HA NOI (VNS) — Low-cost and sub-standard iron sheets and steel, particularly from China, are flooding the market, causing many problems for legitimate producers.
Vu Van Thanh, Deputy General Director of the Hoa Sen Steel Sheet Corporation, made this declaration at a seminar on trade fraud in Viet Nam's steel sheet market held yesterday in Ha Noi.
The Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times), Viet Nam Steel Association (VSA) and the Viet Nam Standards and Consumers Association (VINASTAS) organised the seminar.
Thanh said counterfeit steel sheets were widely produced, spreading from the northern cities and provinces, including Ha Noi, Hai Phong and Thai Nguyen to central provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Khanh Hoa and Da Nang City and also some southern provinces of Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Ben Tre, Long An, Kien Giang, Soc Trang.
The import of cheap and poor-quality steel sheet products had surged in recent years, 90 per cent of which were of Chinese origin, seriously threatening domestic production, Thanh said.
Nguyen Van Sua, VSA deputy chairman, said domestic traders often printed well-known steel manufacturers trademarks on counterfeit and sub-standard products to deceive customers.
Sua said in September alone, domestic steel sheet producers sold 2,268 thousand tonnes of steel while the amount of imported steel consumed in the local market was 1,078 thousand tonnes, accounting for 32 per cent of the market.
The steel sheets imported from China account for a large quantity of the steel bought from overseas markets, which are poor quality and sold at low prices, causing serious damage to legitimate producers in the country, Sua added.
VINASTAS deputy chairman Nguyen Manh Hung said only specialised equipment could identify the quality of the sheets. Therefore, it was not easy for consumers to distinguish genuine steel products from fake ones.
In 2014 alone, market watch forces examined 1,900 steel businesses, of which hundreds of companies' products fail to meet quality standards. They were fined a total of more than VND3 billion (US$133,440) for their violation.
According to Thanh, to protect consumers and domestic manufacturing, Viet Nam needs to devise a set of national standards to better manage imported iron sheets and steel.
Sua said government agencies needed to strengthen the inspection of steel sheet products.
Sua added steel producers should raise their vigilance and protect their brand names. In addition, businesses should improve their steel quality and bring down prices to combat fakes and enhance their competitiveness in the domestic market and internationally.
Hung said VINASTAS was willing to co-ordinate with other agencies and businesses in spreading information so that consumers can distinguish genuine products from fakes. — VNS