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VSA calls for technical barriers on steel imports

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) has proposed the Government set up technical barriers and quality inspection procedures for steel imports into Vietnam.

In a letter addressed to the prime minister, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Ministry of Science and Technology on July 6, the VSA said the steel industry in Vietnam had come under pressure from a huge volume of imports.

However, steel products are not classified as Group-2 goods regulated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT). This enables companies to import the products without undergoing specialized quality inspections.

Group-2 goods include products and goods that, even when handled appropriately and used for their intended purposes, still have the potential to cause harm to people, animals, plants, property, and the environment and thus require a quality assurance certificate before being introduced into the market.

The absence of quality inspection procedures for imported steel products in Vietnam has led to a wide range of steel types and qualities entering the market without being assessed for compliance with Vietnamese standards. The lack of quality control and regulation poses significant challenges to both the quality and variety of steel available in the country.

To tackle these issues, the VSA proposes that the Government, the MOIT, and the Ministry of Science and Technology establish a process for quality inspections of imported steel. This process would mandate imported steel to have certification demonstrating compliance with Vietnamese quality standards before entering the country.

Additionally, the VSA urges the implementation of appropriate trade defense measures to limit the entry of unfair competition and safeguard the domestic steel industry.

The association highlights that countries worldwide have increasingly adopted stringent technical barriers and trade defense measures to protect their domestic steel production.

These countries require certifications that ensure the compliance of exported steel products with the quality standards of the importing nations. Such certifications help prevent the inflow of low-quality imports and strengthen control over imported steel.

In contrast, nearly all imported steel products in Vietnam are exempt from import taxes, and trade defense measures for raw steel have been removed. This situation extends to other steel products such as coated and color-coated sheets, steel pipes, and prestressed steel, which face no trade defense measures either.

From January to May, Vietnam saw a 10% year-on-year increase in steel export volume, reaching 4.38 million tons, but the value declined by 16% to US$3.45 billion.

On the other hand, the country imported 4.6 million tons of steel worth US$3.93 billion during the same period, experiencing a 12% decrease in volume and a 29% drop in value.

As a result, the country had a trade deficit of over 220,000 tons of steel valued at US$480 million, with steel imports from China into Vietnam rising again.

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