Vietnamese steel exporters investigated in ASEAN countries

HCM CITY (VNS)  — Domestic steel exporters are worrying about losing export markets in ASEAN as more countries have initiated dumping investigations on imports from Viet Nam, Tuoi Tre newspaper has reported.

Thailand launched three anti-dumping investigations this month on Vietnamese steel sheets and steel products. In the past, other export markets in the region have also conducted probes into steel sheet imports from Viet Nam.

Ho Quang Thiep, the first deputy general director of Southern Steel Sheet Company, said Thailand’s investigation on cold-rolled steel sheets and colour-coated steel sheets had caused difficulties for domestic producers, especially in seeking outlets for their products. Supply now is double domestic demand.

Viet Nam’s cold-rolled steel sheets and colour-coated steel sheets have been exported to many countries in ASEAN, mainly to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Cambodia, in the past three years.

The government of Indonesia imposed an anti-dumping tax on imports of Vietnamese cold-rolled steel sheets from July 7 2014 to July 7, 2017.

The rate rose to150 per cent of the selling price of the product in the first year and 139 per cent in the third year.

With this rate, Vietnamese businesses almost fled the Indonesian market.

With an average export price of US$ 600-700 per tonne, plus the safeguard duty, Vietnamese steel to Indonesia sold for more than $1,000 a tonne, too high to compete with products from China and other countries, Thiep said.

A company official in charge of exports for a large steel sheet production company said exports to Malaysia were under threat as the country had initiated a dumping investigation into Vietnamese colour-coated steel sheets, with the dumping margin allegedly amounting to 13.68 per cent.

“We’ve very worried that it will be hard to export to this market again, because Malaysia will surely impose a tax,” he said.

According to the Viet Nam Steel Association (VSA), the country produced nearly two million tonnes of zinc-coated and colour -coated steel sheets in the first eight months of the year, with about 600,000 tonnes exported.

This accounted for more than 50 per cent of the country’s total steel exports.

Nguyen Van Sua, VSA deputy chairman, said output was expected to be the same as last year at about 2.8 million tones, much lower than the production capacity of domestic steel sheet producers of 4 million tonnes a year.

The domestic market last year consumed just 1.8 million tonnes, and enterprises had to find ways to export the rest.

With this situation, next year promises to be an extremely challenging one for producers of cold-rolled and colour-coated steel sheets.

The influx of China steel sheets into the Vietnamese market has made the situation worse, he said.

Thiep said Chinese steel sheets imported to Viet Nam increased from nearly 774,000 tonnes last year to nearly 991,000 tonnes in the first nine months of this year.

The price of Chinese colour-coated steel sheets was about VND14.7 million per tonne, about VND3.3 million – VND5.3 million cheaper than locally made steel sheets, even lower than domestic production costs.

Sua said VSA, together with relevant enterprises, would collect data and make preparations to file a lawsuit against Chinese steel sheet producers.

Industry insiders said now was the time for firms to restructure their production, reduce production costs and raise product quality, and seek new export markets. — VNS