International Steel Mills

No Chinese CR... Look Out US Mills, Here Comes Vietnam & Taiwan

Written by Sandy Williams

This week’s DOC preliminary duties on cold-rolled steel effectively shut down the U.S. market for China but has opened it for imports from Taiwan and Vietnam.

Taiwan’s largest steel producer, China Steel Corp, said Thursday that it fully intends to take advantage of the penalties its rival steel producers in China now face. The company says its subsidiary CSC Sumikin Vietnam Joint Stock Company (CSVC), a joint venture between China Steel and Japan’s Sumitomo Metal industries, plans to increase cold rolled shipments to the U.S.

Other Taiwanese firms, such as Yieh Phui Enterprises and Sheng Yu Steel, also plan to ramp up cold-rolled sales to the U.S., giving China Steel a twofold benefit. In addition to its own direct sales to the U.S. market, the company expects Taiwanese firms to buy more hot rolled steel from China Steel to make their cold-rolled products.

Following the DOC announcement, China Steel’s shares on the Taiwan Stock Exchange rose more than 3 percent.

Vietnam is also poised to increase its U.S. market share. The Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) reported steel imports rose 27.24 percent to US$9 billion last year, 52 percent of which came from China. Exports of steel, however, fell 14 percent to US$2.45 billion creating an import surplus of $6.54 billion.

About 75 percent of Vietnam’s steel exports go to ASEAN , says VSA, but with competition from China and high antidumping duties in Indonesia and Malaysia, Vietnam needs to find a new outlet for its products. The hole expected to be left by China’s exit from the U.S. cold rolled market, fills that need nicely.

In February, the Hoa Sen Group (HSG) exported 20,000 tons of steel coil to the United States. Le Phuoc Vu, chairman of HSG, said the company stepped up exports to the U.S. beginning last September.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is expected to increase steel export opportunities for 12 Pacific Rim countries including Vietnam. The new tariffs on China just moved up the timetable.

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