Vietnam's steel import volume experienced an year-on-year increase of two percent to 2.2 million tonnes, valued at 1.5 billion USD, in the first quarter of 2014.

According to latest statistics from the General Department of Customs, in March alone the country spent 568.3 million USD in buying 827,000 tonnes of steel from overseas markets, up four percent in volume and nine percent in value compared with the previous month.

Among key import markets were mainland China, Japan, Taiwan and the Republic of Korea.

Meanwhile, the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) reported that its members consumed 570,000 tonnes in March, representing a month-on-month surge of 60 percent, or a yearly increase of 26.5 percent.

The latest increase has brought local steel consumption volume in three months up to approximately 1.2 million tonnes, being 5.7 percent higher than the same period last year. As a result, the inventory level of the domestic steel industry fell to less than 260,000 tonnes.

Recently, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has, in coordination with the Ministry of Science and Technology, applied national technical standards in the steel industry management with the aim to support local producers, increasing inspections on imports, and preventing trade fraud, as well as limiting the import of low-quality steel from overseas markets.

The Finance Ministry has also asked customs offices to keep a tight grip on the import of steel products.-VNA