China tariff rollbacks to cover key polymers, chemicals

Author: Joseph Chang


LONDON (ICIS)--China’s planned rollback of tariffs on certain imports from the US starting on 14 February will impact a number of key polymers and chemicals.

China will roll back the 5-10% tariffs imposed on $75bn of US imports in the 4th round of tariffs in the US-China trade war by half to 2.5-5%.

Those “part one” tariffs in the 4th round were implemented on 1 September 2019, before the phase one US-China trade deal signed on 15 January.

Part two of the 4th round of tariffs never went into effect because of the deal.

For US commodity polymers and chemicals, China’s latest round of tariffs added 5% on top of existing tariff levels of 25% in most cases, bringing the total from the US-China trade war to 30%,.

This applied to high density polyethylene (HDPE), linear low density PE (LLDPE), polypropylene (PP), ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) copolymer, polystyrene (PS), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS,) and others.


Product Existing tariff* Tariff reduction Total tariff In effect
HDPE 30% 2.5% 27.5% 14-Feb-20
LLDPE 30% 2.5% 27.5% 14-Feb-20
PP 30% 2.5% 27.5% 14-Feb-20
EVA copolymer 30% 2.5% 27.5% 14-Feb-20
PS 30% 2.5% 27.5% 14-Feb-20
ABS 30% 2.5% 27.5% 14-Feb-20
SAN 30% 2.5% 27.5% 14-Feb-20
PMMA 30% 2.5% 27.5% 14-Feb-20
PET 30% 2.5% 27.5% 14-Feb-20
Polyamide 30% 2.5% 27.5% 14-Feb-20
Parrafin wax 30% 2.5% 27.5% 14-Feb-20
Chlorine 30% 2.5% 27.5% 14-Feb-20
Sulphuric acid 30% 2.5% 27.5% 14-Feb-20
POM 25% 2.5% 22.5% 14-Feb-20
TiO2 15% 2.5% 12.5% 14-Feb-20
Caustic soda 15% 2.5% 12.5% 14-Feb-20
EPS 10% 2.5% 7.5% 14-Feb-20

 * Additional 5% tariff implemented 1 Sep 2019; Source: China Ministry of Finance, compiled by ICIS
NOTE: Tariffs related to the US-China trade war. Prior duties not included

The additional tariffs of 5% will be reduced to 2.5% as of 14 February.

Essentially, for those US products hit with 30% tariffs from the US-China trade war, that level will be reduced to 27.5%.

Click on image to enlarge

On signing the phase one US-China trade deal on 15 January, the US already cut its latest round of tariffs on $120bn in imports from China in half from 15%, to 7.5%.

At the time, no such reciprocation from China was announced.

China’s Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, which announced the tariff reduction, also said it would continue to work on waiving the additional tariffs on selected US products.

Additional reporting by Fanny Zhang

Focus article by Joseph Chang