Despite tighter trade protection measures against trade fraud activities, Vietnam imported 12.24 million tons of steel worth over US$8.1 billion in the first ten months of 2019, up 7% year-on-year in quantity and down 3.1% in value, in which China continues to be Vietnam’s largest steel exporter representing around 37% of Vietnam’s total steel imports, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC).
During the January – October period, Vietnam spent US$2.95 billion importing 4.64 million tons of steel from China, down 12.7% in quantity and 22.9% in value year-on-year. The neighboring country remained Vietnam’s leading supplier of steel over the last three years, with the quantity and value growing at two-digit growth rates annually.
Japan came in second place with 1.72 million tons worth US$1.14 billion, down 7.9% in quantity and 13.7% in value year-on-year, while India claimed the third position with 1.54 million tons worth US$798 million, up 189.8% in quantity and 133.5% in value.
Notably, despite trade protection measures from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), Vietnam’s steel imports continue to surge.
The MoIT previously decided to extend the validity of anti-dumping duties on cold-rolled stainless steel products originated from China, Indonesia and Taiwan for another five years, starting from October 26.
The market share of domestic steel companies witnessed a decrease during the 2018 - 2019 period and currently has shrunk to 42.8%, indicating the foreign companies are selling below their home market prices.
In early October, the MoIT also imposed anti-dumping duties on Chinese extruded aluminum bars at rates ranging from 2.49% to 35.58%, following complaints from local producers filed last October.
A report from the Vietnam Steel Association suggested Vietnam’s steel industry has been at the center of trade probes from other countries following the escalation of the US – China trade war, particularly with growing cases of illegal transshipment of Chinese products via a third country to the US in an attempt to avoid the latter’s import tariffs.