The freshly-signed EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will help the Vietnamese steel sector expand export markets in Europe, industry insiders said.
According to the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA),as of April 30, 2019, Vietnam exported nearly 2.8 million tonnes of steel, up13.7 percent against the same period last year.
Nguyen Van Sua, an expert in the steel industry,said export products of Vietnam and the EU are supplementary without directcompetition.
However, Vietnam’s steel exporters have so far justfocused on some traditional markets like the Association of Southeast AsianNations (ASEAN) and the US while neglecting the EU.
For example, the ASEAN made up 61 percent ofVietnam’s export of steel sheets, the US 8.1 percent and Europe 7.1 percent, accordingto the VSA.
In the context of global competition andincreasing application of trade defence measures, the search for anddiversification of export markets is essential, Sua said, adding that with thesigned free trade agreements (FTAs), including the EVFTA, Vietnam couldoptimise tariff incentives to boost exports to the EU.
Deputy head of the ministry’s Multilateral TradePolicy Department Pham Quynh Mai said the provisions in FTAs work to Vietnam’sadvantage; however, if businesses do not know how to optimise these advantages,they will not be able to expand the markets and increase export value.
She suggested businesses study the FTAs inorder to apply the rules on origins in the most effective way, while continuingto modernize technology to meet technical standards.
Nguyen Manh Tuan, Director General of Hoa PhatGroup, the largest steel maker in Vietnam, said to maintain its share in thedomestic market and expand markets in the EU, his company is taking a lot ofmeasures to improve product quality, reduce cost and enhance customer service.
A majority of Vietnamese steel firms areoperating at small scale, so their production, technology and financial capacityis limited.
To make inroads into the European market andavoid trade lawsuits, the steel sector needs to develop large-scale enterprisesand proactively study the export markets’ tariff regulations and trade defencemeasures.-VNA
The US Department of Commerce has announced preliminary rulings on the circumvention inquiries into Vietnamese cold-rolled steel and corrosion-resistant steel exports made from materials imported from Chinese Taiwan and the Republic of Korea.
In the second half of this year, increasing competition in product quality, prices and market share are predicted to force steel companies to work harder to maintain their foothold in the market.
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