Beijing / London – China is to impose tariffs at either 10% or 5% on US imports including about 200 categories of natural and synthetic rubber material, tires, rubber products and additives starting on 24 September.
The broader tariff list, covering over 5,200 categories with a total worth of $60 billion, was first released in August. The proposed rates at the time were 5% to 25%.
Such tariff is a retaliation to “wrongful [US] conduct against WTO rules” to levy a 10% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods upon 24 September and raise the rate to 20% on 1 January 2019, said a statement by China’s commerce ministry Mofcom.
EPDM rubber is among the categories with a 5% rate. In August China started a 25% tariff on EPR in primary forms and EPR with less than 94% ethylene by weight. China’s EPR/EPDM sector is highly dependent on imports.
In 2017, the US exported 622,500 tires, valued at about $55 million, to China, according to data compiled by the US Department of Commerce.
The official figures also show that the US was the source of just 6.6% of the 298 kilotonnes of styrene-butadiene rubber imported into China last year.
Rubber-based products take up many column-inches of the US administration’s list of Chinese imports – in total 5,745 ‘lines’ worth $200 billion – to be hit with tariffs of 10% from 24 Sept, rising to 25% from 1 Jan, 2019.
Among the products caught up in the trade war are rubber-based items including new and retreaded tires, tubes, pipes, hoses, conveyor belts, transmission belts, seals & gaskets, antivibration parts and gloves.
Materials listed included natural rubber in a range of forms, as well as chemicals and additives such as accelerators, plasticisers, antioxidants and stabilisers
No escape either for synthetic rubbers, including those based on: styrene‐butadiene, butadiene and isoprene, as well as EPDM, chloroprene, nitrile, butyl and halobutyl rubber.
Compounds are also covered, including rubber, unvulcanised, compounded with carbon black or silica – in primary forms or in plates, sheets or strip – as are semi-finished materials and vulcanised rubber thread and cord.
The latest decision by the Trump administration has been condemned by groups representing many sections of US industry,
Manufacturers of automotive vehicles and components, industrial and consumer products, chemicals were among those calling for alternative ways to address US complaints around China’s trading and IP-related practices.
There was, however, support in some quarters, including from the US retreading industry, which has been hard-hit by imports of cheap Chinese tires.
The China Rubber Industry Association has yet to respond to ERJ’s request for comment on the latest developments in the US-China trade war.