Vietnam Considers Restrictions on Steel Imports

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Apr. 21 – Vietnam may consider restricting steel imports to reduce reliance on China, Japan and Russia, says a recommendation from the Vietnam Steel Association.

The restrictions will benefit local steelmakers who are capable of meeting construction material needs for wire rods, pipes and metallic-coated steel. The move will also help the country cut its trade deficit and mitigate the effects of its fluctuating local currency.

Steel is Vietnam’s third top import product with steel imports increasing by 22 percent to 9.63 million tons last year. “The government should have measures to limit imports of products such as wire rods, pipes and metallic-coated steel that local factories can produce here already,” Pham Chi Cuong, chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association, told Bloomberg News. “Restricting imports will help the government reduce the trade shortfall, curb inflation and boost local production as well as economic growth,” he said.

The Vietnam Steel Association says demand for the metal will only continue to increase to as much 15 percent when stalled construction projects are resumed this year.

Vietnam imported US$5.33 billion worth of steel in 2009, its third-largest product by value after machinery equipment and oil, according to the General Statistics Office in Hanoi.