Calls grow louder to stop imports of Chinese steel into Thailand

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The Engineering Institute of Thailand has joined the calls of steel makers pushing the Industry Ministry to curtail imported Chinese steel by halting its certification and improving local steel standards.

Prof Suchatvee Suwansaway president of EIT said that “Chinese imports vary in quality, as their inspection is more difficult than domestic steel due to a lack of staff and the cost of checking their production processes at the sites. This inconsistent quality was a hazard to public safety and project quality.

The EIT joins the Federation of Thai Industries in calling for a stop to certification of Chinese steel, raising import duties and improving the technical standards of domestic producers.

Prof Suchatvee said that “We should educate local engineers, and developers should be warned about the danger of using poor quality steel. We are concerned if the situation continues, it could lead to the uncontrollable monopoly of Chinese steel.”

Mr Anek Siripanichgorn, chairman of the Thai Industrial Standards Institute’s technical committee, said that the body should finish drafting new steel standards in four months. It will take at least another six months for the new standards to take effect. About 30% of producers will not be able to meet the new standards in the short run, but they agree it’s worth the risk.”

Mr Nikorn Susiriwattananont vice chairman of FTI said that “Thai demand for steel continues to grow but local production is dipping. Demand for long steel was 5.9 million tonnes last year, with imports making up 3 million tonnes despite sufficient domestic capacity.”

Mr Susiriwattananont said that “Thai steel costs 19,000 baht per tonne, while Chinese steel costs 15,000 baht because of government subsidies and the inclusion of a small amount of boron to avoid paying import tax.”

He said that “Other Asean countries tried discussing steel dumping with China, but each was forced to protect their own steel industries through various measures. Thailand has no such measures in place.”

Mr Thana Ruangsilasingha, chief operating officer of TATA Steel (Thailand) said that “Many have accused us of being inefficient, but Chinese subsidies are making fair competition impossible. The group favoured halting certification over new anti dumping measures, as the former would stop imports immediately.”


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