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Aluminium Tariffs Adjusted to Curb Pollution
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China will levy new export duties on certain aluminium products from August 1 in order to lower energy consumption and pollutant emissions, according to the Ministry of Finance (MOF).


A 15-percent export tariff will come into force on non-alloy aluminium rods and poles while the 5 percent import duty on electrolytic aluminum will be scrapped, the MOF announced on Thursday.


The MOF explained the move, saying it intended to "further restrict exports which were both high energy-consuming and polluting while inversely encouraging imports of raw materials".


This is the latest measure taken by central authorities rein in rapid growth in the high energy-consuming and polluting industries, including metals. On August 1, resources taxes on lead, zinc, copper and tungsten ore will rise by three to 16 times.


Industrial output for these sectors, including metals, power, steel, oil refining, chemicals and construction materials, grew 20.6 percent in the first quarter, 6.6 percentage points higher than 2006's comparative rise.


These six sectors account for 70 percent of the nation's industrial energy demand and for the same percentage of sulfur dioxide releases.


The government has set itself the tough target of lowering energy consumption by 20 percent per unit of gross domestic product and major pollutant emissions by 10 percent by 2010.


Unfortunately, these targets became sketchy when energy consumption per unit of GDP fell by 1.33 percent year-on-year in 2006, only one third of the 4-percent target touted by the government, Xie Fuzhan, head of the National Bureau of Statistics, said on July 12.


The aluminium sector's rapid growth in recent years has come despite the implementation of several macro-control measures. In the first five months, alumina output surged 55.4 percent over the same period last year to 7.62 million tons with that of electrolytic aluminium mirroring its rise, soaring 36.1 percent to 4.68 million tons.


MOF sources said the move came after the large-scale scrapping or cutting of export tax rebates for 2,831 commodities from July 1. These measures are targeting the growing rising trade surplus, which hit US$112.5 billion in the first half of 2007, an increase of 83 percent from the same period last year.


(Xinhua News Agency July 20, 2007)

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