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China Recycling Conference Sheds Light on Coming Import Regulations and Recycling Growth in China

ISRI learned that the Chinese Government is expected to issue final scrap import guidelines within the next two to four weeks with a potentially more favorable contaminants threshold than proposed in August.

FinalNov15LUAdinaCMRAThe information was gathered while attending the China Nonferrous Metals Association (CMRA) annual convention in Ningbo, China, November 7-9. Senior Director for Government Relations & International Affairs Adina Renee Adler gave remarks on the impact these regulations will have on U.S.-China trade, and she interacted with Chinese industry representatives and heard speeches from government officials about what to expect in China’s scrap market in the months ahead.

Industry contacts believe the Chinese Government will finalize the contaminants thresholds in its Environmental Protection Control standards for scrap (GB 16487) at 1 percent for ferrous and nonferrous metals, 1 percent for paper, and 0.5 percent for plastics. This information has been reported in the media, but it cannot be confirmed until the Chinese government issues the final regulation. We also do not know at this point what will be the timeline for compliance to begin. Until then, ISRI members and Chinese customers report that materials are entering China under the current rules. Furthermore, CMRA believes the 1 percent threshold to be a “victory” for the industry, judging the outcome to be preferable to the proposed 0.3 percent threshold published in August. And although Adina was not able to have a direct conversation about these issues with the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) officials present at the conference, it is widely believed they heard our concerns and understand the challenges of meeting their originally proposed 0.3 percent threshold.

Throughout the conference, it was widely believed that China’s overall demand for cleaner and higher quality materials is being echoed worldwide and considered a game changer for the global industry. And as China grows its domestic recycling capacity – with the backing of a government that recently made recycling a strategic priority – it is expected that within the medium term China will transition from a net scrap importer to a major exporter. ISRI will track these trends closely and keep members informed.

If you have any questions, please contact Adina Renee Adler.

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