China appoints stainless import company

The Chinese government has appointed state-owned trading company China National Metals and Minerals Import and Export Corp. (Minmetals) to centralise the country’s huge stainless steel imports. Although the government has continued to allot import permits for stainless steel for 2001 to Chinese end-users and importers, their imports are now centralised by Minmetals. The imports for overseas tolling and procession contracts are excluded from the new policy. Previously, the end-users and importers that received import permits imported stainless steel directly. The end-users and importers are now required to import the stainless steel via Minmetals, which acts as their sole import broker. The importers’ stainless steel imports that are used to produce products for exports are excluded from the new policy, allowing the importers to continue to handle such imports. Minmetals will centralise the stainless steel imports and negotiate with overseas suppliers for the imports. This is expected to cut prices for the imports due to large amounts. The importers are required to pay a handling fee for 1.5% of the value of each import contract to Minmetals. The handling fees are expected to generate a huge amount of revenue to Minmetals as China imports large amounts of stainless steel each year.

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