Steel exports affected by increased protectionism

15-Sep-2018 Intellasia | The Saigon Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Vietnam’s steel exporters have faced trade defense lawsuits and temporary self-preservation duties in at least seven markets since mid-July, according to a Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper report.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, of the 78 antidumping lawsuits Vietnam has witnessed in the past two years, 37 cases involve steel products, not to mention cases involving tax evasion and antisubsidies.

At a recent workshop on the Vietnamese steel industry amid increasing trade defense measures, held in HCM City, Nguyen Phuong Nam, deputy head of the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam, said steel has regularly been the target of trade defense investigations globally, with high tariffs being imposed. Vietnam’s steel is also subject to a high frequency of similar investigations and trade defense duties.

The local newspaper quoted experts as saying that Vietnam’s industry had grown significantly in the past but is still not fully prepared for the global playground.

Exported steel is mainly a simple product that competes by price. In addition, enterprises are not in the habit of using legal tools to protect themselves and have a modest understanding of laws.

The increasing number of lawsuits involving steel in the past few days is also attributed to the trade protection trend in many countries.

Lawyer Tran Huu Huynh, president of the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre, said steel products manufactured not only in Vietnam but also in many countries are subject to lawsuits. Before, trade wars were not serious, as countries have tended to protect their domestic production.

Data from the general Department of Customs shows that steel exports in the January-July period were recorded at 3.41 million tonnes, worth $2.53 billion, up 40.6 percent in volume and 56.6 percent in value against the same period last year.

Of the export volume, 533,000 tonnes were shipped to the United States (up 73.6 percent), 392,000 tonnes to Malaysia (up 88.5 percent) and 374,000 tonnes to the EU (up 96.2 percent). However, if the lawsuits are not settled fully in the coming days, steel exports can be affected.

Huynh remarked that it is essential to diversify markets. Besides this, there needs to be close coordination among steel firms, trade consultants and counsellors to have a good understanding of the markets.

To survive lawsuits extending over long periods of time, enterprises need to have strong resources and clear, transparent records, Huynh added.


Category: Economy, Vietnam

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