in the future, hereby protecting the legitimate interests of local steel exporters.

VSA chairman Ho Nghia Dung said Vietnamese steelmakers have invested heavily in technologies to manufacture high-quality corrosion-resistant steel and cold-rolled steel products meeting strict requirements of the U.S. and Japan and creating high added value.

If the U.S. decision is kept unchanged, the Vietnamese steel sector may suffer huge losses as the U.S. will impose the respective anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties of 199.43% and 39.05% on Vietnamese cold-rolled steel using Chinese-origin substrate.

Vietnamese steel firms which have exported zinc-coated steel products using Chinese materials since November 4, 2016 will be subject to a huge tariff of 238.48%.

Vietnam currently has to import hot rolled steel from Taiwan and South Korea whose corrosion-resistant steel and cold-rolled steel products are imposed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties by the U.S. If DOC presses ahead with the punitive tariff plan, Vietnam may not be able to export the two products stateside anymore.

According to a report by VSA, the sector has achieved considerable growth in the past few years. In 2016, Vietnam exported more than four million tons of steel valued at more than US$3 billion.

Shipments of corrosion-resistant steel and cold-rolled steel products to the U.S. in 2016 grew a staggering 530% and 658% respectively over 2015. The sharp growth is attributed to U.S. importers seeking new suppliers after anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties were imposed on Chinese products, with Vietnamese steel producers quickly tapping the market.

However, the situation has changed for the worse as the U.S. started anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into steel imports from Vietnam on November 4, 2016.

On December 11 last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce released preliminary results of the investigation into Vietnamese steel products using hot-rolled steel of China as material.

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