Automatic steel import licensing reinstated
By Ngoc Lan - The Saigon Times Daily
HANOI – The country has seen an oversupply of steel given rising imports over the past time, prompting the Ministry of Industry and Trade to reintroduce the mechanism of automatic import licensing for many steel products to remedy the situation.
Under Circular No.23 effective from September 20, the ministry requests imports of hundreds of construction steel products and steel tubes to be subject to automatic steel import licensing. Licenses will be granted to a specific lot of steel as a technical barrier to control the import volume as the products will not be allowed to be imported to the country without a license.
The list of steel in need of an import license is exclusive of products temporarily imported for re-export, non-commercial products and materials for local processing and production.
According to the ministry, licenses will be issued within seven days after the applicants submit sufficient papers while those registered for the licenses via email will have them delivered within five days.
This is not the first time the ministry has used such a licensing mechanism as a technical barrier to minimize imports of steel products that are made locally. The codes of steel products required to apply for a license are 7209, 7210, 7211, 7212, 7214 and 7306.
According to the Vietnam Steel Association, total output of the local steel industry in Jan-Jun reached 4.64 million tons, down 3.4% year-on-year. Due to lower domestic demand, inventories of some products of local steel producers have risen by nearly 40%.
In the meantime, the country in the year’s first half imported more than 5.7 million tons of steel worth over US$4.22 billion, up by about 17% in volume and 15% in value from the year-ago period. Therefore, local steel makers have insisted on stricter measures from the ministry to prevent the uncontrolled imports of Chinese steel products into the country of up to 200,000-300,000 tons a month.