In order to prevent the instances of fabricating mill test certificates and thereby reduce the volume of low-quality steel product imports, the Korean Iron & Steel Association has introduced a new QR code-based scheme called “QReal” and entered an emergency mode to fully implement the scheme.
According to the association, the imports of steel products during the first half of the year were 11.21 million tons, up 15.5 percent from the same period last year. Of these, as much as 6.55 million tons, or 58.4 percent, originated from China, rising 31.0 percent from a year ago.
By product type, the import volume of I-beams rose 21.5 percent to 579,000 tons, of which Chinese-made I-beams accounted for 93.8 percent at 543,000 tons. As for steel coils, the amount increased 9.4 percent to 846,000 tons during the first half (Chinese-made coils took up 66.1% at 559,000 tons).
The imports of thick plates rose 23.6 percent year on year to 1,661,000 tons (Chinese imports accounted for 1,009,000 tons or 60.7%). Hot-rolled steel imports rose 11.5 percent to 3,211,000 tons (Chinese imports were responsible for 55.3%, or 1,777,000 tons, a 56.6% increase from a year ago).
As a result, the share of imports in the total domestic market during the five-month period from January to May was 40.1 percent from 38.7 percent in 2013. Of these, Chinese imports rose to 23.4 percent this year from the previous year’s 20.0 percent.
Recently, a sizable volume of steel product imports with their quality test results fabricated as being produced domestically is threatening the domestic steel industry, while endangering the structural safety of buildings and major infrastructures. In response to this, the steel industry association prepared the scheme by which steel users themselves can test the authenticity of the steel product in question.
QReal, the smartphone app downloadable easily from Google Play Store or Apple App Store, can scan the QR code attached on the quality test certificate and find out whether the product is really made in Korea within seconds. According to the association, the scheme has been applied to products made in POSCO and Hyundai Steel and it will be applicable to those products produced in other steel makers.
Source – koreabizwire