(Yicai Global) Sept. 13 -- The China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said the data and opinions quoted in a Wall Street Journal report claiming Chinese firms are trying to export one million tons of aluminum products to the US by stockpiling them in Mexico are badly misinformed and lack basic professional thinking and business logic.
The Sept. 9 Wall Street Journal article said, "The stockpile, worth some $2 billion and representing roughly 6% of the world's total inventory -- enough to churn out 2.2 million Ford F-150s or 77 billion beer cans -- quickly became an obsession for the U.S. aluminum industry."
"Now it is a new source of tension in U.S.-Chinese trade relations. U.S. executives contend that the mysterious cache was part of a brazen scheme by one of China's richest men to game the global trade system," the WSJ reported.
The US has imposed high anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese aluminum companies since 2010, the industry association said in a statement. If the products exported to Mexico were directly transported to the US, they could not obtain a certificate of origin from Mexico, so even if they were first shipped to Mexico and then over the border, the Chinese firms would still have to pay 'double' duties, it said. Chinese firms cannot evade these duties by taking advantage of Mexico, as the report alleged.
In addition, a total of just 291,000 tons of aluminum was exported from Mexico to the US between 2001 and 2015, according to statistics. If Chinese companies hoarded nearly one million tons of aluminum in Mexico, it would take decades to digest that stock at past rates.
According to data from China's customs, the total amount of aluminum (including rods, profiles, foil, strips and tubes) exported to Mexico from China is 1.07 million tons, of which rods and profiles accounted for 804,300 tons. This is the sum total of aluminum exported to Mexico from China during the 15 years from 2001 to 2015. Only if all the aluminum products exported to Mexico from China were stored in the desert and none had been used or melted and processed locally, could the one-million-ton stock described in the report have accrued.
The China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association was set up in 1981, and most domestic aluminum producers are members. The association stressed that in the last 10 years, the annual net export of aluminum has accounted for less than 10 percent of its total output. The vast majority of aluminum products are used in China.