Vietnam sets up new tariff barrier to protect local steel industry

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A file photo of a steel mill in Vietnam. More than 1.28 million tons of steel rods were imported into Vietnam last year, up 47 percent from 2014. Photo: Diep Duc Minh/Thanh Nien A file photo of a steel mill in Vietnam. More than 1.28 million tons of steel rods were imported into Vietnam last year, up 47 percent from 2014. Photo: Diep Duc Minh/Thanh Nien
An investigation has found that cheap imports, not least from China, have hurt Vietnamese producers

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Additional tariffs have been officially announced for imported steel billets and rods after an investigation of the Ministry of Industry and Trade found that cheap imports hurt the local industry. 
Since March the ministry has slapped a tariff of 23.3 percent on steel billets and 14.2 percent on steel rods as a temporary safeguard measure against imports while conducting its investigation.
Now that the ministry has concluded that the influx of cheap imports adversely affected the business of local companies, just like they claimed, the safeguard measure will stay until March 2020, according to media reports. 
The rate for steel billets will be 23.3 percent in the first year, before being lowered gradually in the following years. Meanwhile, the rate on steel rods will be adjusted up to 15.4 percent, starting this August, and then start declining after March 21 next year. The additional duties are levied on top of regular trade tariffs of up to 20 percent applicable to these products. 
Vietnam, however, does not impose the additional tariffs on products from developing countries such as Cambodia and Indonesia, whose steel exports to Vietnam account for less than 3 percent of the country's total imports.
Vietnam imported more than 592,000 tons of steel billets in 2014, up 69.7 percent from the previous year, according to official figures. Last year imports surged to nearly 1.89 million tons, compared to an increase of 5-10 percent of domestic sales. 
More than 1.28 million tons of steel rods were brought into Vietnam last year, up 47 percent from 2014. In comparison, local producers posted increases of 15-25 percent in sales.

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