Vietnam users ask PM to scrap plan for anti-dumping tax on steel

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The opposition of 18 stainless steel users to proposed anti-dumping taxes on imports has gone one step further with a petition asking the Prime Minister and the trade ministry not to approve the tax.

The Vietnam Competition Authority at the Ministry of Industry and Trade early this month ruled that mainland China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Taiwan dump stainless steel in Vietnam and thus called on the ministry to impose taxes of 6.45 to 30.73 percent on their products for 120 days.

Vietnam imposes taxes of up to 10 percent on stainless steel imports, but cold-rolled steel from China and ASEAN member countries attracts no tariffs.

In June, Hanoi-based Inox Hoa Binh and South Korea's Posco VST, which hold an 80 percent share of the stainless steel market, demanded a 20-40 percent anti-dumping tax on stainless steel imports that cost up to 25 percent less than local products.

But 18 stainless steel processors and home appliance and construction-materials producers that consume stainless steel said in a new petition that the competition agency has not been fair, and that the new taxes will hurt their business as well as consumers.

Posco said cheap imports have caused them losses, but the 18 petitioners said the main cause of the losses was that Posco VST and Inox Hoa Binh over-produced while the global inox market was hitting low notes.

A source with the Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon Online said that investigations into the lawsuit found that Posco made major losses on recent exports.

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The 18 companies already petitioned the ministry once in October to reject the lawsuit.

They said Posco VST and Inox Hoa Binh "are not in a position" to file the lawsuit since they are not really stainless steel producers.

Posco itself imports large quantities of stainless steel from its plants in mainland China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Thailand to process at its cold rolling plant in Vietnam.

Inox Hoa Binh imports from China and Indonesia.

They said the two would take over the entire market if their request to tax imports is accepted.

The companies also held a media briefing to voice their objection to the proposed tax early this month, saying that it would enable Posco and Inox Hoa Binh to monopolize the market and cause those depending on imports huge losses and would raise the risk of bankruptcy.

The prices of home appliances and products made of steel would increase, losing their competitiveness on export markets, the petition said.

The lawsuit was the first anti-dumping tax suit filed from Vietnam, though Vietnamese companies have often been sued for dumping by other countries.

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