Trade Cases

Steel Caucus urges Vietnam retain 'non-market economy' status

Written by Ethan Bernard

The Congressional Steel Caucus has expressed concern regarding the US government’s potential trade status change for Vietnam.

The office of Caucus Chairman Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) said in a statement on June 27 that he, Caucus Vice Chair Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-Ind.), and other Caucus members recently sent a letter to US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, urging that Vietnam continue to be considered a “non-market economy” (NME). In total, 37 Congressional representatives signed on to the letter.


Commerce announced in October that it would begin reviewing Vietnam’s NME status shortly after Vietnam filed an official request to be considered “a market economy.” Currently, the country is listed as an NME in US antidumping proceedings.

Commerce has 270 days to complete the review, which puts the deadline in mid-July.

Still ‘government-controlled’

Pointing to the letter, Crawford’s office noted that Vietnam remains “a top-down, government-controlled economy.”

“The country practices steel dumping by flooding the US with heavily subsidized steel in violation of international trade standards, which harms domestic production,” according to the statement.

“Vietnam is also known to be a platform for Chinese steel to circumvent US trade remedy orders. This malicious behavior should not be rewarded by a beneficial change of status,” it continued.

Commenting on the situation, Crawford said, “To grant Vietnam market economy status would be rewarding bad behavior and is a thumb in the eye to American steel.” 

Steel trade associations weigh in

Steel trade associations supported the position of the Caucus.

“The SMA applauds the Congressional Steel Caucus for highlighting the devastating effect that granting Vietnam market economy status would have on American workers and American steel production,” Philip K. Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association, said in the statement.

“We stand with the bipartisan members of the Congressional Steel Caucus in calling for Vietnam not to be granted market economy status,” he added.

Likewise, AISI President and CEO Kevin Dempsey cheered the news.

“AISI’s position is that Vietnam should continue to be classified as a non-market economy country given the continued significant role the government of Vietnam plays in many aspects of its economy,” Dempsey said in a statement sent to SMU.

He commented that Vietnam is actively involved in efforts to circumvent US trade remedy orders, engages in currency manipulation, and conducts other restrictive trade practices.

 “Vietnam’s government-controlled economy is also closely tied to China, which is a key supplier of non-market inputs that are central to Vietnam’s manufacturing base,” he noted.

Both AISI and SMA testified at the Commerce hearing in May in opposition to granting Vietnam market economy status.

Other groups supporting the letter include the Committee on Pipe and Tube Imports (CPTI), United Steelworkers (USW), Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), and the Steel Tank Institute/Steel Plate Fabricators Association (STI/SPFA).

Ethan Bernard

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