China’s proposed US copper concentrate tax said to set off swap scramble

China’s threat to impose import taxes on US copper concentrates looms over the market for mined copper, leaving consumers and traders scrambling to swap cargoes scheduled for Chinese ports, sources directly involved in the trade told Metal Bulletin.

On Friday August 3 the Chinese Ministry of Finance said it would impose a 25% import tax on US origin copper concentrates and also tax 5,206 other products, if the US went through with proposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods. A date for the implementation has not been set, and it remains unclear whether the tax will be levied. But less than a week since the announcement, the threat of tariffs has already sent ripples through the copper concentrates market, with Chinese customers pushing back on taking material that originates from the US.  “This proposal could cost millions of dollars to hundreds of people, the Chinese government is pushing the panic button and trading companies are suffering,” said a copper concentrates trader who spoke to Metal Bulletin on condition of anonymity. With the LME’s cash copper price closing at $6,141 per tonne on Thursday, the value of a 25% tax on a standard...

Published

Archie Hunter

Julian Luk

August 09, 2018

22:05 GMT

London