The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) on September 5 issued the order to impose tariffs on stainless steel products imported from four economies to protect the domestic market.

This is the first time Vietnam has ordered the imposition of duties on imported stainless steel products following its integration into the world economy. The MoIT's Decision No. 7896/QD-BCT imposes tariffs ranging from 10.71 percent to 37.29 percent on stainless steel from mainland China, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Under the decision, which takes effect 30 days from the day it was signed, duties will be imposed specifically on cold-rolled stainless steel products classified under Harmonization System Codes or HS Code of 7219.32.00, along with 7219.33.00, 7219.34.00, 7219.35.00 and 7219.90.00, as well as 7220.20.10, 7220.20.90, 7220.90.10 and 7220.90.90.

The highest duty, at 37.29 percent, is to be imposed on Yuan Long Stainless Steel Corporation of Taiwan. Other Taiwanese steel manufacturers such as Yieh United Steel Corporation will be subjected to a 13.79 percent tariff.

Among the Chinese steel manufacturers, Fujian Southeast Stainless Steel Company Ltd, will be assessed a 6.87 percent tariff while Lianzhong Stainless Steel Corporation will be paying a 4.64 percent tarrif and Fujian Southeast Stainless Steel Company Ltd, 6.58 percent.

PT Jindal Stainless Indonesia and other Indonesian steel manufacturers will be assessed a 3.07 percent duty while Bahru Stainless Sdn Bhd and other Malaysian manufacturers will be subjected to a 10.71 percent tariff.

In July 2013, the MoIT's Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA) initiated an anti-dumping investigation on stainless steel imports at the request of Posco VST and Hoa Binh Inox, which have urged the imposition of anti-dumping duties on stainless steel products from the four markets.

The two manufacturers account for 80 percent of Vietnam's inox market shares. They have complained about increasing losses, falling revenues and prices and high inventories resulting from competition with cheap imported products, which were up to 25 percent lower in price than their own products.

At present, imported cold-rolled steel products are charged a zero to 10 percent import tax based on their origin. The zero percent tax rate applies to products from China and the ASEAN nations in compliance with commitments made by Vietnam under ASEAN Free Trade Agreements.

In December 2013, the VCA concluded its investigation and said the steel manufacturers of the four economies had showed signs of dumping products in the Vietnamese market and forcing the domestic steel industry to suffer heavy losses.

The VCA then proposed that anti-dumping tariffs, ranging from 6.45 percent to 30.73 percent, on stainless steel imports from these markets be imposed within 120 days.

On August 13, the assembly reviewing the anti-dumping tariffs met and agreed to impose duties that were higher than those proposed by the VCA last year.-VNA