China intends to partly ban scrap imports

China’s central government recently reviewed and approved a prohibition to import some types of scrap materials. Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) based in Brussels asserts that the plan of China’s government was approved on April 18, during the 34th meeting of the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform of China. As there is a chance that mixed scrap metals could be affected, so could end-of-life tire derived steel.

At ISRI 2017 convention held in April in New Orleans, USA, recyclers expressed their ambiguous ideas as to which types of scrap may be included in the list. For instance, scrap metal recyclers claim that the list may include radiators, mixed shredded metals, unprocessed wire and other cables. Paper recyclers are worried that mixed paper grade is likely to be become a target, but they hope that old corrugated containers (OCC) will not be affected by the ban. At the same time, plastic scrap has already been banned, turned away or charged by rather high tariffs under the National Sword customs clearance program.

Notwithstanding, many manufacturers in China rely on scrap trade with countries worldwide. This large group includes: copper refiners, secondary aluminium producers, containerboard makers and other businesses. To understand the scope of the problem, more than ½ of the global copper scrap traded internationally in 2015 was absorbed by China, according to ISRI database.

Reportedly, industry trade groups and government departments of trade all over the world may oppose to the current format of China’s drastic plan. As a member of WTO, China is willing to obtain the status of a market economy, but the ban for scrap may be perceived as a severe violation of WTO policy.

These drastic actions by China’s government, according to the BIR, are caused by the ever-deteriorating environmental situation in the country. Thus, in order to maintain environmental safety and people’s health, different sectors should ban solid waste imports. In addition, Chinese government intends to improve the regulation on solid waste management to support circular economy development in the country.

According to the BIR, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection is to make the new waste import catalogues which will include a wider list of materials.

Article source: Recycling Today

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