During the opening two months of the year, iron and steel exports have enjoyed a stellar growth rate of 71.9% compared to the same period from last year, with major domestic firms such as Hoa Phat and Hoa Sen exporting large shipments.
The nation exported a total of 1,568 million tonnes of iron and steel worth US$1.123 billion during the reviewed period, marking a sharp rise of 71.9% compared to last year’s corresponding period, according to data released by the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
January saw Hoa Phat Group, the country's leading steel maker, export roughly 10,000 tonnes of galvanized sheet partners to Belgium and Spain, while it also shipped more than 12,000 tonnes of cold galvanized steel to the Americas in February.
Along with construction steel, Hoa Phat Group has also ramped up its export of steel pipes, galvanized steel, and galvanized steel wire to foreign markets.
Furthermore, Hoa Sen Group Joint Stock Company shipped high-value batches of galvanized steel sheet to the United States, Mexico, Europe, and Southeast Asia, with export volume exceeding 100,000 tonnes per month.
Nghiem Xuan Da, chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association, said domestic steel consumption throughout the reviewed period was estimated to have decreased by 30% compared to the same period from last year.
Da believes that although a series of free trade agreements (FTAs) have come into force, such as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the Vietnam-UK Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), not many local firms have the capacity to increase exports to the EU market.
In general, the local steel industry faces a number of obstacles due to five further countries, including Malaysia and Philippines which are two of the country’s major markets, conducting anti-dumping investigations into Vietnamese galvanized steel and steel pipes.
Moreover, the European Commission (EC) has recently announced plans to consider extending safeguard measures for imported steel. This comes after the EU on February 1, 2019, applied a safeguard measure against imported steel in the form of tariff quotas, with three groups of steel products from the nation being levied.
Experts have therefore advised local businesses to strive to fully tap into high-value markets such as China and Cambodia moving forward, with China expected to become a billion-dollar export market with many product lines.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) is considering asking the government to launch the second support package to help businesses stand firmly amid the Covid-19 pandemic.