Chung Hung Steel downplays levies by US on Vietnam

Posted on 05 July 2019

Source: Taipei Times

Chung Hung Steel Corp (中鴻鋼鐵), which makes steel coils and pipes, yesterday said that US levies of up to 456 percent on steel imports from Vietnam have had a limited effect on the company and Vietnam would remain its largest overseas market this year.

As the US only imposes about 3 percent anti-dumping tariffs on steel imports from Taiwan, there is no need for the company to export goods to the US through Vietnam, it said.

Chung Hung sells to downstream companies, which process the steel further. More than half of the company’s shipments are for overseas markets.

Cumulative revenue in the first five months of the year rose 7.13 percent year-on-year to NT$20.56 billion (US$661.05 million).

Some downstream steelmakers had expected the additional US duties, as Washington officials launched an investigation into Vietnam last year, Chung Hung said.

“Quite a few downstream companies have been exporting their steel products to the US through Japan, instead of Vietnam,” a Chung Hung official told the Taipei Times by telephone.

Some of them are to focus on the expanding market in Vietnam instead, said the official, who asked to remain anonymous.

The US Department of Commerce on Tuesday announced that it was increasing tariffs to up to 456 percent on corrosion-resistant and cold-rolled steel products from Vietnam, if the steel was made in Taiwan or South Korea and then shipped to Vietnam for minor processing before being exported to the US.

The department views the practice of shipping products from Vietnam as a way to circumvent US anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties.

The Chung Hung official said that the effects on the Taiwanese steel industry need to be evaluated further.

“What is certain is that Vietnam is no longer a beneficiary of the US-China trade dispute,” he said. “Nobody knows where the US will strike next.”

Meanwhile, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said that manufacturers in the nation should use domestically sourced raw materials to avoid incurring US tariffs.

“The [Vietnamese] Ministry of Industry and Trade has warned local companies about possible moves by importing countries, including the United States, to apply stricter requirements in trade protection cases,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said in Hanoi.

Vietnamese companies should consider business strategies that include switching to domestic materials, she said. 

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