Vietnam to crack down on steel of fraudulent origins

By Khanh Lynh   July 4, 2019 | 04:58 am PT
Vietnam to crack down on steel of fraudulent origins
A man loads steel at a port of Hoa Phat steel mill in Hai Duong Province. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
Vietnam will act to stop the illegal circumvention by steel exporters and work with the U.S. on tackling such fraud.

The country will continue to "cooperate and dialogue with the U.S. to protect the rights and benefits of businesses in accordance with World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations and agreements," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said at a press briefing Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Commerce on Tuesday slapped duties of up to 456 percent on some steel products imported from Vietnam which it alleged were made in South Korea and Taiwan.

These cold-rolled steel and corrosion-resistant steel products are only superficially processed in Vietnam, it said.

Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade said it has warned local steel producers that importers could tighten their policies on trade remedies. It has suggested local firms use domestic material or import from countries which are not slapped with duties.

Vietnam is determined to tackle U.S. concerns about steel exports at the center of a new tariff row, Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung told Reuters in an interview through an interpreter on Thursday. "We will be determined in managing the situation, handling the violations and handling the breaches." 

He added that while there would be some economic impact from tariffs, the impact in the immediate future will not be that high because steel exports are not the biggest share of exports to the U.S..

The U.S. slapped duties on South Korean products in 2015 and Taiwanese products in 2016. Since those dates through April 2019, shipments of corrosion-resistant steel products and cold-rolled steel from Vietnam to the U.S. increased by 332 percent and 916 percent, the department said.

In May last year, the U.S. had slapped duties on some Vietnamese steel products it claimed originated in China.

The Donald Trump administration has so far issued 31 anti-circumvention determinations, a 417 percent increase compared to the previous administration in the comparable period.

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