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New measures needed to stabilize steel market in Viet Nam

Viet Nam's steel industry needs to have more measures to stabilize the domestic market as prices mainly depend on the world market.

At a conference on Wednesday (May 5, 2004) to discuss measures to improve the business, representatives of 19 steel producers nationwide expressed their worries over the slowdown in steel consumption.

In recent months, steel sales by domestic producers dropped 35-40 percent. The main reason is that many projects have delayed construction, waiting for the reduction of domestic steel prices as the world prices have dropped and steel imported from China is cheaper.

At the conference, almost all steel producers suggested the Government increase taxes from 0 percent at present to 10 percent on steel products imported from other ASEAN countries and 20 percent imported from other countries.

Other measures include strict management of ore exports with a present volume of 300,000 tonnes per year and the development of ingot production. Viet Nam has only three ingot producers with an estimated total capacity of 700,000 tonnes in 2004, meeting 30 percent of the domestic demand.

The Ministry of Trade also suggested the steel producers manage and develop their retail network to limit the price increase by sales agents.

The Ministry of Industry asked the Viet Nam Steel Corporation to prepare a draft Regulation on Construction Steel Market to submit to the Ministry and the Government for approval.

FA - (07/05/2004)

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