The deliberate addition of tariffs on imports of US copper into the world’s largest consumer of the metal sounds somewhat contradictory.
Why would China, which imported more than half a million tonnes of copper scrap and more than 400,000 tonnes of copper concentrates from the US last year, force the country’s copper smelters to pay more for their raw materials needs?
But all bets are off in a trade war - as tariffs on the import of aluminium into the US have shown - and anything is possible.
US President Donald Trump has said that more than $500 billion of Chinese products could be hit by tariffs, equivalent to almost the entire value of the country’s exports to the US last year. Although the US buys almost four times as much from China as it sells to it, the prospect for further retaliatory action is very real.