Despite slack demand in 2012, the Vietnam Steel Corporation is hastening construction of two plants in the country.
A new plant is under construction in northern Lao Cai Province and the second phase of its Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel Co expansion project is nearing completion.
As scheduled, the Lao Cai project should be completed by the end of the year and the Thai Nguyen plant should begin operations by June.
These two key projects will help increase the corporation's competitiveness next year, said Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang.
At an industry conference this week, Hoang urged Vietnam Steel to focus on renewing technology to conserve energy and to reduce costs and pollution. He also called for concerted efforts towards an appropriate production plan for the current year.
According to Vietnamese deputy director for steel, Vu Ba On, the company is targeted to produce 1.4Mt of steel billet this year, an increase of 12% over 2012, and another 2.5Mt of rolled steel, an increase of over 7.5%.
To meet these targets, the corporation has called for Government policies to stimulate demand in the construction industry and lower borrowing costs, On said.
He also called for stronger technical barriers to prevent further imports of low- quality steel and protect domestic producers from unfair competition.
The corporation's output of steel billet last year reached nearly 1.3Mt an increase of 5.2% over the previous year, but only about 260kt of this were sold.
Rolled steel output increased by 9.5% to 340274t, while demand reached nearly 295000t.
Mr On said that last year was the most difficult year for the nation's steel industry due to the stalled real estate market and resulting slowdown in the construction industry.