China ‘tweaks’ nickel import taxes to favour electric vehicles, Wood Mackenzie says – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – January 18, 2018)

Northern Miner

In mid-December, China made adjustments to import taxes on some nickel products that favour the production of electric vehicles.

Starting from Jan. 1, the import tax on nickel sulphate — a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries — was slashed to 2% from 5.5%, Wood Mackenzie says in a new report, while the tax on imports of nickel cathode for smelting purposes jumped from 1% to 2% (but it remained at the lower end for cathode more suited to plating and sulphate applications).

“With local sources pointing to the fact that over 60% of imported nickel sulphate is used in the production of ternary materials for NCM/NCA batteries, it is evident that China is laying the ground to support her capabilities in this field,” Wood Mackenzie states. (Lithium-ion batteries are composed of three parts: NCM batteries contain nickel, manganese and cobalt oxide, while NCA batteries contain nickel, cobalt and aluminum oxide.)

Subsidies in China for electric cars that have greater ranges complement the Ministry of Finance’s latest tweaks to the nation’s import taxes, Wood Mackenzie says. A new policy in the last week of 2017, for example, terminated subsidies on electric vehicles (EVs) with driving ranges of less than 150 km.

However, subsidy programs remain in place through 2020 that offer financial support for EVs. The first is available for cars with ranges of up to 300 km, and a second, higher subsidy, is available for cars with a range greater than 400 km.

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