China’s Vice Minister of Commerce indicated in an August 11 press conference that the Chinese government likely will curtail export rebates applicable to energy intensive and pollution generating products. The move would be part of the Chinese government’s on-going effort to reduce unit GDP energy consumption by 20 percent in line with specific energy and pollution-reduction standards set forth in the 11th Five-Year Plan.  

In his comments, the Vice Minister noted that China’s steel industry, along with other significant energy consuming and polluting industries, will be targeted for these anticipated export rebate adjustments. In 2009, China’s steel industry accounted for 16.1 percent of the country’s total energy consumption. In the first five months of 2010, exported steel products increased by 127.3 percent compared to the same period last year.  

The Vice Minister indicated that any export rebate adjustments will not be arbitrary and will apply to specific products only after thorough, science-based analysis and after local government and industry representatives have had an opportunity to comment on the products that should be covered by the export rebate reduction.

Neither the Vice Minister, nor any other Chinese government official, has offered an exact timetable for possible adjustments to the export rebate program.