As of Aug. 23, copper scrap sent from the U.S. to China was to be hit with a 25% tariff, an action that would cause problems for U.S. scrap exporters that include one company whose parent operation is on the other side of the equation.
A report by Tom Daly in Reuters said that the David J. Joseph Company, which in 2006 became a subsidiary of Nucor Corp., was described as one of the major U.S. scrap exporters involved by the action. Nucor, which was one of the key companies pursuing the successful imposition of wire rod tariffs, was also a big supporter of the Section 232 remedies that were imposed by the U.S. that led to further such actions between it and China.
Per the Reuters story, last year the U.S. sold almost $6 billion worth of scrap commodities to China, and was the second-largest supplier of copper scrap behind Hong Kong, exporting 535,371 metric tons worth roughly $1.8 billion in 2017. Hong Kong sent 627,180 metric ton, according to Chinese customs data. In the first quarter of 2018 there were almost 2,200 cargoes of copper scrap per month sent to China from the U.S., with the average cargo about 20 metric tons.
The story said the copper scrap had not been on a draft list of retaliatory tariffs released by China in June but was present in the final list of $16 billion worth of U.S. goods.