Vietnam attempts to swerve tax hike on steel exports to US

By Ngan Anh   February 27, 2018 | 11:19 pm GMT+7
Vietnam attempts to swerve tax hike on steel exports to US
A man works at Hoa Phat steel mill in the northern province of Hai Duong. Photo by Reuters/Kham

Trump has until April to decide whether or not to slap further steel tariffs on 12 countries, including Vietnam.

The U.S. Commerce Department has recommended that President Donald Trump impose steep curbs on steel and aluminum imports from certain countries, including Vietnam, according to Reuters.

The long-awaited unveiling of commerce's "Section 232" national security reviews of the two industries contained global tariff options of at least 24 percent on all steel products from all countries, and at least 7.7 percent on all aluminum products from all countries.

The recommendations were presented to Trump after he authorized the probes under a 1962 trade law that has not been invoked since 2001. He has until April 11 to announce his decision on steel import curbs and by April 20 to decide on aluminum restrictions.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross emphasized that Trump would have the final say, including on whether to exclude certain countries, such as NATO allies, from any actions.

Commerce recommended a steel tariff of at least 53 percent on all steel imports from 12 countries - Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

The country-specific aluminum tariff option would impose a 23.6 percent tariff on all products from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Talking about the move, the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam said it will closely follow the case and coordinate with the Vietnam Steel Association and relevant firms and agencies to deal with the issue.

Given that Vietnamese steel and aluminum account for a small proportion of U.S. imports, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has asked the U.S government to carefully consider the import restriction to ensure it respects WTO rules and international practices without harming trade development between the two countries, said the ministry.

“The Ministry of Industry and Trade will closely follow the case, and will consider ways to deal with the issue, ensuring the legitimate rights of Vietnamese firms,” the ministry said.

Last December, the U.S. Commerce Department slapped steep import duties on steel products from Vietnam that originated in China after finding they evaded U.S. anti-dumping and anti-subsidy orders.

The department said it will apply the same Chinese anti-dumping and anti-subsidy rates on corrosion-resistant and cold-rolled steel from Vietnam that starts out as Chinese-made hot-rolled steel.

Vietnamese-shipped cold-rolled steel will face combined preliminary U.S. anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties of 531 percent, while corrosion-resistant steel will face combined duties of 238 percent - more than high enough to shut both products out of the U.S market.

In 2017, Vietnam exported 380,000 tons of steel worth $303 million to the U.S.

 
 
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