The Vietnam Steel Association has warned China of possible punitive duties on steel it says that country dumps on an already struggling market.
In a warning note sent to Xu Le Jiang, chairman of the China Steel Association, the VSA said it is concerned over cheap Chinese steel products affecting the Vietnamese industry.
It warned of a possible anti-dumping tax on cold-rolled coil and steel alloy with 0.0008 percent boron, a non-metallic element Chinese producers have added to steel to get tax breaks since at least 2009.
The trace of boron, while having no effect on the quality of the steel, is the minimum level required to constitute steel alloy, which used to be exempt from tax until 2009 when Vietnam got wise to it.
It then hiked the tariff on steel alloys used in construction to 10 percent. But in late 2011 it again scrapped the tax except on boron-steel alloy.
Other steel imports attract taxes of up to 18 percent.
News website Saigon Times quoted VSA chairman Pham Chi Cuong as saying local steel makers, who have been hit by the low demand due to the prolonged property-market slump, are being hurt by the glut of cheap Chinese steel.
The VSA would seek technical barriers and anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel unless the Chinese association resolved the situation by preventing such unfair exports, he warned.
In the first seven months of the year imports of Chinese steel containing boron exceeded 350,000 tons to account for over 12 percent Vietnam's total consumption of construction steel, customs data showed.
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