SHANGHAI, Sep 20 (SMM) – While lithium carbonate, hydroxide, and some other lithium-related products are included in the list of $200 billion worth of Chinese goods subject to additional US tariffs, minimal impact is expected as China exports little such products to the US.
Weak substitutability for China, who acts as an essential lithium salt provider in the world, also minimized the impact of tariffs, SMM believes.
China exported 1,422.97 mt of lithium carbonate in 2017, of which 0.1% was delivered to the US, SMM data showed. While China is a leading exporter of lithium hydroxide, only 0.88% of its overall exports, which stood at 19,383.48 mt in 2017, went to the US.
Major destinations for China’s lithium carbonate, hydroxide export are Asian countries, such as Japan and South Korea. Companies like Panasonic, Sony, LG, and Samsung there are important consumers for Chinese battery-grade and high-purity grade lithium salt.
Given China's leading technology in production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide, nearly all consumption of such product worldwide relies on China's exports, market insiders told SMM.