From: Reuters
Published May 29, 2008 02:40 AM

China considering curb on aluminum exports

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China is considering policy measures to restrain exports of low value-added aluminum products and bring China's foreign trade in aluminum into balance, an industry official said on Thursday.

Beijing is trying to reduce the country's exports of goods from heavily polluting or energy-intensive industries, especially as it faces recurring power shortages.

"We are aware that China is a net exporter of aluminum in the first four months, although we can see there were net imports of primary aluminum," said Jia Mingxing, vice chairman of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association.

Jia said the association was in discussions with the government, including the Ministry of Commerce, on adopting such policies, which could include raising export taxes on aluminum rod and other products.

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He declined to give a possible time frame for implementing the measures.

"We will make decisions in accordance with the development of the trade situation," he told reporters at a conference held by the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

"We aim to secure balance in the aluminum trade situation in China," he said.

John Kemp, chief economist at RBS Sempra Metals said it was unlikely that China would remain such a massive exporter of aluminum, both primary and secondary, in the medium term.

"Clearly, the government policy is to deter energy-intensive sectors," he added, noting that the country's increasingly tight power availability would restrain energy-intensive sectors.

China exported 610,000 metric tons of aluminum products in the first four months of the year, while importing 222,714 metric tons. Imports of primary aluminum during the period totaled 48,993 metric tons, while exports were 22,080 metric tons.

(Reporting by Alfred Cang and Rujun Shen; Writing by Edmund Klamann; Editing by Keiron Henderson)

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