The Vietnam Steel Corporation said it will produce 2.23 million tons of steel sheets in 2009, up 2.9% from 2008, while the steel billet output would rise 8.8% to 980,000 tons. The news came not long after an announcement by the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance, which said in December that the tariffs levied on imported steel billet and steel ingot would be raised to 5% from the then-current 2%. The tariff hike was deemed necessary to boost domestic steel consumption and to ensure the stability of the country’s steel market.