Vietnam’s steel manufacturing in a whirlwind of lawsuits
VietNamNet Bridge - At least half of the current trade remedy, anti-countervailing and anti-dumping investigations are on products in the steel manufacturing sector.


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Vietnam's steel manufacturing is on the whirlwind of lawsuits



Chu Thang Trung, deputy head of the Trade Remedies Department, said at a recent workshop that of 78 anti-dumping lawsuits in the last two years against Vietnam’s products, 37 had relations with the steel sector. If counting the lawsuits on anti-dumping taxation avoidance and anti-subsidies, the figure would be even higher.

There has been no official explanation why steel manufacturing accounts for 50 percent of total lawsuits.

Some experts said the steel sector faces the highest number of lawsuits as it is considered a ‘bread earner’ in industrial production because of its essential nature, value, and big impact on global industry. 

China is the No 1 steel manufacturer in the world and its spillover effects to other countries are through direct exports or technology exports. 

Just in the last three months, a series of lawsuits initiated by the US, with direct or indirect relations to the steel industry, have been filed.

Of 78 anti-dumping lawsuits in the last two years against Vietnam’s products, 37 had relations with the steel sector. If counting the lawsuits on anti-dumping taxation avoidance and anti-subsidies, the figure would be even higher.

On May 21, the US Department of Commerce released its final decision after an anti-subsidy probe against Vietnam’s galvanized steel and cold rolled steel sourced from Chinese HRC (hot rolled coil). The anti-subsidy tax rates on the products are 199.6 percent for the former and 199.3 percent for the latter.

In mid-June, some steel manufacturers in the US asked DOC for an anti-dumping duty avoidance investigation against cold-rolled coil from Vietnam, suspected as sourced from China and Taiwan. The US is expected to make a final decision on whether it will initiate the investigation.

Prior to that, DOC released a decision on taxing 25 percent on steel imports to the US. Vietnam has applied for a tax exemption, but there has been no reply.

Most recently, the EU has decided to temporarily impose safeguard duties on some steel imports from 10 countries, including Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has decided to apply safeguard measures in two cases and prepared for an anti-dumping investigation in another case related to galvanized steel sourced from China.

Local newspapers cited a DOC report as showing that the number of investigations initiated by DOC has been increasing steadily in the last three years, to 110 cases. 

By May 2018, more than 400 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy decisions had taken effect. These include 10 decisions related to Vietnam’s products, mostly steel. 

Vietnam exports less than 10 percent of its steel output a year, and only 15 percent goes to the US and 10 percent to the EU. 

However, Nguyen Thu Trang from VCCI’s WTO Center said Vietnam needs to be cautious in dealing with the lawsuits, or they will have a domino effect in the future.


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Kim Chi

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