Vietnam investigates steel imports amid dumping fears hinh anh 1As of the end of November, more than 13.8 million tonnes of iron and steel worth 6.97 billion USD were imported to Vietnam. (Photo:

Hanoi (VNA) - The Vietnam Competition Authority said that the Minister of Industry and Trade had ordered an investigation against imported steel ingots and steel bars for the application of safeguards.

The decision was made amid concerns that imported steel, mainly from China, was weighing down the domestic steel industry.

Chinese steel producers were seeking to boost exports due to the slowdown in the second largest economy causing high inventories.

Steel was the fourth product that the industry and trade ministry investigated for safeguards since 2009, besides float glass, vegetable oil and seasoning powder, according to Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper.

The investigation was carried out following the proposal of four local steel companies, Hoa Phat Steel Joint Stock Company, Southern Steel Company, Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel Joint Stock Corporation, and Viet Y Steel Joint Stock Company, who accounted for 34 percent of the domestic output.

The investigation period to determine damages was between January 1, 2012 and September 30, 2015.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said that the filing of the requesting party was adequate and compliant with the established regulations.

In the filing, local producers said that the rise in imports of steel ingots and bars were weighing down domestic production.

They cited statistics that import of steel ingots rose to 1.5 million tonnes this year, from 468,000 tonnes in 2012 and of steel bars to 1.12 million tonnes from 389,000 tonnes in 2012.

The requesting party proposed the imposition of a tax rate of 45 percent on imported steel ingots and 33 percent on steel bars produced from imported steel ingots in 200 days before the final investigation concluded.

According to the current regulations, the Ministry of Industry and Trade could apply temporary safeguards before the end of investigation if it found that the delay in applying trade defence instruments might result in severe damage to local production.

According to Nguyen Van Sua, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association, quoted by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, the rise in steel imports had been voiced on numerous occasions previously.

He said that the unhealthy competition from imported products was distorting the market and posing severe threats to local steel production.

Sua said that local production currently ran at only around 40 percent to 55 percent of its capacity.

According to the General Department of Customs, as of the end of November, more than 13.8 million tonnes of iron and steel worth 6.97 billion USD were imported to Vietnam, in which imports from China accounted for 61 percent of volume and 55 percent of value.-VNA