Vietnam: float-glass imports

In July, the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade decided to launch a safeguard investigation on imports of float glass from different countries and territories, according to the Vietnam Competit…

In July, the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade decided to launch a safeguard investigation on imports of float glass from different countries and territories, according to the Vietnam Competition Administration Department (VCAD). Decision 3329/QD-BCT was issued by the ministry to investigate imported float glass since Viglacera Float Glass and Vietnam Float Glass had requested safeguard measures for imported float glass due to rapidly increasing imports, which were damaging their businesses. The two domestic petitioners make 90% of domestic float glass: 36.5% from Viglacera Float Glass and 53.5% from Vietnam Float Glass. Vietnam Glass Industry Company, also supporting the petition, produced 10% of domestic float glass output. Float glass import volumes increased from 1.2 million sq.m in 2007 to 8.1 million sq.m in 2008, reaching 1.35 million sq.m in the first quarter of 2009. In 2008, the selling price of imports from ASEAN countries was 13-34% higher than domestic products, but in 2009 the price was 16-18% lower than domestic products, the petitioners said. According to Tran Quoc Thai, chairman of the Vietnam Construction Glass Association, float glass imported from ASEAN countries had a cheaper selling price because the price of oil, which had greatly affected the production costs of float glass, was 30-40% lower than oil prices on the domestic market. Moreover, Vietnam had also imposed a low import tax of 5% on float glass imports from those countries. Stockpiles were still increasing even if domestic float glass producers had cut their production. The national companies suggested the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to impose a fixed tax of USD 0.6 per sq.m on imports (without discrimination of origin) for four years. The companies have proposed the following temporary safeguard measure while waiting for the official decision from the ministry: 40% import tax rates on float glass imports for 200 days, which means that imports would also have to bear an additional 40% tax when entering Vietnam, as well as the import tax rate of 5% for ASEAN-sourced products and 40% for non-ASEAN products. Even if the competition, safeguard and anti-dumping ordinance was enacted in 2002, this is the first time Vietnamese manufacturers have requested help from the ordinance. The MoIT can apply temporary safeguard measures prior to an official decision, if imports were believed to be causing domestic losses. In any case, the measures will not be valid for 200 days.