China will increase export tariffs to 25 percent for steel billets and pig iron, and to 15 percent for strip coil and long products from Tuesday, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.
Analysts said the increase was not as large as expected and won't have large impact on the domestic market. The ministry had announced last week it will impose higher tariffs next year to curb a record trade surplus and cut pollution, without giving detailed tax rates.
Tariffs for billets and pig iron will be raised to 25 percent from the current 15 percent, while those on hot-rolled coil and so-called long products will be increased to 15 percent, from the current five to 10 percent, the ministry said.
"It's lower than speculated," said Xu Xiangchun, director of Beijing Lange Steel Information Research Center. "The hike underscores state efforts to discourage exports for such lower added value steel products."
Xu said the domestic market won't be significantly influenced by the latest tariff hike because it doesn't involve steel sheets, which account for 40 percent of China's steel exports. For affected products, Xu said the export volume had fallen since April after the government raised tariffs and further drops are limited.
China has made a range of export policy adjustments after its steel exports more than doubled in 2006, leading to frictions with trading partners.
Exports of steel products totaled 4.1 million tons last month, down 11 percent from a year earlier, according to customs data, as tighter measures take hold.
For the first 11 months, exports rose 55 percent to 57.86 million tons.
(Shanghai Daily December 27, 2007)