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Advocacy Agenda: International Trade

The health of the U.S.-based scrap recycling industry is dependent upon a healthy manufacturing base in the United States, as well as access to global markets. Exports of scrap commodities account for well over 25 percent of the industry’s economic activity and supports more than 125,000 Americans in good-paying jobs. With $17.6 billion in export sales annually, providing $1.31 billion in tax revenues for the federal government and $1.65 billion in state and local taxes, the need for the market-based movement of scrap across borders means trade is a critical pillar to the recycling industry’s success, as well as to the success of the U.S. economy. And as the largest supplier of scrap in the world, the U.S.-based scrap recycling industry is truly the first link in the global manufacturing supply chain. For all these reasons, ISRI works closely with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR), the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Congress, other organizations and coalitions, and our friends around the world to aggressively advocate for:

  • Enforcement of 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.

  • Promotion of Trade Agreements that Open Markets and Harmonize Standards/Regulations. U.S. recyclers win when they have access to existing and emerging international markets and where there is regulatory transparency and harmonization. It is for this reason that ISRI supports the U.S. government’s efforts to negotiate free trade agreements that contain market-opening and barrier-reducing opportunities around the world.

  • Elimination of Tariff Barriers on U.S. Recycling Industry Exports. Exports of U.S. scrap commodities and recycling equipment currently face a range of import tariffs around the world. At the same time, there are no (zero) general duties imposed by the United States on imports of recycled goods such as recovered paper and fiber, ferrous and nonferrous scrap, or plastic scrap. For these reasons, ISRI aggressively supports efforts such as the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) at the WTO that have the potential to eliminate tariff barriers on U.S. recycling industry exports, thus promoting U.S. economic growth, creating jobs, raising income, and generating additional federal and state tax revenue.

  • Continued Support of Trade within North America through NAFTA. With positive trade balances of more than $100 million with Mexico and $27 million with Canada, the U.S. recycling industry is dependent upon this continued trade with our neighbors to the north and the south. Thus, ISRI is closely monitoring any potential changes to NAFTA and is working closely with our counterparts in Canada and Mexico to find a path forward for NAFTA that does not unnecessarily disrupt the market-based flow of scrap commodities between our countries.

  • Prevention of Export Restrictions Being Imposed on Scrap Commodities. The health of the recycling industry—and its industrial consumers in the United States and around the world—are dependent upon access to the global market. Artificial barriers to the free and fair trade of commodity materials have a disruptive and detrimental effect on the U.S. economy. Worse yet, studies have long shown that efforts to control prices through export controls actually result in further price increases and disruptions in sourcing. History has shown that any attempt to artificially alter the market will create unanticipated harm in the form of higher prices for consumers.

  • Initiatives that Support the Global Supply Chain, Customs and Trade Facilitation. ISRI supports efforts to promote trade facilitation and global customs modernization to enable the efficient movement of goods through the global supply chain. ISRI welcomes the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

  • Promotion of Global Specifications. Supporting opportunities to provide consistency in scrap specifications worldwide through ISRI’s Scrap Specifications Circular remains one of ISRI’s top priorities as we seek to ensure minimal disruptions and increase consistencies in the trade of scrap commodities across borders.

Have Questions?

Mark Reiter
VP of Government Relations
(202) 662-8517