HANOI - Vietnam plans to impose a 5% export tax on steel billets and cut the import tax on some steel products, the government said on Wednesday.

The move is aimed at easing domestic steel prices to help firms cut costs, the government said in a statement, adding a recent increase in domestic steel prices had put a brake on several projects.

The import tax on some steel products, including construction steel products, would be reduced to 10%-15% from a range of 15%-25%, the statement said.

Vietnam's steel exports in the first half of 2021 rose 50% from a year earlier to 5.88 million tonnes, while steel imports were up 5.9% at 7.09 million tonnes, according to official customs data.

(Editing by Ed Davies)