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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Steel producers call for anti-dumping investigation of HRC products

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Steel manufacturers in Vietnam, including Formosa and Hoa Phat, have proposed initiating an anti-dumping investigation of hot-rolled coil (HRC) steel imports from China and India, citing threats to domestic production, the local media reported.

First-quarter HRC imports reached an estimated three million tons, 1.5 times higher than domestic production, with imports from China and India skyrocketing and accounting for 75%, showed customs data.

This marks the first year Vietnam has imported more HRC than producing domestically.

The Vietnam Steel Association reported a decline in domestic production capacity, with Formosa Ha Tinh and Hoa Phat Group operating at only 73% of their design capacity in 2023, down from 86% in 2021 due to unfair competition from lower-priced imports.

HRC Import prices have sharply declined from US$613 in early 2023 to US$541 in the final quarter of the year.

The surge in imports and low prices have significantly reduced the domestic market share of HRC producers, dropping from 45% in 2021 to 30% in 2023.

Conversely, the market share of HRC imported from China and India increased from 32% to nearly 46% in 2023. Import trends are expected to continue rising in 2024 amidst China’s steel surplus crisis.

“This is alarming. Thailand and Indonesia, which have lower steel production than Vietnam and also import less steel than they produce domestically, have already taken steps to protect their steel industries,” the Vietnam News Agency recently reported, quoting a business representative.

With unprecedented import volumes, domestic production has suffered severe damage, undermining the steel industry’s efforts in high-quality, self-sufficient production built over decades.

According to Phan Dang Tuat, chairman of the Vietnam Association for Supporting Industry, Vietnam previously could not produce HRC due to high investment costs and demanding technology requirements. However, investments by Formosa Ha Tinh and Hoa Phat, totaling billions of dollars, changed this.

“In the past, importing HRC was necessary. However, now that we have domestic production capabilities and competitive products, a surge of imports, particularly those priced below cost, warrants consideration of anti-dumping investigations,” Tuat said.

Steel industry expert Nguyen Van Sua emphasized that protecting domestic production also safeguards employment and ensures sustainable state revenue.

Hoa Phat alone provides employment for 30,000 workers and contributes from VND10 trillion to VND20 trillion annually to state coffers, equivalent to the average contribution of a province.

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