The Hanoitimes - The US administration`s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from certain countries, including Vietnam, is expected to have little impact on major Vietnamese steel producers, according to a recent report by SSI Retail Research.
Although Vietnam’s steel exports to the US have been growing in recent years, this market only accounted for 11% of Vietnam’s total steel exports in 2017. The rate increased slightly to 15% in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, ASEAN is currently Vietnam’s largest steel importer, accounting for 59% and 58% of Vietnam’s total steel exports in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
The Trump administration in March decided to levy a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% rate on aluminum imports.
SSI Retail Research, thus, assessed that potential impacts from the US import tariffs will be insignificant on Hoa Phat Group, Vietnam’s largest steel producer, as the group only exported 6% of its total production volume in 2017. This figure increased to around 8% in the first five months of 2018.
Meanwhile, Hoa Sen Group and Nam Kim Steel are more vulnerable to a potential trade war, as they exported about 40 – 50% of their total galvanized steel production in 2017.
Nevertheless, the exports to the US accounted for just 10% of Hoa Sen Group’s total exports, while this figure for Nam Kim Steel was around 15%. Both companies have also diversified their export markets to around 60 – 75 countries and territories, in turn, minimizing negative impacts from the US steel tariffs in short term.
SSI Retail Research’s assessment echoes the view of Viet Capital Securities, which stated in a report on March that “a 25% tariff on steel imports into the US would have moderate direct impact on Vietnam’s leading steel producers.”
SSI Retail Research, however, expressed concern over that the US steel tariffs could trigger a new wave of global protectionism, especially when other countries are considering imposing their own trade barriers to limit the penetration of US-bound steel products into their markets.
The European Union was Vietnam’s third largest steel importer in 2017, which accounted for 10% of the country’s steel exports in 2017. The bloc in March began a study on whether the import tariffs imposed by the US warranted action to prevent steel manufacturers subject to the US tariffs diverting their products to Europe. Similarly, Canada in May also initiated a dumping inquiry into steel imports from China, South Korea and Vietnam.