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China Announces New Crackdown on “Foreign Waste” Smuggling

China's Xinhua News Agency reported last week that China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) is launching a one-year campaign to crack down on illegal smuggling of "foreign waste," including “industrial waste, electronic waste, household waste and plastic waste,” according to the report.

This is part of a larger initiative, called “National Sword 2017,” that aims to curb smuggling of agricultural products, “resource products,” “tax-related commodities,” drugs, guns, and other illegal smuggling activities, in addition to scrap and waste. The report says the crackdown will specifically "target gangs and well-organized operations acting illegally." 

The GAC announced four measures to prevent smuggling:

  1. Implementing waste management systems and encouraging the establishment and use of “waste metals and waste plastics” parks in China;
  2. Tightening customs supervision at ports and preventing the processing of imported “waste metals and plastics” at small ports that do not have the infrastructure to handle such imports;
  3. Increasing awareness against corruption and enhancing anti-corruption activities against customs officials found to be “non-compliant”; and
  4. Tightening rules for compliance with waste import regulations, including higher penalties for smugglers.

The government may also consider working with exporting country authorities to allow AQSIQ to directly “inspect China-bound wastes” and will be more vigilant in reviewing AQSIQ certificates.

As the situation is evolving and we continue to reach out for more detailed information, we urge ISRI members to keep us informed of any challenges you face in preparing shipments for, and facilitating the transport of, scrap to China. Although information available specifically focuses on plastic and metals, there is no indication that shipments of other materials will not also be given higher scrutiny.

Please contact ISRI Senior Director of International Relations Adina Renee Adler with questions and concerns.

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