The Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) has called for strict supervision to control the volume of steel imported from China and Southeast Asian countries.

The VSA has sent a proposal to the General Department of Customs, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Industry and Trade to find an urgent solution after the volume of domestically-produced rolling steel strongly reduced in the first two months due to cheaper imported products.

In the first two months, about 700,000 tonnes of six and eight-inch diameter rolling steel were imported from China and ASEAN, putting a strong strain on domestic steel production, the VSA said.

"Currently, the volume of six and eight-inch diameter rolling steel has dramatically dropped due to increased imports," affirmed the VSA's deputy chairman Nguyen Tien Nghi.

Nghi added that market share on these domestically-produced steel products decreased to 22 percent in northern provinces and 14 percent in the south.

"Previously domestic producers held a 30 percent and 35 percent market share," Nghi said.

To strictly control imports, the VSA demanded that customs and ministries examine the import of steel, to ensure that the foreign steel exporters don't benefit from low import tax duties.

"Some of the steel imported from China and ASEAN are avoiding tax through exploiting loopholes," Nghi added.

In terms of prices, the VSA predicted that steel prices will surely increase due to the high prices of petrol and oil.

Some 40 kilos of mazut is necessary to produce a tonne of steel. With new petrol and oil prices, each tonne of steel will rise by 80,000 VND (4 USD), said Nghi, excluding transportation costs.

Nghi, however, said that new prices depended on price of imported pig iron on the world market.

Purchase power was also an important factor directly affecting the price of steel, Nghi said. /.