Exporters hail EU trade deal, steel themselves for strict standards

13:00 | 05/08/2020 Trade

(VEN) - Over the past two years, trade barriers have obstructed Vietnamese steel exports to the EU, which have also faced fierce competition. The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is expected to help create a breakthrough in steel exports to that market as soon as it takes effect on August 1.

exporters hail eu trade deal steel themselves for strict standards
The EVFTA will offer Vietnamese steel enterprises opportunities to penetrate the EU market

Tough competition

According to the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA), in recent years, the EU accounted for slightly over three percent of Vietnam’s annual steel export value (in 2019, Vietnam exported 6.68 million tonnes of steel worth US$4.21 billion).

VSA President Nghiem Xuan Da said China, the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Japan are major steel exporters to the EU. The strict trade protection measures applied by member states to imported steel are a major challenge for Vietnamese steel exporters. Fortunately, the EVFTA is expected to provide great opportunities for the steel industry, Da said.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the EVFTA will help increase Vietnam’s export turnover to the EU by about 20 percent this year, 42.7 percent in 2025, and 44.37 percent in 2030. It will also contribute to increasing the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2.18-3.25 percent in the 2019-2023 period, 4.57-5.30 percent in the 2024-2028 period, and 7.07-7.72 percent in the 2029-2033 period.

EVFTA opportunities

Vu Van Thanh, Deputy General Director of the Hoa Sen Group, said Hoa Sen exported an average of 10,000-15,000 tonnes of steel to the EU monthly, and the group will increase exports to this market when the EVFTA takes effect.

Thanh said the EU has strict product quality and origin requirements, which Vietnamese enterprises must satisfy by improving technology. “We exported steel and steel products to the EU and believe that the EVFTA will offer us more opportunities to export products to this market,” Thanh said.

The Toan Thang Steel Trading Co., Ltd. had never exported steel to the EU, but the company has adopted strategies to sell products to this market to benefit from EVFTA opportunities. According to Doan Danh Tuan, Chair of the Toan Thang Steel Trading Co., Ltd.’s Members Council, the company can export cut and sawn steel products according to the specifications of EU partners.

VSA President Nghiem Xuan Da:

The Ministry of Industry and Trade should provide guidelines for businesses to access the EU market and learn about its regulations. It should also warn them of trade remedies the EU might apply and help them take advantage of the agreement.

Thuy Duong