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Recycling Industry Responds to China’s Announcement on Aluminum Scrap Tariffs

(Washington, DC) – In response to China’s announcement that it intends to impose a 25 percent import tariff on Harmonized Tariff Code 7602.00 – Aluminum Waste and Scrap – the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), which serves as the Voice of the Recycling Industry TM, released the following statement:

“In 2017, the United States exported more than $1.1 billion worth of aluminum scrap to China, which has been in a positive trade balance for more than a decade. The Chinese Government’s announcement will impact this significant U.S. scrap export, spurring concern that exports of additional scrap commodities could be impacted in future announcements.”

Facts about U.S. aluminum scrap exports:

  • The U.S. exported $2.34 billion/1.57 million metric tons of aluminum scrap worldwide in 2017. Approximately 50% of these exports went to China.
  • The U.S. exported $1.17 billion/820,000 metric tons of aluminum scrap to China in 2017. This was approximately 50% of China’s total imports of aluminum scrap that year.
  • A 25% tariff would mean a nearly $300 million price burden on a trade relationship that represents nearly 25% of the entire world’s trade in aluminum scrap.
  • Aluminum in the municipal recycling stream represents a substantial source of revenue that keeps down the cost of waste disposal and recycling programs.
  • The second largest exporter of aluminum scrap to China in 2017 was the European Union at $360.51 million/231,556 metric tons.
  • The U.S. has an overwhelmingly large positive trade balance in aluminum scrap vis-à-vis China. The United States’ positive trade balance with China in aluminum scrap is $1.17 billion for 2017 which is 94% of our positive trade balance with the entire world.
  • South Korea ($248.6 million), India ($110.7 million), Hong Kong ($72.6 million), and Malaysia ($69.5 million) complete the top 5 economic partners with a positive trade balance in aluminum scrap with the U.S.

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The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is the "Voice of the Recycling Industry™." ISRI represents more than 1,300 companies in 21 chapters in the U.S. and more than 40 countries that process, broker, and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, DC, the Institute provides education, advocacy, safety and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment and sustainable development. Generating nearly $117 billion annually in U.S. economic activity, the scrap recycling industry provides nearly half a million Americans with good jobs.

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