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China Announces New Contaminants Thresholds on Scrap Imports/ISRI Returns to Beijing

Last week, China notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of new draft Environmental Protection Control Standards for scrap imports that has higher than previously reported thresholds for contaminants.

China proposed the following would apply beginning March 1, 2018:  Smelt slag 0.5%; Wood 0.5%; Paper 0.5%; Ferrous 0.5%; Nonferrous 1.0%; Electric Motors 0.5%; Wires and Cables 0.5%; Metal and appliances 0.5%; Vessels 0.05%; Plastic 0.5%; and Autos 0.3%.

Although we are pleased to see that there has been movement away from the 0.3% thresholds, the new proposed threshold levels are still of great concern. I will be traveling to Beijing on December 5th with ISRI’s Sr Director of International Affairs, Adina Renee Adler, to attend a special meeting coordinated by the U.S. Embassy along with a number of other foreign missions in Beijing to help strategize additional efforts on behalf of the recycling industry globally. While in Beijing we are targeting number of other meetings with the Chinese government as well as our counterpart associations.   

ISRI has been told that the proposed thresholds may apply to “domestic shipments,” but as of today, such information has not yet been supplied by the Chinese government in writing. We also still do not have clarity as to how the Government will define, and thereby measure, contaminants in scrap shipments. We will continue to ask these questions and raise similar issues and concerns.

Comments can be submitted to the WTO by December 15, and ISRI plans to do so in alignment with the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) and peer organizations around the world to ensure our industry’s positions are heard and understood. Members are also welcome to send comments (please contact us to find out how) and to provide input to ISRI’s comments.

Input and questions can be directed to Senior Director for Government Relations & International Affairs Adina Renee Adler.

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