Fluorspar: US President Trump announces tariffs on goods from Mexico

US President Donald Trump has announced tariffs on all goods coming from Mexico, demanding the country curb illegal immigration into the US.

In a tweet, Mr Trump said that from 10 June 2019 a 5% tariff would be imposed and would slowly rise “until the illegal immigration problem is remedied”.

Roskill view

Mexico is the world’s second-largest fluorspar producer after China. The USA traditionally imports a significant proportion of its fluorine chain requirements from Mexico.

The USA is an important producer of hydrofluoric acid (HF) in its own right, however, domestic HF production is also supplemented with imports. In 2018, 110kt (92%) of the 120kt of HF imported into the USA came from Mexico.

The USA has the third-largest HF capacity globally, after China and Mexico. All output in 2019 is accounted for by fluorocarbon producers Honeywell (130ktpy) and Chemours (formerly DuPont – 90ktpy) since the closure of KMG’s electronic-grade HF operations at Bay Point, California, in Q1 2015. Fluorine-based chemicals manufactured by Honeywell at Geismar in Louisiana include R-134a (a material used in refrigerants, blowing agents, propellants and solvent), R-245f (a non-ozone-depleting refrigerant and blowing agent), and R-125 (a non-ozone-depleting precursor for blended refrigerants and HF, which is used as a refining catalyst and in other fluorine chain manufacturing as a raw material).

Roskill’s Fluorspar: Global Industry, Markets & Outlook report breaks down the complex fluorine chain trade considerations into clear forecasts with price forecasts based on analysis of both supply and demand. Roskill will be speaking at both the FastMarkets Fluorspar 2019 event in London and the IMFORMED Fluorine Forum 2019 event in Prague in September/October 2019.