From March 22 to October 7 imported steel billets and steel bars will be subject to safeguard duties of 22.3 per cent and 14.2 per cent, respectively, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) announced on March 7.

Affected are HS products coded 7207.11.00; 7207.19.00; 7207.20.29; 7207.20.99; 7224.90.00; 7213.10.00; 7213.91.20; 7214.20.31; 7214.20.41; 7227.90.00; 7228.30.10; and 9811.00.00.

The duties come as a result of petitions from the Hoa Phat Steel Joint Stock Company, the Southern Steel Company (SSC), the Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel Joint Stock Corporation (TISCO), and the Vietnam Italy Steel, which asked that MoIT impose a 45 per cent safeguard duty on steel billets and a 33 per cent safeguard duty on steel bars imported from all countries.

The companies also asked MoIT to impose the duty for a period of 200 days so that domestic steel companies can maintain the competitiveness of their steel billets and steel bars.

The safeguard duty will not be imposed on steel billets and steel bars imported from a less developed country that was investigated and whose total quantity of steel exported to Vietnam does not exceed 3 per cent, and the total steel imported from less developed countries that were investigated must not exceed 9 per cent of the total.

An MoIT inspection conducted in December 2015 showed that imported steel has a negative impact on domestic steel production, in particular the production of steel billets and steel bars, due to their lower prices. If the situation continued domestic production would stagnate.