December 27, 2016 / 8:33 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-China aims to set ethanol import taxes for 2017 by end-Jan - customs

(Adds finance ministry comment, context)

BEIJING, Dec 27 (Reuters) - China has not set import taxes for 2017 yet and expects to do so by the end of January, a customs official said on Tuesday, amid speculation that the nation had ditched tariffs for the United States, the world’s top producer of the biofuel.

The comments came after the Ministry of Finance said on Friday it would adjust tariffs for ethanol without giving any further details of the change.

Accompanying that statement, the ministry had published a list of import and export tariff changes for next year for other commodities, like steel products and fertilizers.

The list did not include ethanol.

The absence of the biofuel on the list had stirred speculation among U.S. traders that the government had removed a low tariff rate of 5 percent for U.S. and Brazilian imports.

A spokesman for the finance ministry said the list was “incomplete” but declined to comment further.

The 5 percent tariff was introduced at the start of this year as a temporary rate and expires at the end of December. The normal rate for those two countries is 30 percent, with all other nations paying as much as 80 percent, according to customs data. (Reporting by Meng Meng and Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Kenneth Maxwell)

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