Illustrative image. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The US Department of Commerce slapped heavy import duties on some steel products from Vietnam after it decided they originated in China, violating the US’s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy orders. 

The department on December 5 announced preliminary affirmative rulings that corrosion-resistant steel (CORE) and some cold-rolled steel products imported from Vietnam were produced from substrate originating in China. This circumvented existing anti-dumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) orders on CORE and cold-rolled steel from China, it said in a statement.

In 2016, the US imposed the AD rate of 199.43 percent and CVD rate of 39.05 percent on imports of CORE from China while AD and CVD rates of imports of China’s cold-rolled steel were set at 265.79 percent and 256.44 percent, respectively.

As a result of the rulings, the US Customs and Border Protection will begin collecting cash deposits on imports of CORE and cold-rolled steel produced in Vietnam at the same rates applied on those from China. Importers and exporters of Vietnamese steel products produced from substrate originating in Vietnam or a third-country can seek an exemption from cash deposits by certifying the substrate originated outside of China, the US Department of Commerce said.

Vietnam argued that according to the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s rules of origin, the country to be determined as the origin of a goods is either the country where the goods has been wholly obtained or the country where the last substantial transformation was carried out.

According to Vietnam, international practices and the US’s rules showed that there is a substantial transformation after hot-rolled steel is processed to make CORE and cold-rolled steel. Therefore, CORE and cold-rolled steel produced in Vietnam using hot-rolled steel from a third country has Vietnamese origin.

The US is scheduled to announce its final determinations for these inquiries on February 16, 2018. The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade is working with Vietnam Steel Association and other agencies to protect the interests of local steel producers and exporters in compliance with WTO agreements.-VNA