Vietnamese steel losing to cheap Chinese imports

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As the property market slumps, the local steel industry's main buyers aren't buying, and local producers are seeing stronger competition coming from cheap Chinese steel.

Reports by the Ministry of Industry and Trade at a meeting in Hanoi Monday said that businesses had to compete with each other by selling cheap and offering various promotions, according to Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon.

Prices in July dropped VND100,000-250,000 (US$4.75-11.87) a ton from the previous month, it said.

The Vietnam Steel Association recently asked the central government to investigate Chinese steel imports, which the association said had evaded millions of dollars in taxes using a technical loophole.

Vietnam exempts alloy steel from import tariffs while other steels are taxed between 5 and 18 percent.

The association said Chinese companies have mixed 0.0008 percent, "a very little amount," of metalloid element boron to their steel to make it "alloy," according to a Saigon Tiep Thi report.

It said Vietnam imported 679,000 tons of hot-rolled steel and 275,000 tons of hot steel sheets containing boron from China last year, as well as 270,000 tons of rolled-steel in the first five months this year.

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