Punitive tariffs on nickel, aluminium and other metals doubled
Punitive tariffs on nickel, aluminium and other metals doubled

27 February 2023 – The US government will double punitive tariffs on many Russian metal products from 1 April 2023. These include aluminium, copper, lead and steel – but also nickel! Stainless steel scrap in China now economic alternative to NPI. And German companies don’t want to invest in India.

New US tariffs on aluminium, nickel and other metals

In addition to extensive new export restrictions to Russia and new sanctions against individuals and companies, the US government has also announced new tariffs against aluminium products from Russian production. But aluminium is not the only metal on the list. Many iron and steel products, copper, lead and titanium will also be subject to 70% import duties from 1 April 2023. The US government has also imposed tariffs on several nickel products.

Stainless steel scrap more cost-efficient than nickel pig iron

For a long time, nickel pig iron was considered an economic challenge for European stainless steel mills. However, the prices for NPI had recently risen so much that the Chinese stainless steel industry had started to make more use of the scrap raw material. This is likely to further limit the availability of stainless steel scrap in Asia and keep the available material in China or divert it there.

Scrap protectionism now also in India?

The Indian steel industry is also increasingly putting the issue of scrap on its agenda and has already managed to persuade the Indian Steel Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia to include a possible export ban on scrap in his considerations. At the same time, more and more demands are being made in India to regulate the scrap trade more strongly – a trend that can also be observed in Europe, among other places, where steel manufacturers are increasingly investing in the purchase of scrap from scrap dealers and recycling companies.

German companies avoid India

According to recent surveys by two German chambers of commerce, 70% of the German companies surveyed are currently not prepared to invest in India. The high bureaucratic hurdles, a necessary dismantling of customs barriers and the many non-tariff trade barriers are cited here. A quarter of the companies that have already invested in India would not invest again. This does not include the fact that India is increasingly moving away from democracy and human rights and undermining Western sanctions against Russia.

From this point of view, the trip of the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his Finance Minister Christian Lindner has another bitter taste. Are they really listening to the German economy, which finances parliamentary allowances? At least we would have thought so of Christian Lindner (FDP), who is close to the economy.

“In Bavaria, they say, he who pays creates. Gentlemen, listen to the small and medium-sized industry, otherwise you will get a slap on the wrist – which can be seen particularly well in the dwindling voter favour, the traffic light government,” Thorsten Gerber, CEO of the Gerber Group, commented today.

India has a different agenda than Germany

The Indian government seems to be less interested in economic talks at the moment. Closer security and defence cooperation is more on the Indian agenda. In the case of the controversial free trade agreement with India, many experts are already assuming that an agreement between India and the European Union can no longer be expected in 2023.

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