Quality inspections tightened for steel imports hinh anh 1A worker loads imported steel in Hai Phong Port. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Imported steel must be sampled for quality inspection to be eligible for customs clearance, according to the Joint Circular No 44 issued by two ministries involved in the process.

The circular, issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), which officially took effect on March 21, was to tighten controls over steel imports and prevent low-quality products from entering Vietnam.

Specifically, before being imported into Vietnam, steel would be subject to inspection of metal components and mechanical and physical quality. Inspection results would serve as a basis for customs clearance. Based on the applied standards, the authorities will assess whether the consignments are eligible for import to Vietnam or not. Products with conformity announcements or certificates would be exempted from inspection.

Steel under the HS code of 7224.10.00 and 7224.90.00 is required to have a declaration paper on imported steel certified by the MoIT.

Meanwhile, domestic producers would be required to apply quality management systems to assure product quality.

In addition to regular inspections, quality inspection would be carried out when there is a claim or information in the press about poor-quality products.

For special kinds of steel, export-import companies must show a product list issued by the Department of Heavy Industry under the MoIT and a copy of an import certificate issued by the ministry.

The Customs Department and the departments of Industry and Trade and the departments of Science and Technology in major cities and provinces are responsible for handling imported steel products which failed to meet the nation’s quality standards. The departments must also keep an eye on imported steel and provide the number of products imported into the country.

Meanwhile, steel importers will be held accountable for the quality which must meet the country’s standards.

The finance ministry has sent a document to the HCM City’s Party Committee Secretary Dinh La Thang answering some issues relating to the one-shop customs mechanism and special check-ups on imported steel.

The ministry said there was a tariff difference in imported steel. Instances of trade fraud have been noticed in imports as businesses importing rolled steel, containing 0.0008 percent boron (Bo) element, were labelled as metal to enjoy a tax preferential of zero percent.

Upon the proposal from Vietnam Steel Association in October, exporters took advantage of the tariff levels to avail tax arrears. Around 1 million tonnes of steel billets was imported as metal into Vietnam.

The association asked for stricter check-ups and control on the steel billets imported from China.

The ministry affirmed that the tightening on imported steel has been a non-tariff solution to limit import of cheaper products.

The MoIT has issued a temporary decision against imported steel billets and coated steel to protect domestic companies after domestic manufacturers sent their appeal to the ministry, demanding the implementation of measures to prevent imported coated steel sheets from being sold at cheap prices in Vietnam, causing huge losses to local steel producers.

Steel billets and coated steel will be imposed a tariff of 23.3 percent and 14.2 percent, respectively, within 200 days.

The tariff will not be imposed on commodities originating from an underdeveloped country if total volume of its imported goods into Vietnam do not exceed 3 percent of the whole investigated goods.-VNA