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Advocacy Agenda: International Trade

The scrap recycling industry depends both on domestic manufacturing and access to global markets. Scrap exports account for well over 25 percent of the industry’s economic activity and support more than 134,000 American jobs. U.S. exports totaled $19.2 billion in 2019, contributing more than $33 billion to the U.S. economy. As the largest supplier of scrap in the world, the U.S.-based recycling industry is truly the first link in the global manufacturing supply chain. ISRI aggressively advocates initiatives that:

  • Resolve U.S.-China Trade Tensions. The industry has been impacted by China’s scrap import restrictions as well as tariffs imposed by both the U.S. and Chinese Governments, resulting in a dramatic decline in U.S. scrap and equipment exports to China.ISRI strongly supports the Administration’s efforts to improve trade opportunities and urges both governments to continue negotiating a path forward for one of the world’s most important trade partnerships.


  • Enforce Existing Trade Laws. ISRI supports the strongest practicable measures to protect its domestic consumers from illegal dumping and unfair subsidies that have direct and indirect negative economic impacts throughout the manufacturing supply chain.


  • Promote Market-Opening Policies and Trade Agreements. ISRI supports efforts around the world to standardize import/export policies, eliminate tariffs on scrap and recycling equipment and promote transparency and harmonization in standards and regulations that result in market-opening and barrier-reducing opportunities for U.S. scrap and recycling equipment exports. ISRI’s 2020 trade mission to Southeast Asia will advance these opportunities, and we will aid in the full implementation of the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) and negotiations of U.S. trade agreements with Japan, the United Kingdom, European Union and other partners.


  • Prevent Export Restrictions on Scrap. ISRI fights against artificial barriers to the free and fair trade of scrap commodities and products such as used electronics. Studies have long shown that efforts to control prices through export controls actually result in further price increases and disruptions in sourcing, and any attempt to artificially alter the market will create unanticipated harm in the form of higher prices for consumers.


  • Promote Global Specifications. ISRI works with governments and industry parties to promote consistency in scrap and used electronics specifications worldwide through greater understanding and use of ISRI Specs.

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