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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Producers concerned about steel import surge

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The domestic steel industry is expected to grow 7-8% this year, but a rapid rise in steel imports is raising concerns about a possible oversupply.

The Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) recently said the sector turned out around 23 million tons of crude steel and 38.6 million tons of finished steel products. While a recovery is underway, challenges remain.

“Steel production is currently in a state of oversupply, and the increase in imports is making price competition in the domestic market even fiercer,” said Nghiem Xuan Da, VSA chairman, cited by the Vietnam News Agency.

April saw a 50% surge in hot-rolled coil (HRC) imports, with 71% coming from China. Year-to-date HRC imports have reached 3.93 million tons, surpassing domestic production by 59%.

The import spike has led to output falling at major domestic producers Formosa and Hoa Phat, who are operating at 73% capacity compared to 86% in 2021. Their domestic market share has fallen from 45% in 2021 to 30% in 2023.

Phan Dang Tuat, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Supporting Industries (VASI), said, “The recent rise in imports, especially with signs of undercutting, needs to be addressed.”

The VSA has called for technical barriers and quality standards to prevent substandard imports. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has been urged to apply trade remedies and expedite the development of a national steel strategy.

The Ministry of Finance also supports trade measures to protect domestic producers. Dr. Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, director of the Center for WTO and International Trade (CWIT) under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), suggested technical barriers and quality inspection procedures for imports.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is preparing a national steel strategy to 2030, with a vision to 2050, aiming to make the steel industry a national foundation that meets domestic demand and boosts exports.

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