|Workers cool steel ingots at the Luu Xa Iron and Steel Company in the northern province of Thai Nguyen. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Dat
HA NOI (VNS) — The ministries of Industry and Trade and Science and Technology have issued a Joint Circular No. 44 to better manage the quality of domestically produced and imported steels.
Accordingly, domestic steel producers will have to apply the national technical standards on their production. The circular, which will come into effect from June, also makes it mandatory for steel importers to announce the standards applied in their import contracts. Based on the applied standards, the authorities will assess whether the consignments are eligible for import to Viet Nam or not.
According to the domestic steel producers, the circular will not only tighten steel quality management, but will also prevent unhealthy competition from cheap, imported steels in the market.
Addressing a conference on the management of steel production and imports held in Ha Noi on Tuesday, Chu Duc Khai, the vice chairman cum general secretary of the Viet Nam Steel Association (VSA), stated that last year, large amount of steels was imported into the country.
Khai believes that cheap, imported steels sold along with domestically produced steels have affected the reputation of local brands.
He further added that imported rolled steels, containing 0.0008 per cent boron (Bo) element, were labelled as metal to enjoy a tax preferential of zero per cent.
The ministry will be responsible for selecting only those domestic or foreign organisations, which have the ability to clarify the standards.
Sharing his ideas, Nguyen Van Phong, the deputy general director of the NS BlueScope Viet Nam Company was quoted as saying by the online newspaper that the circular will improve steel quality, thus benefiting consumers.
However, Phong noted that if the assessment on steel production and imports was not strictly implemented, steel products will be stuck.
He expects that the relevant agencies will closely cooperate to ensure product quality and shorten evaluation time.
According to a representative from the ministry's Science and Technology Department, both domestic and foreign invested steel producers will have to follow the circular.
As per statistics revealed by the ministry, steel output in the first two months of the year was 283,000 tonnes, a 26 per cent reduction as compared to the same period last year.
The steel production in the association was 255,057 tonnes, posting a 21 per cent decrease over the previous month.
VSA has forecast that this year, the demand for steel will not be high.
The total steel consumption was estimated at 12.2-12.5 million tonnes, increasing 3-5 per cent against 2013.
The ministry also noted that it will collaborate with the Ministry of Science and Technology to conduct check-ups on the quality of steel exported by other countries to Viet Nam.
The costs for conducting the check-ups will be borne by the importers under the Ministry of Finance's regulations. —VNS